One day the Devil challenged the Big Man upstairs to a baseball game.
Smiling, God proclaimed, “You don’t have a chance. I have Babe Ruth. I have Ted Williams. I have Stan the Man. All the greatest players are up here.”
“Yes”, snickered the Devil, “but I have Ty Cobb and all the umpires.”
Advantage Beelzebub. *lightning strike/thunderclap*
No need to get all Faustian here. No need to go down to the crossroads. And forget about trying to pull a Johnny Favorite on Louis Cyphre. That doesn’t end well and I got a thing about chickens. Gaining an advantage in Fantasy Baseball is the easiest way to keep your team out of fantasy Hell. The best ways to gain an advantage? Embrace Razzball as your bible, chant the podcast theme song, sacrifice your Luis Tiant bobblehead at the altar of the Stream-o-Nator and become the pope of the waiver wire. Being able to shrewdly find that player who throws a miracle pitch for a Cy Young Award (RA Dickey) or the May prospect that becomes the Rookie of the Year (Mike Trout is an Angel) will be the difference between hoisting the holy fantasy grail high above your head while “Spirit in the Sky” plays in the background or being tied to the bed and hurling pea soup all over Father Karras. Now kindly undo these straps.
It’s time to Jam it or Cram it.
Jam or Cram: Denard Span, OF, Washington Nationals
Opening Rank: Razzball #228, Yahoo #280
Current Rank: Yahoo #162, ESPN #138
Availability: He’s available in about 60% of leagues.
The Gist: If you were one of those that drafted Ichiro, Michael Bourn or Brett Gardner 100 spots higher, you may want to take a serious look at Span. And by “may”, I mean stop your manscaping and clear a roster spot for him now. Men are supposed to have hair down there. Span sat out a few games this week along with Bryce Harper when the flu hit the Nationals’ Clubhouse. After his mom’s grilled cheese and tomato soup, plus a Pedialyte IV connected directly into the brainstem, Span is back in the leadoff spot for a potent Nationals lineup. Span has never hit more than 10 HR in a season, but I expect him to put up better numbers with the Nats this year than his 2010 season in Minnesota where he scored 85 runs and swiped 26 bases.
Key Stats: Span reached base in 15 of his first 30 plate appearances to start the season.
April Don’t Mean $@&#: Span is hitting .313 with 9 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI and 3 SB
A gooey factoid for ya: The Nats have used over 30 different leadoff hitters since they defected from Canada in 2005. Skipper Davey Johnson used five different guys there last year alone.
The X-File: If Span can stay healthy he will excel in this lineup. I like the potential for 95 R and 25 SB. In a related story, my old high school guidance counselor said he liked my potential for completely wasting my potential. I’ll drink to that. Cheers, Mr. Wiggler.
Now you decide: Jam it or Cram it?
For our next jam or cram let’s say you are a Jose Reyes fan and after tearing his jersey from your chest and vowing to never grow a King Tut beard again, you finally get around to finding a replacement at your shortstop position. That’s when you discover the SS position is a barren wasteland filled with guys named Marwin. I am pretty sure Grey mentioned a certain Josh Rutledge here a few times but you chose to ignore the ‘stache. And you had such potential.
Jam it or Cram it: Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants
Opening Rank: Razzball had him outside the top 400. Yahoo threw a dart and hit on #333
Current Rank: Yahoo #55, ESPN #62
Availability: He’s out there in about 70% of leagues.
The Gist: Here’s what it says on Brandon Crawford’s Twitter page, “I can’t hear the critics talkin’ over the applause.” Now, I don’t follow Brandon on Twitter, but I just had to check to see if he is an actual person. He is. And apparently he’s a real baseball player too. Crawford is off to an applause filled start: .328 AV, .415 OBP, .561 SLG and .977 OPS. If you are hurting at SS, jam B-Craw (that’s what he asked me to call him when we tweet each other late at night) into your lineup and reap the rewards before the eventual cool down. Right now Crawford is hitting for average and showing some never-before-seen power. He has 3 HR through the first 18 games. In his previous 208 games he had just 7. What’s the difference? 4 of course.
Key Stats: Crawford is on pace for a .330/30/70 season. And I’m on pace to win Survivor: Caramoan because I haven’t showered in 3 weeks. Hold on, I’m going to tweet that to B-Craw. He loves self-deprecating humor.
April Don’t Mean $@&#: Crawford is hitting .328 with 12 R, 3 HR and 7 RBI.
A gooey factoid for ya: Crawford joined Bobby Bonds and Brian Dallimore as the only Giants players whose first career hit was a grand slam. Brian Dallimore? Wasn’t he the sheriff in “First Blood”?
The X-File: Brandon Crawford may be your answer at shortstop until your HanRam/Jeter/Reyes wobbles back on the field. Crawford is riding high right now, hitting in 13 of his last 15 games. Enjoy it while you can. As the good Dr. Thompson once said, “buy the ticket, take the ride”. Just know when to get off. Me thinks the applause ends soon.
Now you decide: Jam it or Cram?
*Bonus Tracks* Jam it or Cram it SP’s for the week:
Jose Quintana vs. CLE, Jam
Tim Hudson vs. COL, Cram
Ryan Dempster vs. HOU, Jam
James McDonald vs. PHI, Cram
Results From Last Week:
AJ Griffin SP: ND, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. I made a case for starting Absinthe Julius. Not a bad start. Don’t like those walks, but I’ll take the 2 ER and the K’s. Jam
Note to self: Open Absinthe Julius at local mall.
Brandon Moss 1B/OF: Hit .125 with 3 RBI for the week. I said to keep an eye on the family situation. Sure enough, Moss was on daddy leave for most of the week. Cram
Omar Infante 2B: Had one hit for the week. Jim Leyland was seen licking his nicotine patch repeatedly. Cram
As far as the SP picks last week, I hit on Tommy Milone (jam), Barry Zito (cram) and Jon Niese (cram). I missed on JA Happ who gave up 5 runs and took the loss. And got an “I’ll take it” performance from Shelby Miller who took the loss despite only giving up 2 runs with 6 K.
Check out the new Razzball Podcast with Nick and us Razzballers every Tuesday and look for my daily Jam it or Cram it on Twitter @TheGuruGS
As a longtime New Englander and lifelong Red Sox fan just a quick thought on the events in Boston last week: Remarkable job by law enforcement, medical and rescue personnel and the resilient people of Boston. During such a tragic time for so many, it was refreshing to see the outpouring of support from around the US and at Major League Ballparks. Let’s hope we never have to hear “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium again.