On Saturday, Robinson Cano went 2 for 4 and hit his 2nd HR of what has been a extremely painful season for the Mariners second baseman and his fantasy owners. But could the longball on Saturday be a sign of things to come? I definitely would not count on it.
I was very down on Cano entering the year and this is what I said about him in the pre-season: “It seems to me as if Cano is just in the decline phase of his career and I personally would not have him on any of my teams as his name value exceeds what I perceive to be his actual value.”
If you thought the 1990’s had a lot of bad trends with nu-metal music, frosted tips, and playing pogs at recess, then wait till you see Cano’s laundry list of horrible trends this season that give him little hope of returning to fantasy stardom.
- With 4 straight seasons from 2010-13 of ISO marks above .200, Cano’s power suffered a severe decline last season to a .139 ISO, and this season it is even worse at .094.
- Cano entered the 2014 season with a career ground ball/fly ball ratio of 1.54. Last season, he ended up with a ratio of 2.13 and also has the same 2.13 ratio so far this season. Hitting the ball on the ground more is an indicator of his loss in power.
- The average distance on his HR + fly balls has declined from 292 feet in 2013, to 279 feet in 2014, to 272 feet this season. The loss in average distance here is also indicative of his loss in power.
- After having walk rates of 8.8%, 9.5%, and 9.2% from 2012-14, Cano is walking only 5.9% of the time this year.
- Even though last season Cano saw a big dip in his power, he still showed great contact skills with a 10.2% strikeout rate (2nd best of his career). However, along with a further dip in power this year, he is now striking out at a career high rate of 15.6%.
- With a .323 career BABIP, Cano has long been able to be well above the average player in this regard. But he currently has a .297 mark this year, which would be the 2nd lowest of his career.
- The low BABIP this year can be attributed to only going to the opposite field 18.8% of the time this year, which would be the lowest mark of his career and well below his career rate of 26.8%.
- Not using the opposite field as much along with the career high ground ball/fly ball ratio and lower BABIP suggests that he is pulling the ball on the ground a lot into shifted defenses for easy outs.
With all this being said, if you’re a sad Cano owner then it would be perfectly fine to bench him, or even better if you can find an owner hopeful of a Cano rebound to take him off your hands. For the rest of the season from May 31 onward, I will give Cano a very unexciting line of: .271 AVG, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 55 R, 3 SB, 68 K, and 30 BB.
So in homage to Cano’s agent, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, I leave Cano and his owners with this:
If you’re having baseball problems, I feel bad for you son, you got 99 problems, and a pitch is one
Now let’s see what else happened on Saturday’s slate…
Edwin Encarnacion – 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K. Encar has fallen back into a little slump as he’s 1 for his last 19 and without a homer in his last 5 games. Unless he knocks 3 out on Sunday, it looks like my prediction of him hitting 10 HR from May 10-May 31 will not come to fruition.
Ben Revere – 1 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB. Revere has been warming up with the bat and got his 10th SB of the year on Saturday, but it was announced that Revere would be platooned with Jeff Francoeur. Revere has struggled to hit lefties this year with just a .208 AVG, but he actually has hit them very well in his career at a .305 AVG. So this seems to be a bit weird to put him into a platoon and it surely is going to hurt his fantasy value for him to not be playing everyday. Plan accordingly.
Nolan Arenado – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Arenado has really turned it on in the last week homering 4 times. And what has been really encouraging about this little hot streak is that it is coming on the road. Arenado has largely used his home park Coors Field to his advantage in his career to boost his stats a bit, but this year 9 of his 11 HR have come on the road. It would appear that he’s becoming an even more complete hitter before our very eyes.
Ben Paulsen – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Paulsen has been receiving a decent amount of playing time in the absence of Justin Morneau who originally landed on the 7-day concussion DL but was transferred to the 15-day DL. So Paulsen should be in for some more starts at first base for the Rockies, and he is also capable of playing the corner outfield spots. So he makes for a decent plug and play for however long Morneau remains sidelined and he could actually fall into a permanent gig if the lowly Rockies decide to trade Morneau later this summer. Paulsen is batting .359 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in 12 games.
Jimmy Paredes – 0 for 4, 1 K. Paredes has been one of my favorite fantasy players this season, but he is beginning to see some of that regression that he was due for. Paredes is riding a very high .394 BABIP and his swinging strike rate of 18.7% is the highest in the Majors. His AVG should continue to fall and probably eventually settle under .300. He makes for a decent sell high candidate, but I still have faith that he will be able to produce well enough to still be fantasy relevant.
Steven Souza – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Souza continues to showoff his power and speed combination with 9 HR and 7 SB, but as I’ve mentioned before he strikes out a ton to seriously deflate his AVG. An interesting race will be which player will have more HR+SB+BB+K at the end of the season? Souza, George Springer, or Joc Pederson?
Erasmo Ramirez – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K with the W. Ramirez has had a couple of nice starts since joining the Rays rotation with a 3.13 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 4 starts. It’s possible that this success could be attributed to him scrapping the slider from his repertoire as it was a terrible pitch for him. He’s always had some untapped potential, so he is someone to keep an eye on despite the ugly season ERA of 5.53.
Brad Boxberger – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. After a couple poor outings previously, Boxberger was able to nail down a save cleanly to keep Jake McGee at bay.
Paul Goldschmidt – 3 for 5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 K. Goldie is no stranger to games like this, but I still have to mention it. He’s now hitting a monstrous .342 with 14 HR, 42 RBI, 38 R, and 8 SB in 49 games.
Khris Davis – 0 for 1, 1 K. Davis tore his meniscus and will be sidelined for quite a while, which is disappointing as he was just starting to warm up. Gerardo Parra will see the bulk of the playing time in Davis’ absence and he can surely be of some help in some deeper leagues.
Jean Segura – 2 for 4, 2 R. Segura returned from the DL this weekend and he was looking more like the 2013 version of himself than the 2014 version before he hit the DL. He’ll likely fall somewhere in between those two seasons and makes for a fine shortstop play with his speed and sneaky pop.
Kyle Lohse – 3.1 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K with the L. Lohse without the “H” is what you get with Kyle here. I said it last time he pitched, it looks like this will finally be the season where he doesn’t outperform his projections.
Preston Tucker – 2 for 4, 1 R. Tucker was slotted 3rd in the Astros lineup again against another lefty and logged another 2 hits. He has been getting replaced late in the game for pinch-runners or defensive replacements but we don’t really care too much about that if he’s getting starts and hitting 3rd in the order. He should be owned in more leagues.
Evan Gattis – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Gattis is now 12 for 24 in his last 6 games to bring his AVG up from .187 to .230. He’s looking more like the top 5 fantasy catcher option that I pegged him to be this year.
Dallas Keuchel – 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K with the W. A truly dominant performance from the Astros ace as he improved to 7-1 with a 1.76 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Yeah, it was against a White Sox offense that has been dominated much over the last week, but still a masterful performance.
Jose Abreu – Abreu has had some irritation in his right index finger and missed Saturday’s game. And as evidenced by Keuchel’s utter ownage of the White Sox on Saturday, the White Sox lineup looks like poo poo without Abreu in it.
Giancarlo Stanton – 2 for 4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K. A couple of Mike drops on Saturday, one of which traveled 455 feet into the second deck. The .230 AVG isn’t very pretty, but 15 HR and 44 RBI are beautiful. He should be able to work his AVG up more toward the .260 range or higher as the season moves on.
J.T. Realmuto – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB, 1 K. Realmuto with a HR and a SB on Saturday, each of which were his 2nd of the season. I’ve said before that he’s got some SB potential having swiped 18 bags in 97 games at AA in 2014. So if he can start showing off that speed some more then he can carve out some fantasy value.
Michael Taylor – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. With Jayson Werth expected to be sidelined until August with a wrist injury, Taylor is the beneficiary and is an intriguing option in any leagues that don’t penalize strikeouts as he has a great power and speed blend much like someone like Steven Souza. The homer on Saturday was his 4th of the season to go along with 4 SB.
Billy Hamilton – 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 K. Hamilton continues to show some life at the plate ever since he was moved to 9th in the order behind the pitcher. If he keeps hitting, he should work his way back to the leadoff role where obviously his value would be maximized.
Raisel Iglesias – 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. Another strong strikeout performance from the Cuban rookie Iglesias, but we need to see more ability to limit the runs and hits before he is considered for fantasy leagues. But clearly, he does have some sneaky potential, especially in his first go round in the league where teams are unfamiliar with him and his deceptive delivery.
Chi Chi Gonzalez – 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 2 K with the W. Gonzalez shutout the Red Sox for 5.2 innings on Saturday in his Major League debut, but he does not come in the same regard as Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox who also made his debut in this series a couple days prior. Gonzalez was a 2013 1st round pick of the Rangers, but he’s had less than impressive peripheral statistics in his time in the Minors and I do not think that he holds great potential this season if he gets any further looks. I would safely leave him for the waiver wire.
Matt Adams – Adams may miss the rest of the season as he underwent surgery to repair a torn quad. Mark Reynolds will be set to see a lot more playing time, but the Cardinals may choose to explore the trade market eventually.
Michael Wacha – 5.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K with the L. Wacha suffered his first loss of the season on Saturday at the hands of the Dodgers, but the good news is that he recorded more strikeouts than innings pitched for just the 2nd time this season. His K rate has oddly been depressed this season, so any upward movement in the area is notable. His K rate is now at 5.97 K/9 and he figures to at least work it up to 7.00 K/9 eventually, as he is just too good of a pitcher to not be striking out guys.
Yasmani Grandal – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Grandal returned from the DL in grand fashion with a 3-run bomb off Wacha. He’ll now resume his way to a breakout season.
Carlos Frias – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K with the W. Well this was quite the opposite from when the Padres bombed up for 10 runs in his last start. His long term outlook for the season still remains a bit cloudy as he figures to be bumped from the rotation at some point I would believe.
Cameron Maybin – 2 for 5, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB. The toolsy Maybin continues to be productive for the Braves slotting in the 2-hole. I’ve mentioned him a couple times recently as a player to pick up for his speed, but he also does offer some pop and could really be hitting his stride at age 28. Give him a try.
Juan Uribe – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB, 1 BB. Uribe homered and even stole a base on Saturday against one of his former teams, the Giants. It looks like he’s going to receive a lot of starts at third base after he was traded over to the Braves this past week, but it is difficult to give him serious fantasy consideration.
Williams Perez – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K with the W. That’s now 3 strong starts in a row for the Braves rookie. I have mentioned how he is a heavy ground ball pitcher with decent strikeout potential, so those are two qualities in a pitcher that could definitely bring fantasy value. He’s not a glamorous pick, but right now he is getting the job done in his first go round of the Majors. A flier on Perez wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Albert Pujols – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R. Three games in a row with a HR for Pujols. Maybe he doesn’t have the same ability to hit for a good AVG, but he’s still got some pop!
Charlie Morton – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K with the W. Yet another classic Morton outing with a ton of ground ball outs and not a large strikeout total. He’s now 2-0 in his return from the DL and if you can deal with not much upside in the strikeout department, Morton can be serviceable in ERA and WHIP.
Tyson Ross – 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K with the L. Ross allowed another 3 SB in this game to bring his total up to 21 SB allowed in 11 starts, which is exactly part of what I outlined about him a few weeks ago in “Are Tyson’s Punch Outs Enough?” Now that teams realize that this is a huge weakness in his game, they are not going to stop running on him and his slow delivery toward the plate, and it’s going to adversely affect him in getting into some sticky situations and allowing more hits and runs. He’s not a recommended option by me, and click on the URL in this blurb to find out more in detail.
Sean Doolittle – Doolittle finds himself back on the DL. This really comes as no surprise to me as I spoke about his return from the DL where he had an extreme struggle with his velocity in the post “What Would Doo Do?” The window for trying to trade him as I suggested is now closed, but perhaps in a few weeks the opportunity will come up again. Although, if he continues to rehab and strengthen that shoulder to show better velocity, then at that point you may want to hold on to him if you own him.