Maybe you’re with me, maybe you’re against me on this one, but the MLB All-Star game is an idea that should be buried alongside B.J. Upton, New Coke, Bic Disposable Underwear, and the XFL. He hate me because I hate the All-Star game. Home field in the World Series, whether it comes down to the Tigers and Cardinals or the Red Sox and the Braves, should not be determined by a matchup between Steve Delabar and Marco Scutaro. Also, it’s fans like this voting guys in, so the teams are not really the “best of the best” to begin with. Yet they are allowed to affect actual teams in real games? Only Bob Costas loves to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen, warming up in the American League bullpen, Brett Cecil!” I look forward to the day when my son tugs on my shirtsleeve and says, ”Daddy, tell me the story again how Jason Castro popped up to second in the All-Star game.” And I will turn to him and say, “I have a son? Did your mother work at Applebee’s in 2008?” It’s time we just bury Bud Selig and his “it counts” t-shirt alongside Chris Berman and his Hair in a Can. The All-Star game doesn’t count, it sucks. Bud and Boomer, the people don’t care. Television ratings for the game have been down every year and last year’s game had the worst ever with a 6.8 rating. Know what pulls in those kind of numbers? Sharknado. There must be a way to work that into the Razzball glossary. “Erasmo Ramirez sharknado’d my ERA this week!” Not sure, but that phrase may have already jumped the… *now back to our regularly scheduled rant* The first televised All-Star game in 1967 pulled in a 25.6 rating. Keep in mind that in 1967 there was one nationally televised baseball game a week, smoking was good for you and a kid’s favorite toy was Hasbro’s Stick with a Nail in it. Times, they are changin’. Sing it Zimmy.
The only thing interesting to ever occur during an All-Star game was when Pete Rose did this in 1970. Pete had to do it, he had $50 riding on the National League.
However, in honor (or is it horror) of the Midsummer Classic and the imminent fantasy baseball DT’s, let’s jam or cram the starting nine in this week’s currently under-owned waiver wire All-Stars. Somebody get me a Zima. Whaddya mean they don’t make it anymore?! How am I going to wash down this delicious Arch Deluxe?
Jam it or Cram it: Catcher, Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Availability: 90% Yahoo/ESPN
First Half Stats: 21 G, 7 R, 4 HR, 16 RBI, .309 AV
Jam or Cram: It’s been a tough couple of years for Ramos. He survived a kidnapping in Venezuela in 2011, then tore his ACL and missed all but 25 games last year. *note to self: send ex-wife on all-expense paid trip to Caracas as wedding present.* Expectations were high this year until a hamstring injury sent him to the DL. However, Senor Ramos has been hot since coming off the disabled list last Thursday. He hit .375 with a homer and five runs batted in on the week. If you’re a chronic rosterbator at the catching position, Ramos is well worth snagging. He could hit at least 10-12 home runs the rest of the way. Grab him before those machete wielding banditos in the ski masks do! JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: First base, Luke Scott, Tampa Bay Rays
Availability: 98% Yahoo, 99% ESPN
First Half Stats: 59 G, 24 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, .270 AV, .820 OPS
Jam or Cram: Sky, our Razzball creeper (not creepy) expert, nailed Scott last week. *tip of the cap, sir* Mr. Scott went all hot schmotato last week hitting .458 with three homers and six RBI. He’s one of those Platoony Tunes and if you pick him up adult roster supervision is required as he won’t face left-handers (.229 career). Coming out of the break Scott will get the Jays and Red Sox, two teams he’s hitting a combined .220 against. He may find himself on the bench tending to his fantastic Wolverine facial hair for a few of those. The creeping could be kaput. CRAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Second base, Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox
Availability: 86% Yahoo, 66% ESPN
First Half Stats: 42 G, 18 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .342 AV, .806 OPS
Jam or Cram: I think Grey has mentioned Beckham everyday for the past month. Therefore, I am contractually required to mention him also. And why not, since the beginning of July Gordo has hit .436. Beckham’s worth a grab for average, for those in OPS leagues and anyone struggling at the middle infield position. Beckham did have 16 homers last season, but 12 of those came at U.S. Cellular Field. Watch the home/road splits and not the Banana Splits my friends. Oh no, Gordo suffered a quad contusion Saturday night in Philly. Can we blame the McPoyle’s? So much for jamming, time for cramming. CRAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Shortstop, Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners
Availability: 96% Yahoo, 98% ESPN
First Half Stats: 14 G, 7 R, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, .269 AV, .798 OPS
Jam or Cram: Since being called up at the end of June, Miller has seen plenty of time in the lead off position and has produced. Miller was hitting .350 in the minors before the call up and had double digit homers between Triple-A and Double-A this year. Need some power, some average and a few steals (he had over 20 in the minors last season) from your middle infield position? I sure do, I drafted Danny Espinosa and Josh Rutledge. Apologies on the draft, but thanks for paying attention. Do you believe everything you read? Go pick up Miller. JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Third base, Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 98% ESPN
First Half Stats: 46 G, 14 R, 6 HR, 25 RBI, .241 AV, .680 OPS.
Jam or Cram: Chisenhall has raised his average nearly 30 points in the last two weeks as manager Terry Francona continues to roll him out there against right-handed pitching. He’s hit a couple of home runs and his OPS in his last 10 games is over .900. Not too shabby at a position that has Martin Prado, Todd Frazier and Michael Young all struggling but have over 70% ownership. If you own one of those schmohawks as well, may I interest you in this shiny new Chisenhall? *putting on used car salesman jacket* Did I mention he hit .390 in the minors this year and comes with that new player smell? Not convinced? I see a .280 average and 10-12 home runs in the second half and I’ll throw in free undercoating. Did I mention he hit a grand slam Saturday and the low, low mileage? I’m not sold either. CRAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Outfield, Eric Young Jr., New York Mets
Availability: 92% Yahoo, 85% ESPN
First Half Stats: 79 G, 37 R, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 15 SB, .262 AV, .689 OPS
Jam or Cram: Since coming to the Mets from Colorado, EYJ has hit .290 with a .368 on-base percentage and seven steals in 22 games. Guess the Rockies couldn’t use that kind of production. If you slept through the Rajai Davis SAGNOF! fun, it’s time to embrace Eric Young Jr. and slow dance to “Time After Time”. BTW, who is Eric Young Sr? Oh, he was once traded to the Dodgers for Pedro Astacio. No wonder I forgot. The junior is no senior and is a must add if you need steals. JAM.
Jam it or Cram: Starting pitcher, Felix Doubront, Boston Red Sox
Availability: 83% Yahoo, 92% ESPN
First Half Stats: 16 GS, 6 W, 3 L, 99IP, 43 ER, 93 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
Jam or Cram: Hey, it’s another Venezuelan. Let’s get some mondongo! What do you mean you don’t like cow stomach? You just ate the Arch Deluxe I’ve been saving since 1996! In Doubront’s last 10 starts he’s 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA and 45 K’s. This month Prince Felix is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA. That’s better than Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and the king of the Felix’s, Felix Hernandez. Not ready to snort what I’m selling yet? Try this, it’s free and an old fantasy dealer trick:
Pitcher A: 80.3 Contact%, 8.4 SwStr%, 2.16 Strikes/Balls, 10.0 BB%, 21.6 K%, 3.92 xFIP
Pitcher B: 82.7 Contact%, 6.9 SwStr%, 2.12 Strikes/Balls, 8.7 BB%, 18.3 K%, 3.87 xFIP
Wow Guru, those are similar numbers. I’ll take pitcher A. Yes, I’m sure you would favorite reader. Except you drafted pitcher B as your ace. That would be Yovani Gallardo. Of course pitcher A is Felix Doubront. You didn’t think I’d use Don Drysdale’s numbers did you? However, just about as many people drafted Drysdale as they did Doubront. Point, set, match, I own you now. JAM.
Jam it or Cram it: Relief pitcher, Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 100% ESPN
First Half Stats: 39 G, 2 W, 2 L, 32.1 IP, 10 ER, 34 K, 2.78 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Jam or Cram: The way my week has been fantasy-wise, I’m tempted to change my name to Gootonio Bastardo, move to Tenerife and leave my leopard print thong to Tehol. Wear it with pride my friend, wear it with pride. It’s saves I need and this Phillie could be the answer. Bastardo has given up one run in July, has a save and four holds. The WHIP’s not great, but neither are the Phillies. As the trade deadline looms, expect Jonathan Papelbon to be sporting a Tiger’s uni soon and then, voilà, Bastardo is our new SAGNOF! friend. If that doesn’t happen perhaps I’ll just move to Bangkok and manage Hitler Chicken. Achtung, baby! I do believe we have a JAM.
Thanks for the playing along Razzballer’s. Questions, comments, reasons you hate the All-Star game welcomed below. Follow The Guru on Twitter @TheGuruGS for the daily jam or cram, fantasy roster 411′s and other gooey shenanigans.