Mark Twain wrote there are three types of lies; there’s lies, damned lies and baseball stats. That’s from Huckleberry Finn, Page 84… I think. I’m not entirely sure as I went to an “alternative high school” in Maine which was a flannel-clad cross between Glee and Lord of the Flies. Now everybody sing “Don’t you Forget About Me” while I impale this pig’s head on a spear. Happy Mother’s Day!
*Now back to our regularly scheduled blog*
Most of the questions I received on Twitter over the past week were about what players to grab off the wire because there’s been another closepocalypse , what players to pick up that can help with stolen bases and one question about whether or not Terrell Owens was worth a roster spot on their fantasy bowling team. He is not. But let us use the lies of baseball stats to our advantage and take a look at some closers and base stealers. Also, since it is Mother’s Day, I’ll let my mom give her opinion on each player. What greater gift can a son give his mother than an opportunity to say something on Razzball? Damn, I’m cheap. It’s time for the SAGNOF edition of Jam it or Cram it.
Jam it or Cram it: Heath Bell, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Availability: 52% Yahoo, 38% ESPN
Current Stats: 2 W, 4 SV, 7 ER, 3 BB, 20 K, 4.11 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
The Gist: I don’t usually feature a player here that has such high ownerships throughout the leagues, but a number of people have asked about him so let’s take a look. Since inheriting the closer job from the injured J.J. Putz, Heath Bell has looked like the player he was in San Diego. Portly and prone to plowing your WHIP from behind? Not quite. Bell had 3 saves this week. In Bell’s last 11.1 innings he has a 13:2 K:BB ratio. Bell’s improvement seems to be his trust in his fastball again which is up .5 MPH compared to last season. In his first 13 outings this season, Heath Bell’s fastball made up 75 percent of his pitches thrown. Since becoming the closer he has thrown his fastball 80 percent of the time.
Key Stat: Opponents are hitting just .200 against Bell over the last 11 innings.
X-File: With Motte, Putz, Hanrahan all finished for the year, it has been a scramble to find closers. Bell just may be the “best” out there right now. This week should be a test as the D-Backs host Atlanta then head to Coors Field to face the Rockies.
Jam or cram: Jam for now, but I would stash David Hernandez if you can. I don’t have much confidence in Bell even if he is the man for now. I still see David Hernandez ending up with the job once Bell pulls a hammy while running in from the bullpen.
Guru’s Mom says: “Are you sure you have clean underwear? You don’t want to have an accident and people will see you have dirty underwear.” What about Heath Bell, Mom? “He looks like he his nickname could be ‘skid mark’.”
Jam it or Cram it: Jose Veras, RP, Houston Astros
Availability: 60% Yahoo, 64% ESPN
Current Stats: 14.1 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 16 K, 4 SV, 4.50, ERA, 1.14 WHIP
The Gist: With fill-in closers like Junichi Tazawa in Boston and Kevin Gregg in Chicago likely gone in your league, it may be time to take drastic measures and pick up Veras because you know, someone is going to have to close out all those Astros’ victories. When called on to pitch, Veras has been effective. He’s 4 for 6 in save situations with a 16:4 K:BB ratio in 14 innings.
Key Stat: Has minor league experience closing games. While in the Yankees system he had 21 saves in 2006. 2006? The best stat I can find is from 7 years ago? We are scraping the bottom of the barrel here.
X-File: Veras has played for the Rays, Yankees, Indians, Brewers, Marlins, Pirates, and now the Astros. There’s a reason for that.
Jam or Cram: Jam. If you are desperate for saves and I mean desperate in a way that you are considering trading away a bat for a closer, hold off and try Veras. I can see another 15-20 saves coming his way. No, really.
Guru’s Mom says: “One of these days your face is going to freeze like that.” But Mom, I just picked up Jose Veras.
Jam it or Cram it: Dee Gordon, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Availability: Yahoo 72%, ESPN 68%
Current Stats: In 7 games Gordon is hitting .280 with a home run, 4 runs scored and 3 steals.
The Gist: Dee Gordon is finally getting his chance this season with the struggling Dodgers. Gordon will give you a bit of everything; he’ll score some runs, he’ll run into outs. He’ll make a great play in the field, he’ll throw it into the dugout. A little bit of everything. However, he has 5 runs scored and 3 steals this week and will be in the lineup for awhile with Han-Ram on the shelf again.
Key Stat: Had 32 steals in 87 games last year but hit just .228.
X-File: Gordon is hitting second in front of Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp. This should give him ample opportunities to score runs and steal bases. That is if he can get on base. His career OBP is .303. Can he steal first?
Jam or cram: Jam. Vin Scully likes him so much he just “Hanely Ramirezed” his Depends.
Guru’s Mom says: “Last week your Aunt Dee told me she stole a canned ham by stuffing it in her bra.” Mom, Aunt Dee has been dead since 1995. “Ham, son?”
Jam it or Cram it: Juan Pierre, OF, Miami Marlins
Availability: 69% Yahoo, 48% ESPN
Current Stats: 16 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 12 SB, .248 AV
The Gist: Juan Pierre has been a exactly what your team needs on the base paths. Pierre has seven steals and seven runs scored since April 28th. He is also hitting close to .500 (7-15) in his last four starts. Keep an eye on Pierre’s matchups as Manager Mike Redmond has been sitting him against lefties lately.
Key Stat: Pierre has been successful on 12 of 14 stolen base attempts this season (86 percent). Pierre set a career high in steal percentage last season, when he successfully stole a base in 84 percent of his attempts.
A Gooey Factoid: On May 2, Juan Pierre became the 18th player in MLB history to steal 600 bases.
Jam or cram: Jam. Watch me as I telepathically add him to my roster. Now dump a bucket of pig’s blood on my head and call me “Carrie”.
Guru’s Mom says: “I don’t trust the French.” Why Mom? “I don’t know, they lack a certain je ne sais quoi.” But Pierre is from Alabama.
*Bonus Tracks* Jam it or cram it starting pitchers this week:
Scott Kazmir vs NYY, Cram
Phil Hughes vs SEA, Jam
Francisco Liriano vs MIL, Jam
Jon Niese vs STL, Cram into further notice.
Ok Razzballers, I’m off for canned ham and the Sox with mother. She invented a drinking game where you do a shot anytime someone says, “RemDawg”. We don’t let her drive.
Feel free to comment or share your mom’s wisdom below. You can also stalk me on Twitter @TheGuruGS