Phew! The fantasy baseball DT’s have finally subsided. It was touch-and-go for a while with many Trainspotting-like moments. Choose life. Choose a job. Choose Razzball. We are 90 games in and while I’m not so good with the math (look I spelled “boobs” on my calculator) me thinks that’s more than half-way through this fantasy season. If you were one of the lucky ones that drafted Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, or Carlos Gonzalez, good for you. If you happen to own all three, I tip my turban in your general direction. But for the rest of us that drafted Jason Heyward, Matt Kemp, and Brett Lawrie, we have some ground to make up. Hurry, everybody in the El Camino and let’s cruise over to the waiver wire flea market. While sifting through Mexican blankets, Blue Oyster Cult 8-tracks and old Playboys (Jaywrong, put that down! Oohh, Suzanne Somers), we might just find the player that catches fire in the second half and sends us to a fake baseball championship. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose to jam it or cram it.
Jam or Cram: Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Availability: 95% Yahoo, 91% ESPN
Current Stats: 33 AB, 8 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .333 AV, 1.072 OPS
The Gist: Ruf will see most of the action at first base with Ryan Howard out for the next two months with a knee injury. Ruf could shift to the outfield if he proves he belongs in the majors. So far, so good. He hit a 420 foot bomb in his first game. Ruf has legitimate power. It’s a small sample, but his career HR/FB is 26.3%. Manager Charlie Manuel says Ruf is the best thing out of Nebraska since the corncob cell phone. No one had the heart to tell Charlie he was talking into an actual ear of corn.
Key Stat: Ruf had 38 home runs, 104 RBI, 303 total bases and a .317 average last season at Double-A Reading.
Second-Half Prediction: 12 HR, 40 RBI, .260 AV, .780 OPS
Jam or Cram: With all the rookie hype surrounding Yasiel Puig, it’s hard for any other ManBearPigs to get some love. Darin Ruf deserves some. He has the opportunity for regular playing time, has multi-positional eligibility and Puigish power. Now give him a hug. No, harder. He likes it..ahem..ruf. JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Brandon Barnes, OF, Houston Astros
Availability: 99% Yahoo, 99.9% ESPN
Current Stats: 77 G, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 9 SB, .250 AV, .681 OPS
The Gist: Hurray, Brandon Barnes hit for the cycle Friday night. He was out on that double btw, but I did take notice. I also noticed in April when, after going 3-5 with three RBI against the Yankees, guess who Barnes was compared to by an unnamed to protect the guilty baseball “source”? If you guessed Bo Jackson I owe you a case of Makers Mark my friend. I would have guessed Brandon Walsh before Bo or Brandon Barnes.
Key Stat: Barnes had 12 homers and 21 steals in the minors last year.
Second-Half Prediction: 4 HR, 15 RBI, 5 SB, .240 AV, .666 OPS
Jam or Cram: We could pull the ‘ol fantasy cop-out here and say, “he’s worth a look in deep leagues and AL-only blah blah blah.” I won’t waste your time as I know your time is valuable and you have to get to that 2 o’clock showing of Pacific Rim. Barnes strikes out, doesn’t walk and reminds me of a right-handed Josh Hamilton…after a three-day bender in the Third Ward. There’s a reason Barnes is an 8-year minor leaguer. Catch my drift? CRAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Brandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves
Availability: 63% Yahoo, 69% ESPN
Current Stats: None as Beachy recovers from Tommy John surgery.
The Gist: It’s been about a year since Brandon Beachy blew out his elbow and Heidi Watney returned my calls. Those two things are completely unrelated as far as I know. But Beachy may be ready to help the Braves and your fantasy staff. Friday night Beachy was looking good in a rehab start at Triple-A. Beachy allowed one run on five hits in five innings of work with three strikeouts and a walk. Heidi also looked good Friday as I watched her from the court ordered distance of 500 feet.
Key Stat: Beachy’s career K/9 is 10.7.
Second-Half Prediction: 6-3, 3.45 ERA, 70 K, 1.20 WHIP
Jam or Cram: Ok Razzballer’s, I need a little pitching help, so I may be slightly optimistic here. However, Beachy will be back after his next rehab start this week *fingers crossed/pray to Jeebus*. I’m going to roll the dice. He can’t be worse than Yovani Gallardo or Jon Lester can he? I’m feeling lucky. Now please excuse me while I make a call. Hello, Heidi? JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Jesse Crain, RP, Chicago White Sox
Availability: 78% Yahoo, 99% ESPN
Current Stats: 2 W, 19 H, 46 K, 0.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
The Gist: Crain is currently on the DL with a shoulder strain, but will be back soon. At least the White Sox hope so because they are in the selling mood and the suitors are knocking at the screen door with flowers and prospects in hand. Crain has been linked to the Red Sox, Tigers and Rockies. And why not, Crain is having a better season than Chris Perez, Tom Wilhelmsen and Francisco Rodriguez.
Key Stat: Crain has a 46:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season.
Second-Half Predictions: 2 wins, 1 save, 7 holds, 25 K, 2.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Jam or Cram: It looks more and more like Uncle Jesse will be shipped out of Chicago. Boston could be a likely destination and he may end up closing there with Andrew Bailey done for the year and Koji Uehara pushing it innings wise. As a set-up guy he has been great, as a closer I just don’t see it. Need holds, need help with ratios, he’s a safe jam. But if you’re a SAGNOF seeker you may want to search elsewhere. In his 10 years in the league Crain has four more saves than I do and I throw one mean wiffle ball. CRAM.
*Bonus Tracks* Other possible diamonds:
Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Houston Astros: Carter could easily hit 12-15 homers the rest of the way. If you can live with the .240 average he’s worth a spot. JAM.
Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: Eaton may steal you 12 bases, hit four home runs and he’s on everyone’s second-half add list. Who am I to argue? JAM.
Marlon Byrd, OF, New York Mets: Byrd continues to hit. The Byrdman swatted his 16th homer on Saturday. His ownership is around 30%. B.J. Upton has 8 homers, 70% ownership and is on the DL. Welcome to Bizarro World. JAM.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies: DJ is a Hitter-Tron favorite for the week and I will not cross the Tron. Last time I did he debased my toaster oven. Also DJ gets four games against Miami at home this week. JAM.
Thanks for the playing along Razzballer’s. The Goo is poolside today, but available for all your jammer crammer questions. Follow The Guru on Twitter @TheGuruGS for the daily jam or cram, fantasy roster 411?s and other gooey shenanigans.