Bob Seger, Chevrolet’s poet laureate, once wrote, “Who wants to play those eights and aces/Who wants a raise/Who needs a stake/Who wants to take that long shot gamble?” The tune was “Fire Lake” and while not his best, (Give me “The Famous Final Scene”) or the best thing out of Detroit (give me The Stooges any day), I do like the line on taking a long shot. I’m a ramblin’ gamblin’ man. Recently we rolled the dice on Marlon Byrd and hit it like a hard ten/a woman’s best friend (For all our Mormon readers, that’s a good thing). Sometimes taking a chance pays off big and it’s Cristal and caviar, sometimes you’re busted and it’s Pabst and pork rinds. We have taken our chances this season, often throwing stats and logic aside. I got a feelin’! Oh, it’s just gas. Stupid pork rinds. Yes indeed, fellow Razzballer’s, we had jammer/crammers that we hit on like Raul Ibanez, Nick Franklin and Koji Uehara. Others left us bankrupt. Damn you Ike Davis! I’m crying real tears over my fake baseball team here. It’s time to take some risks and find us a longshot. Time to put on some Seger, don the Ray-Ban’s and slide across the living room floor in our underwear. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
Jam or Cram: Junior Lake, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs
Availability: 71% Yahoo, 60% ESPN
Stats Last Week: 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .484 AV, 1.130 OPS
The Gist: It was a great first week in baseball for Junior. Does he have anything left? Lake has always had the tools, but never did much with them. Perhaps he just likes wearing the hard hat and the tool belt while singing “In the Navy”. His career average in the minors is .271 and he’s never hit more than 12 home runs. However, Lake had 38 stolen bases in 2011 and 21 last season. SAGNOF!
Key Stat: Junior likes to swing. He has struck out 579 times in 619 minor league games.
A Gooey Factoid: Junior is the first Cub to get a hit in his first seven games since Jerome Walton did it in 1989. Jerome is also remembered for being the only Walton who refused to say, “Goodnight, John-Boy.”
X-File: Lake only had 40 career games at Triple-A before being called up.
Jam it or Cram it: Great week, Junior. Everyone is so proud. All the girls think you’re so toolsy! And with Alfonso Soriano gone and the Cubs going nowhere, Junior’s going to get thrown in the lake of fire. We may not see him again ’til the fourth of July. Can the hotness continue? He gets the Brewers and the Dodgers this week. I’ll take a gamble. JAM. Kudos if you got the Meat Puppets reference.
Jam or Cram: Henry Urrutia, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Availability: 95% Yahoo, 99% ESPN
Stats Last Week: 1 R, 2 RBI, .333 AV, .750 OPS
The Gist: Viva La Cuba! Puig, Cespedes, Urrutia! Someone get me a mojito! Urrutia was tearing it up like a muddler through mint in the minors. In 67 games he hit .366 with seven homers and 43 RBI. Urrutia will have a solid average, hit home runs and struggle against left-handers. It’s a Platoony Tunes.
Key Stat: Urrutia slashed .397/.461/.597 in 305 at-bats with 12 home runs and had more walks (32) than strikeouts (23) in 2010, his last year in Cuba.
X-File: Urrutia was terrific in Cuba and great in the minors. Can he continue to produce in the majors? Where’s my mojito?
Jam it or Cram it: Ok Razzballer’s , today’s blog has been about gambling on a long shot. I don’t see the Puig-type power. This year. Urrutia is a guy I’m scooping up in dynasty leagues and in leagues where I need average. Urrutia has upside and… Damn, this all sounds like one of those fantasy baseball writer cop outs. Screw it. I’m all about taking a chance. Grab Urrutia and buy me a mojito later. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 99% ESPN
Stats Last Week: 4 games, 16 AB, 1 Hit, my abacus says that’s a…hold on…I got it, .063 average.
The Gist: I’m assuming my fantasy friends followed Sir Grey’s advice and already added the other Marlin, Christian Yelich. Ok? Good. Hope it works out for you. Marisnick? May I just call him Jake from here on out? It’s a pain to type Marisnick. Jake was the key player in the blockbuster trade with Toronto over the winter. Jake hit .294 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 67 games this season in Double-A Jacksonville. Jake is going to be getting the starts in centerfield from here on out. Unless of course another Cuban floats into Florida and can hit a fastball. Elian Gonzalez, we turn our lonely eye to you.
Key Stat: In 2011, Jake hit .327 in the minors. In 2012 he hit .250. This year he hit .294.
X-File: Jake’s had a schizophrenic minor league career with numbers all over the place. He also wears a tinfoil hat and continues on in his quest for the Holy Grail.
Jam it or Cram it: Jake’s going to struggle in the majors. More seasoning would be nice, but the Marlins are essentially a Triple-A team anyways so why not throw him in the deep end and see if he can swim. Expect a low average and high strikeouts. He may have similar minor league numbers to Yelich, but he just doesn’t have the “it” factor. What’s the “it” factor? A bad reality show that followed out of work actors around LA. The show should have been called “Homeless Waiters”. CRAM.
Jam or Cram: Juan Lagares, OF, New York Mets
Availability: 97% Yahoo, 96% ESPN
Stats Last Week: 5 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, .417 AV
The Gist: It looks like the Platoony Tune days are over for Lagares. After a terrible first half ‘Ol Juan appears to have won the starting center field job for the Mets. Batting .391 in July and winning NL Player of the Week honors certainly helped.
Key Stat: Lagares’ BABIP is .355. Me likey.
X-File: Lagares’ walk rate is 3.9% and his K rate is 25%. Me no likey.
Jam it or Cram it: Juan put up better numbers last week than the other outfielders I own. But I think I’ll stick with Adam Jones, Carlos Gomez and Alex Rios. As the old Razzbal proverb goes, “all hot schmotatoes get cold eventually.” So will Juan. But this does remind me. The other day Mom asked me if I was still writing about “make believe baseball.” I said yes and sweetly asked for a Hot Pocket. It was delicious. The end. CRAM.
*Bonus Tracks* Other potential long shot winners:
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, SP, PHI: The Cuban invasion continues. The Phillies won the bidding war for Gonzalez, signing him to a 6-year $50 million deal. At 26 he could help the team now, but will likely not see the majors until September. Stash him if you have the room. Expect big things next year. BIG things I say. JAM.
Devin Mesoraco, C, CIN: Mesoraco hit .385 with two homers last week. If you’re a chronic rosterbator at the catching position, Mesoraco’s your man. That all sounded dirty. Who am I? Carlos Danger? CRAM.
David Lough, OF, KC: Lough is a guy I grabbed in one of the deep, deep leagues I play in and it’s been paying off for the last month. Lough is hitting .300 with three homers, 10 RBI and a steal over his last 30 games. He’s a reach, but worth it. Lough was a top 50 fantasy guy last week. JAM.
Thanks for the playing along Razzballer’s. The Goo is playing some Texas Hold ‘Em today, but is 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.