Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar once said, “You can sum up in one word the game of baseball: ‘You never know.’”
Well said Joaquin, well said.
You never know how the season will go and what stars will emerge and what stars will fade to black (someone please cue up Metallica here. I’m tired of boy bands). That’s part of the fun and frustration of fantasy sports. But even if you drafted well, with all your players off to a hot start and you are filled to the brim with confidence and trash talk, you just never know when you are going to hear that one word the game of baseball truly despises: The disabled list. *tips cap to Professor Andujar*
Here are some guys that got broke this week:
SS Jose Reyes severely sprained his ankle. Jose was all smiles before stealing second base Friday. A minute later he was in tears and being driven off the field in a golf cart. To quote Tom Hanks from A League of Their Own, “Willssonn!!”
SP Zach Greinke fractured his left collarbone after Carlos “The Hammer” Quentin charged the ring at Wrestlemania 29 and attempted his patented figure four leg lock. Where’s Ivan Putski when you need him?
SP Jered Weaver has a fractured elbow. Don’t worry, it’s on his non-throwing arm so his continued loss in velocity will be just fine when he comes back.
1B Freddie Freeman strained his oblique. I’m no doctor, I’m a guru dammit, but I believe an oblique is your love handles. Thanks WebMD. And yes, you can strain your love handles. It happened to me once at a dive bar in Providence. If Brenda the bartender offers you some “warm nuts” with your Pabst Blue Ribbon simply smile and say, “no thank you”.
2B Brian Roberts is broken again. You drafted him why? Oh, I see, you are in the 2004 fantasy baseball league. Hope you drafted Vlad Guerrero too. He’s going to have a great year. JayWrong predicted MVP type numbers.
So let us dedicate this week’s column to the battered and the broken and wander like a bare-assed Frank Gallagher through the snowy streets of the waiver wire to find a few players that may or may not save your season (or at least the next week of it). Only 24 more to go.
Time to Jam it or Cram it.
Jam or Cram AJ Griffin, SP, Oakland A’s.
Rankings: Razzball #211, ESPN #260, Yahoo #297.
Availability: Pick him up in about 60% of leagues.
The Gist: If you are looking for a Greinke/Weaver replacement you can do a lot worse than Artemis Jimmyhat Griffin. Not sure that name is correct Wikipedia, but AJ is off to a solid start. After stumbling at the end of 2012, Griffin has opened the season strong. In his first two starts, Atticus Jethro has put up 14 innings of 3-run ball with 5 K’s and 2 wins. I recently saw a trade of Anthony Rizzo straight up for Griffin. Someone out there really likes a good AJ.
Key Stats: His September/October ERA last season was 7.30. Griffin’s 8 innings against the Angels last week matched his career high.
April Don’t Mean @$&#: 2 W, 14 IP, 5 K, 3BB, 1.93 ERA, 1.04 WHIP.
The X-File: AJ Griffin’s next start is against some Houston batboys. Me thinks the Stream-o-Nator will like.
Now you decide: Jam it or Cram it?
Our next Jam or Cram fillinski is: Brandon Moss 1B/OF, Oakland A’s.
Rankings: Razzball #274, ESPN #234, Yahoo #472.
Availability: He’s out there in about 55% of leagues.
The Gist: Seems as though I have a man crush on the A’s this week. While I do admit to being an Athletic supporter, *insert prepubescent giggle here* Brandon Moss deserves your attention. If you are searching for a 1B this early, something has gone terribly wrong, i.e. you auto-drafted Mark Teixeira. As long as Mrs. Moss is not in labor, Mr. Moss will be in the middle of the A’s lineup this week. Last year Moss had 21 HR in 265 AB. He’s off to a hot start hitting .367 with an OPS of 1.090. Moss could be your short term power fix until your long term 1B gets back.
Key Stats: Even though he plays at the O.co, the power is there. His HR/FB rate is about 26%. The whiff’s are there too; his K rate is about 30%.
A gooey factoid for ya: Moss was part of the Red Sox deal in 2008 that sent him to Pittsburgh, Manny to LA and Jason Bay to Boston. Guess that worked out great for everyone; Moss gets a real chance now in Oakland, Manny can take all the female hormone injections he wants in Taiwan and Bay just tripped over his cat and fell down the stairs.
April Don’t Mean @$&#: Moss has put up 6 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .367 BA
The X-File: While he may miss a game because of the “baby situation” (that’s how I still refer to my teenage daughter) Moss will get to feast on the Lastros “pitching” this week.
Now you decide: Jam it or Cram it?
One last MASH unit reinforcement to Jam or Cram is: Omar Infante, 2B, Detroit Tigers
Rankings: Razzball #319, ESPN #226, Yahoo #293.
Availability: 70% of most leagues.
The Gist: Manager Jim “Chesterfield” Leyland told the Detroit Free Press last week that Omar Infante is a “good and steady player”. I will take a week of good and steady over another week of bad and shaky from Jason Kipnis, Josh Rutledge or Danny Espinosa. Now I am not saying kick those guys to the curb. They still have value and it is only the second week of April, but Infante is hitting .400 in the early going. Infante can give you a little power, a little speed and solid average while waiting for your starters to heat up. Last year between the Marlins and the Tigers he put up 12/53/17 and hit .274.
Key Stats: Infante hit safely in 9 straight games to open the season. He will be in Seattle this week. Seattle’s team ERA is 5.27. Seattle has moved the fences in. Harold Reynolds says he could have hit 50 homers there. Ssuurree Harold. Look, an intern!
April don’t mean @&#%: Infante has 4 R, 4 RBI and a .400 AV.
The X-File: Infante is just 3 years removed from an All-Star season in which he hit .321 for the Braves. You are probably not going to ride Omar to the fantasy promise land, but he can be a valuable piece along the way.
Now you decide: Jam it or Cram it?
*Bonus Tracks* Jam it or Cram it starters for the week:
Tommy Milone vs HOU, Jam
Barry Zito vs MIL, Cram
JA Happ vs CHW, Jam
Jon Niese vs COL, Cram
Shelby Miller vs PITT, Jam
Results from last week:
Jackie Bradley Jr: This week JBJ hit .063 with a steal. I told you on the Razzball Podcast to cram. Next stop Pawtucket. Wally the Green Monster was seen giving Jackie an uncomfortably long hug goodbye.
Gerardo Parra: After suggesting to jam Parra, he has cooled off a bit. Here’s Parra’s week: 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, .240 AV.
I said jam Clay Buchholz vs BAL, W, 7 IP, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. Nailed it.
Jam Paul Maholm vs MIA, W, 7 IP, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP. Nailed x 2.
Cram Edwin Jackson vs MIL, L, 6 IP, 6 K, 7.50 ERA, 2.17 WHIP. Took some negative comments on this pick. But nnaaiilleedd it.
Cram Wandy Rodriguez vs CIN, ND, 2.1 IP, 0 K, 3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP. He broke himself in the third inning and btw… nailed it.
I said cram Brett Myers vs NYY. He was supposed to start the game, but came on in the 4th and gave up 7 runs. I did say cram. And you’re welcome. Nailed it.
Jam Brandon Maurer vs HOU, 0.2 IP, 2 K, 81.00 ERA, 12.00 WHIP. Ouch. 2/3 of an inning? 81.00 ERA? *throws up in mouth a little* If you are going to miss, miss big. I did receive this encouraging tweet: @GurusMom You were adopted #The Guru sucks.
Follow me on Twitter @TheGuruGS
Don’t forget the Razzball Podcast Tuesday with Nick and the Razzballers.
Also I’ll be talking all things Razzball with Maine sportscaster Rich Kimball Monday at 4:20pm on 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine. You can listen live at 92.9theticket.com.