If you were one of the Razzball disciples that had dreams of a 20/20 type season from Josh Rutledge please take your head out of the oven. Rutledge may have been sent packing, but things aren’t that bad. It’s not like you’ve been eating snow cones at Minute Maid Park. Besides you own an electric range. Worse thing you’ll do is singe your eyebrows and look like this. Hey, I was a Rutledge believer too. But I hedged my bet and put one of my kidneys on ice for him just in case something went terribly wrong. Damn, the cat’s eaten it. Gareth, bad kitty! At least I have a spare and that has Jedd Gyorko’s name all over it. I really need a middle infielder! If you were a Rutledge owner as well, we are in the same boat. And it’s about to hit an iceberg. Now stay still while I sketch you. The middle infield waiver options are stocked with guys named either Alexi or Alexei. Oh, there’s an Adeiny too. *sticks head in oven*
It was a sad scene in the Razzball Lounge last week as we collectively brainstormed ways to remedy what the memo called “the Rutledge Dilemma”. JayWrong: (takes long swig of Glenlivet) Guys, I could create some Jennifer Lawrence gifs. Those make me forget. Smokey: (takes long hit from vaporizer) Does Rex Brothers play second? *coughs* Tehol: (admires self in mirror) Is there fantasy MMA? I want this guy. Sky: (places round in chamber, spins cylinder, holds to head) Here’s a game way more fun than fake baseball.
Desperate times call for desperate housewives of the waiver wires. While Rutledge marinates back in the minors, let’s dive deep into the middle infield options currently available. It’s time to Jam it or Cram it. Did I mention Chase Utley is out for 2 weeks? *BANG* Sky?
Jam or Cram: Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
Availability: Yahoo 64%, ESPN 55%
Current Stats: 15 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .333 AV, .922 OPS
The Gist: Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick “Monty” Hall said last week that he expects rookie Didi Gregorius to be the team’s everyday shortstop going forward. It took how long? Monty have you been reading Razzball in the can again? Didi is only leading Major League rookies in batting average and OPS. It doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting between Gerardo Parra and Paul Goldschmidt.
Key Stat: Gregorius has just 3 errors on the season. While that may not translate to fantasy stats directly, it does keep him in the lineup, and if Didi’s in the lineup we get stats and smiles. *note to self: form Razzball reggae band. Call it “Stats and Smiles”*
X-File: The rookie shortstop has totaled 10 multi-hit games in 22 appearances and has failed to record a hit just four times this season. He’s also from Amsterdam where a man named Jan also had 10 multi-hits this week but it means something entirely different.
Jam or Cram: I know we’ve been friends for a while now Razzballers, but if you don’t grab Didi I’m going to ruin our friendships brains out. JAM
Jam it or Cram it: Zack Cozart, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Availability: 75% Yahoo, 72% ESPN
Current Stats: 23 R, 5 HR, 20 RBI, .230 AV
The Gist: Zack Cozart was once billed the Reds’ shortstop of the future. I guess the DeLorean got lost along the way because Zack is more Miguel Cairo than Barry Larkin. Cozart’s career average in the bigs is .245 with an anemic .280 OBP. Here’s hoping Cozart’s numbers last week are a sign of things to come. In his past seven games, Cozart is hitting .364 with 3 runs scored and an RBI. Cozart went 4-for-5 with two doubles against Matt Harvey last Wednesday raising his average 20 points in the process. Cozart may be the one player that wants to face Harvey every night.
Key Stat: Cozart is putting the ball in play in 77% of his plate appearances, but his BABIP sits at just .198. Translation: Schleprock.
A gooey factoid for ya: Between 1951 and 2004, only four players held down the shortstop position for the Cincinnati Reds. Four men, 53 years. Worst porno title ever. Name them and shots are on me.
X-File: The all-knowing, all seeing baseball cyborg known as The Hitter-Tron says Cozart is the #7 shortstop for the next seven days. Are you going to argue? You might hurt the one collective feeling left at Razzball.
Jam or Cram: What are the chances Cozart hits over .360 again this week? What are the chances Cozart attempts a steal this week? About as good as one of the five city workers standing around that manhole outside your condo being one of the Ghostbusters. If there’s something strange in your neighborhood… I still say JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Alexi Amarista, 2B/SS/OF, San Diego Padres
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 98% ESPN
Current Stats: 14 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, .280 AV .768 OPS
The Gist: The Padres’ Alexi Amarista might be just what your Rutledgeless roster requires; a hot schmotato. But instead of a sticker that reads “fresh” it says “warning”. Whaddya mean Guru, he’s hitting .500 in his last seven games with 3 RBI and a couple of runs scored? Well researched, my droogs, but our dear Alexi is platooning at second and center. Adult roster supervision is required.
Key Stat: After hitting five home runs in 106 games in 2012, Amarista now has three in his first 38 appearances.
X-File: Take a look where Amarista has appeared through 48 games- 3B (2), LF (3), 2B (15), CF (18), PR (3), PH (12). Think the Padres are trying to find a spot for him?
Jam or Cram: It was either the band Chicago or the toothy Tony Robbins that said, “In life you need either inspiration or desperation.” Cram the inspiration, Jam in desperation. Look into your soul to find the answer. *best if viewed from the bottom of glass*
And speaking of the bottom…
Jam it or Cram it: Nick Punto, 2B/SS/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Availability: 95% Yahoo, 94% ESPN
Current Stats: 12 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI, .323 AV, .807 OPS
The Gist: I’m sure the Dodgers never planned on Nick Punto playing six days a week or even three days a week, but “The Shredder” has actually been one of the few positives in Los Angeles (the Flying Pig Truck excluded). With injuries to Mark Ellis at second and Hanley Ramirez at third, Punto has filled in capably wherever needed. It’s hard to imagine him keeping this average where it’s at now considering Punto is a career .250 hitter. But it’s also hard to imagine “Dandy” Don Mattingly keeping his parking spot another week.
Key Stat: Has at least one hit in seven of his last ten games.
X-File: The multiple positions are a definite help in NL only or deep leagues.
Jam or Cram: Ok Razzballers, when it comes to Nick Punto I’m not going to pee down your leg and tell you it’s raining. I know how it is. My “friend” dated a girl into that. “He” was always doing laundry. Damn Match.com. The Dodgers are in trouble and 15 Nick Punto’s couldn’t save them. One Nick Punto won’t help you. CRAM
*Bonus Tracks* Starting streamers to jam or cram this week.
Jose Fernandez vs. TB, Jam. Jo-fer’s ERA is 2.48 in his last five starts.
Marco Estrada vs. MIN, Jam. Brewers have won 4 of his last 5 starts.
Wade Miley vs. TEX, Cram. The Rangers’ hitting is top 5 in just about all major offensive categories.
Time for some weekend lobster bakin’ and Shipyard swillin’, but your humble Guru is here for questions, comments and inspiration. Follow The Guru on Twitter for the daily jam it or cram it @TheGuruGS