Happy 4th of July weekend, my all-American Razzballers (and two foreign readers). It was in the greatest breakup letter ever penned that our Founding Fathers said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ‘Murica, f*** yeah!” John Hancock then signed with a big “Ef you very much”. Ben Franklin downed his thirteenth pint of ale (“one for each State”, he slurred) and Thomas Jefferson hurried home to “check on the help”. As we Razzballin’ scribes gather on this holiday weekend in the Razzball Lounge for some grillin’ and chillin’ and a little bottle rocket firin’ at the guys from YAHOO!, it’s important to remember that if it wasn’t for those wig wearing patriots we’d all be driving on the wrong side of the road and playing fantasy cricket! Don’t tread on me and don’t stare directly at Tehol’s red, white and blue thong. This week in the lounge we’re talking some deep league jams and crams. With the season half over, the player pool has gotten shallow in most RCL’s and that requires us to take some chances, play some matchups and maximize at-bats in order to move up in the standings. While our leaguemates are snoozing with a belly full of hot dogs and Miller High Life, let’s make like George Washington crossing the Delaware and kill the competition while they sleep. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
If you’re looking for some more deep league talk and jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.
Jam or Cram: Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners.
2014 Stats: 235 AB, 32 R, 12 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB, .220 AV.
Availability: 78% Yahoo, 78% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $2.
The Gist: I continue to play catcher roulette again this season and have already owned Yan Gomes, Alex Avila, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Derek Norris. If you lost Evan Gattis or Joe Mauer, it’s time to spin the wheel on the Mariners former third overall pick in Zunino. The Big Z has been going Hot Schmotato over the last month with 13 runs, 5 homers, 10 RBI and a wOBA north of .400. The power is legit, but the plate discipline is not.
Key Stats: Zunino’s K-rate is 33% and his BB% is just 4%. That’s Steve Balboni-esque.
Jam it or Cram it: The potential is there for big things from Big Z, but I think he’s still a few years away from top 5 catcher territory – and he will be a top 5 catcher. Also, the M’s have John Buck hanging around stealing the kids playing time. Stop that! Let the kid play and let’s see what he has before he turns into something like John Buck. In a two-catcher league it’s a must jam. If you’re playing catcher roulette like me give Z a spin. He could easily hit 7-10 homers and 20-25 RBI the rest of the way, but don’t expect much more than a .230 average. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Scott Van Slyke, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers.
2014 Stats: 112 AB, 20 R, 8 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, .268 AV.
Availability: 1% Yahoo, 1% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1. I got you a dollar.
The Gist: Van Slyke is the Platoony Tune poster boy and rarely gets the start against right-handed pitching as the Dodgers continue to play outfield roulette with him, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and a soon to return Carl Crawford. Van Slyke has been hot lately (and not just because Adrian Gonzalez lit him on fire) with two homers and four RBI in his last three starts. The son of Andy is having his best season as a pro slashing .262/.415/.544 with a 176 wRC+ and deserves to be playing everyday.
Key Stats: Van Slyke’s triple slash line versus lefties in the minors is a video game-like .343/.422/.614.
Jam it or Cram it: Van Slyke just crushes lefties – .291 average, a 1.178 OPS and six of his eight homers have been off of southpaws. I like Scotty V’s matchup today in Colorado, but he’ll get six right-handers this week including Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Until the outfield shuffle gets done a-shufflin’, Van Slyke makes for just a Platoony Tune jam. If you have the room jam away, for everyone else it’s a CRAM. Unless he gets reunited with his papa in Seattle.
Jam or Cram: Eric Campbell, 1B/3B, New York Mets.
2014 Stats: 94 AB, 9 R, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, .340 AV.
Availability: 1% Yahoo, 0.2% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $0.
The Gist: Campbell was the big man on campus at Boston College a few years back where he hit around .330 with 40 doubles and 80 RBI in about 100 games. Since being drafted in the eighth round in the 2008 draft by the Mets, he’s never hit more than 10 home runs, but did bat .331 last season in Las Vegas. With David Wright nursing a bad shoulder the few last weeks, Soup started seven games in a row and had at least one hit in every game with a couple doubles, two RBI, two runs and a steal.
Key Stats: In seven minor league seasons, Campbell has hit .284 with 43 homers in 660 games.
Jam it or Cram it: With Wright returning, the playing time may be tough to come by. Manager Terry Collins said Campbell could see some action in the outfield, second base, shortstop and added, “If the Mr. Mets head fits we may see him on top of the dugout as well.” Not sure how that helps us in fantasy, but Campbell may get a little time at first base as Lucas Duda can’t hit lefties. The multi-position eligibility (in some leagues) is helpful for deep leaguers that want to maximize at-bats. However, if Wright is healthy, Campbell’s playing time will be limited. No soup for you. CRAM.
Jam or Cram: Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox.
2014 Stats: 32.2 IP, 3 W, 1 SV, 27 K, 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
Availability: 93% Yahoo, 97% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $5.
The Gist: With today’s list of jams and cram I feel like a used car salesman or some sort of cheesy infomercial guy. Hit hard by the Closepocalypse, starving for SAGNOF? Why not try the all new closer in Chi-town, Zach Putnam? I feel so dirty. But, what are you going to do when you drafted Jason Grilli, Ernesto Frieri and Grant Balfour? Start drinking more? I’m desperate for saves! And a new liver.
Key Stats: 12 walks in 32 innings is not ideal, but the K’s are there.
Jam it or Cram it: With Ronald Belisario out at closer, Putnam gets the shot on the South Side. He’s not the typical fireballin’ closer we like and is around the plate a little too much, but he has been effective lately with a win and a save in his last three opportunities. If Putnam continues to convert chances he may have entered the SAGNOF circle of trust. JAM.
Adam Lind, 1B, TOR: With Edwin Encarnacian likely out for a while with a quad injury, it would make sense for Lind to pick up the slack. However, Lind has been battling a foot injury and he’s no E5. CRAM.
Logan Forsythe, 2B/DH, TB: In some leagues Forsythe can slot in at 2B, 3B, SS, OF. Love that. But, he plays for the Rays. Hate that. CRAM.
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL: Look what much hyped rookie is back. We jammed on Oscar before and he burned us hitting just .189 in 11 games. Still, he’s just too tempting to pass up. JAM.
Raul Ibanez, OF/DH, KC: Ibanez hit his first homer for the Royals last week then blew out the candles on his 75th birthday cake. CRAM.
Hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend doing what we ‘Muricans love doing: Eating, drinking and blowing stuff up. Stalk me on Twitter @TheGuruGS.