Back in your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru’s R-O-C-K in the U.S.A. days, I was working for a famous writing Mainer who also happened to own a radio station that doubled as a house of horrors. I was later fired for playing “The Lesbian Dating Game” and “doing things unbecoming of an employee” in the station’s van. Allegedly. But I digress. The job was cool and so was the “king”, but the program director was the kind of vertically challenged guy that put the double SOB in the word boss, if you know what I mean. I won’t mention his name either, but we called him “The Little Bastard”. He got that nickname one night backstage at a John Mellencamp show when he called the original little bastard “The Cougs” and got a face full of bourbon. *Puts pinky to mouth* come on baby, you make it hurt so good. I was never much of a fan of Mellencamp – Please, Mommy, don’t send us to Mellen Camp again there’s Mexican’s there – but after watching one Napoleonic sufferer destroy another, I’ve been in his corner ever since. I fight authority and authority always wins. Thus concludes the Guru’s 432nd edition of (insert echo effect here) “Brush With Fame”. Next time we’ll talk about Aerosmith, black nail polish, and Liv Tyler – the statute of limitations has long expired me thinks. Today’s little ditty on our jam or cram has us looking at some of last week’s chart toppers and trying to decide if they are one hit wonders or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. We’re not talking about running Albert Pujols or Jose Fernandez through the ol’ jammer crammer machine© here. What we are looking for is whether or not those players that rocked last week (and are under 50% owned) are worth a hand to hold on to. Now that I’m fresh out of John Mellencamp references it’s time to jam it or cram it.
Stats Last Week: 6 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, .500 AV.
Availability: 84% Yahoo, 82% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $3. Money well spent.
The Gist: Viciedo is this weeks “Hot Schmotato” cover boy – he’s 14-for-24 over the last week with a six game hitting streak. Over his last nine games Dirty Dayana is hitting over .400. With right field all his now and hitting fifth on a White Sox team that is leading MLB in runs scored there’s plenty to like here.
Key Stats: The Tank is hitting .542 over his last six games, with a homer, four doubles, a triple, five RBI and six runs scored.
Jam it or Cram it: When former “Creeper of the Week” Avisail Garcia pulled a Wally Pipp and was lost for the year the door opened for Viciedo to get regular playing time. A man named Dayan is doing his best Iron Horse impression and is leading the AL in hitting with a .370 average. He’s the luckiest man of the face of the… JAM.
Stats Last Week: 6 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, .423 AV.
Availability: 78% Yahoo, 82% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1. Don’t be the big spender in April…unless you need a closer or you’re bidding on Gregory Palanco – we’ll get to him.
The Gist: There’s nothing sexy about James Loney at first look…or third look. However, he got his schmotato on last week as he batted .423 with four multi-hit games. There’s no power here as Loney has just 87 homers in over 4000 plate appearances, but could make a good play in points leagues.
Key Stats: Loney has batted .335 in the seventh inning or later since joining the Rays. How does this help us in fantasy? It doesn’t really. There’s not a lot of “key stats” when it comes to Loney.
Jam it or Cram it: Loney is a nice Platoony Tunes play against right-handers with a .801 OPS and a 3.9% strikeout percentage against righties this season. However, if you’re looking to Loney as your fantasy first baseman in April something went terribly wrong with your draft. Have you tried fantasy cricket? CRAM.
Stats Last Week: 5 R, 3 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .385 AV.
Availability: 96% Yahoo, 98% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1. Pay in pennies.
The Gist: Espinosa was a sleeper pick last season then went night-night at the plate, suffered a wrist injury and wound up in Triple-A. With Ryan Zimmerman and his Rascal currently on the DL a door opened for Esp. He must’ve saw that coming as he’s making the most of the chance slashing .294/.351/.485 in 22 games.
Key Stats: Between the 2011 and 2012 seasons Esp hit 38 homers and swiped 37 bases.
Jam it or Cram it: Struggling in the middle infield? Frustrated with slow starts from Brandon Phillips, Jedd Gyorko or Brad Miller? Give Esp a go. He has three times as many homers as Robinson Cano. April stats are fun. With Zimmerman on his way back this would be a short term wham, JAM, thank you ma’am.
Stats Last Week: 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .320 AV.
Availability: 99% Yahoo, 99.8% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1 or your Steve Balboni rookie card.
The Gist: I left my heart in Juan Francisco is another Platoony Tune poster boy getting his chance against right-handers with Adam Lind out. Ol’ Juan certainly has power – as evidenced by the four teams he’s been on in four years and his average home run distance last year was 10th in the league. The bomb he hit off Jake Peavy on Friday was his first of the year and traveled an estimated 968 feet – give or take 400 feet. I’m bad with math.
Key Stats: Francisco’s career average against lefties is .173 with a .426 OPS.
Jam it or Cram it: The Rogers Centre is nice spot for power hitting lefties and Francisco is certainly that. His HR/FB rate is 21%. I could see a deep league or AL only JAM for the power potential, but for everyone else it’s a CRAM.
Stats Last Week: None.
Availability: 79% Yahoo, 98% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $33. Yes, spend big my friends, but keep in mind it may take your entire $100 budget to land him.
The Gist: Here’s what our prospect whisperer Scott had to say about Polanco back in March: “He’s a top 10 overall fantasy prospect in my book, bringing impact potential in AVG, OBP, HR, and SB. Polanco is a potential 30/30 outfielder.” That’s Nicolas Cage kinda high praise from Scotty.
Key Stats: Between three levels in the minors last season, Polanco hit 12 homers, had 71 RBI and stole 38 bases in 127 games.
Jam it or Cram it: The 6’4”, 220-pound, 22-year-old outfielder is blowing up minor league pitching with four home runs, 23 RBI, 4 steals and a .417 average in his first 21 games. Polanco was also the Rookie of the Year and the MVP of the Dominican Winter League after hitting .331 with a .900 OPS. There’s nothing left to prove. Bring him up, Pittsburgh. Does Travis Snyder have incriminating photos of GM Neal Huntington? This is the type of player that could turn the Pirates year around and save your fantasy season. JAM.
Matt Joyce, OF, TB: Strictly a JAM vs. righties in DFS play, but for the rest of us it’s a CRAM.
Rajai Davis, OF, DET: I will continue to say JAM on Rajai until the SAGNOF gods strike me down.
Follow The Guru and his dirty turban on Twitter @TheGuruGS for fantasy roster 411?s, brushes with fame and his signature move – the scotch-fueled selfie.