If you’re reading this, congratulations, you must be in that exclusive club only regarded for winners like you – the Fantasy Baseball playoffs. If you’re reading this and don’t even play fantasy baseball, you must have done a google search on “dustbuster masturbation.” I’m not judging. Perv. To win in the playoffs we have to apply any and all strategies we have learned over the past 150 games: Play the numbers over the names – if Carl Crawford and Torii Hunter are slumping, bench them. Choose the best matchups – Hitter-Tron is your new best friend. Just keep that horny robot away from your toaster oven. Rosterbate daily – you won’t go blind, just do it until you need glasses. Look for players in real life playoff fights – Rays and Royals won’t be getting rests, Tigers and Red Sox will. Shoot dirty pool – grab a player you may not need, but could help your opponent; ethics and “fair play” have no place in our fake baseball world. It’s been a fun jammer crammer kinda season, my dear Razzballers. I feel we have all grown so close over the past six months. You’re like family now and by family I mean we only speak once a week via the internet. We have shared many fond memories of Ike Davis bashing, Xander Bogaerts watching, metal music talking, Twitter stalking and Islay scotch consuming. No, we can’t be blood brothers, but thanks for asking. Let’s complete this mission and bring home the championship. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
Jam or Cram: Kole Calhoun, OF, LA Angels
Availability: 87% Yahoo, 64 % ESPN
Last Week: 3 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .458 AV
The Gist: Let’s just get this out of the way: Kole Calhoun is not Mike Trout. Anytime a young outfielder gets called up it’s blah blah, Mike Trout, blah blah. I feel like that guy from Rush at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction. I’m not a fan. Of Rush, not Trout. Trout may be the #1 pick next year and wish I had owned him somewhere this year. As for the diminutive Kole Calhoun, he’s hit big with a .299 average, 7 homers and 26 RBI in 43 games since being called up. Need power, average or is OPS your thing? Kole is ready to live in the limelight. Stupid Rush.
Key Stat: Kole slashed .354/.431/.617 with 12 home runs and 10 stolen bases at Triple-A Salt Lake this year.
X-File: His .384 wOBA is top 10 among all outfielders since the All-Star break.
Jam it or Cram it: Kole is getting a chance to hit lefties now and that means more playing time. Kole’s been a top 30 outfielder for a month and could be one of those pull-a-rabbit-out of-a-hat surprises that forever angers your league and helps deliver you a championship. JAM
Jam or Cram: Danny Valencia, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Availability: 98% Yahoo, 98% ESPN
Last Week: 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .500 AV
The Gist: With the Orioles gunning for a wild-card berth, Valencia has stepped it up for the birds. He is hot schmotatoing at .522/.532/.935 with four homers and 11 RBI over his last 13 games.
Key Stat: In just the past month, Valencia has raised his average from .200 to .330 by leading the majors with a .548 average.
The X-File: Valencia is the Platoony Tunes poster boy. He’s hit .194 against right-handers and .385 against lefties.
Jam it or Cram it: Valencia may have been on fire for a month, but he can’t hit right-handers and gets three in a row at Fenway this week. CRAM
Jam or Cram: Jonathan Villar, SS, Houston Astros
Availability: 80% Yahoo, 72% ESPN
Last Week: 6 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 SB, .357 AV.
The Gist: More Astros have popped up in this little jammer crammer this year than any other team. Mostly because they are widely available and the Lastros suck. However, Jose Veras gave us saves before his trade, Chris Carter provided some pop and here’s Villar with some SAGNOF love. Villar has 4 steals in his last 4 games, has hit .354 with 10 runs scored in September and was the top fantasy shortstop last week.
Key Stat: Villar has 17 swipes in 41 games.
X-File: In 91 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, Villar stole 31 bases and was caught seven times.
Jam it or Cram it: Bo Porter has plugged Villar into the leadoff spot and he’s delivered 8 runs in 7 games. Dig out your Jose Cruz throwback and make room for some sweet SAGNOF love. JAM
Jam or Cram: Wilson Ramos, C, Washington Nationals
Availability: 74% Yahoo, 75% ESPN
Last Week: 5 R, 4 HR, 12 RBI, .300 AV
The Gist: So much love for Evan Gattis this week leaves you free to grab the catcher with the most homers over the past 14 games – Wilson Ramos. If Ramos could just stay healthy for an entire year he’s a guy I’d consider setting and forgetting at my catcher position.
Key Stat: Batting just .211 in his last 20 games.
X-File: Ramos is getting everyday playing time to the tune of catching 23 straight games.
Jam it or Cram it: I’ve streamed catchers all year, why stop now? When it comes playoff time you want those late season overachievers and Ramos is doing just that. The average won’t be there, but it is power we want. JAM
Jam or Cram: Juan Uribe, 3B, LA Dodgers
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 98% ESPN
Last Week: 6 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, .350 AV
The Gist: Dodger fans may hate him, but I don’t bleed blue and I’m greedy for home runs. Uribe has been getting playing time despite the trade for Michael Young and he’s been producing.
Key Stat: Hitting .343 in September.
X-File: Uribe knocked 3 homers last Monday against the D’backs.
Jam it or Cram it: Uribe is fighting for a playoff spot on your roster. Why the hate Dodger fans? Oh, he hit .191 last year. Uribe hits the road this week with 4 games in Arizona. Forget last year, remember what he did last week. JAM
Jam or Cram: Adam Lind, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Availability: 71% Yahoo, 73% ESPN
Last Week: 5 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .250 AV
Key Stat: 17 of Lind’s 20 homers have come against right-handed pitching this year. He gets 5 righties this week.
X-File: Lind’s BB/K rate over the last two weeks is 2/4.
Jam it or Cram it: The Hitter-tron loves it some Lind this week in the same way it loves humping my dustbuster. I suggest you do the same. No! Get off my appliances! I meant add him. JAM
*BONUS TRACKS* 2X Streamers to jam this week:
Dan Haren, Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta and Miami: Haren has gone 5-4 in his last 12 starts with a 3.67 ERA and a 9.2 K/9. JAM
Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s vs. LA Angels and Minnesota: Gray has been K’ing over a batter an inning and has a 2.63 ERA through his first 7 career starts. JAM
Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle and Chicago White Sox: Porcello threw his first complete game last week and gets two tomato cans this week. JAM
Thanks for hanging through 150 games. One more week to go. Follow The Guru on Twitter @TheGuruGS for the daily jam or cram, fantasy roster 411’s and other gooey shenanigans.