Batter’s Box: Can-Opening
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
We are down to single digits left in the fantasy baseball season, and that also happens to coincide with the fact that I wore a sweater for the first time since April yesterday. You know who doesn’t need a sweater right now? Robinson Cano. Not because he isn’t cold. In fact, I’m sure Seattle is getting cooler right now, and he probably does need one. No, we’re using figurative language right now, and in that case, Cano doesn’t need a sweater because he’s red hot right now.
After last night’s 1-4, R, HR, RBI night, he’s now slashing .370/.424/.593 over the last two weeks, and last night was his 4th tate over that stretch. Last night broke his 5-game multi-hit streak, but knocking a tate definitely softened the blow. However, it’s not just these last two weeks that have been good for Cano. No sir. In fact, since returning from his roids suspension on August 14th, Cano has slashed .319/.372/.521 with a .201 ISO and .383 wOBA. He’s also maintained his solid 83% contact rate and raised his hard contact to 41% with a 25% line drive rate to boot. He’s finishing the season strong, and there’s no reason to believe the 35-year-old won’t continue to produce like a top-tier 2B the rest of the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 3-5. He came into this one raking over the last 7 days with a triple slash of .357/.400/.464, and that’s about the end of the nice things I can say about him. In September, he’s been not someone you want to own if you’re looking for the power numbers of his last year and a half. This month, he’s seen a 7% drop in line drive rate, a 13% increase in groundball rate, and he currently owns a 38 wRC+. Nope.
Renato Nunez (3B, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4. He now has hits in 8 of his last 9 games and multi-hit efforts in 3 consecutive games. Things are going to get weird here at the end of the season, so don’t fight it and roster Nunez while he’s hot. He’s definitely a guy to monitor for next year as he hit 32 tates in Nashville (AAA) last year and has mashed at every stop before that as well.
Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros) – 2-5, R, RBI. You can’t help but feel disappointed with the production this year, but you’re starting him as long as he’s playing down the stretch. He has hit just .254 this month, but OBP leaguers haven’t noticed with that .383 mark in September. There’s a chance he sits once the Astros clinch the division crown, so make sure you’re paying attention as we head into the weekend.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, RBI, BB, SB. If you look at the full season line of 100 R/16 HR/84 RBI/21 SB/.285, it looks all sunshine and butterflies. But, if you look closer, you’ll see he’s been downright poopy for a good chunk of the 2nd half especially in September. This month, he’s got a slash of .232/.270/.275. Not great, Bob! He still has just 2 HR this half.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB. Combo meal coming at you! I don’t need to say much here, so let’s take a look at his stat line for the year: 125 R/32 HR/80 RBI/29 SB/.343. Yes, please! This month hasn’t been stellar production wise with 14 R/2 HR/8 RBI/2 SB but like…it’s fine. He’s great. The fear is him getting rest as the Red Sox have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
Francisco Cervelli (C, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for him this year and his production, but the valleys are due to concussion issues. Obviously, he gets a pass for that. Coming into last night, he had practically zero production this month with a line of 1 R/0 HR/4 RBI/1 SB/.220 and a 49 wRC+. Despite the good game, I’m not trusting him at all over the last week.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, New York Yankees) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Last night’s tate means he now has 8 consecutive seasons of at least 20 HR. He didn’t get one last night, but he also has double-digit steals in 9 of his last 10 seasons as well. Amazing achievements aside, he had been hitting just .212 this month coming into last night. The pleasant surprise for his owners, though, has been the fact he’s stuck in the lineup even with the return of Aaron Judge. I’d continue to start him despite the tough Red Sox matchup later this week.
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI. This dong gives him 23 tates on the year, and he’s now raised his slash up to .308/.373/.529 on the year. He’s been excellent overall this season but particularly in September with a slash of .354/.449/.610 and a 181 wRC+. He’s once again going to finish as a top 5 option at his position.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. That’s his 21st dong of the year as he continues to make his case for the NL Rookie of the Year against Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna. He’s cooled off ever so slightly here in the 2nd half, but that’s to be expected from a literal teenager playing in the majors. Despite the slight dip, I’m starting with confidence down the stretch.
Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals) – 2-5, R, 2B, SB. Swipers gonna swipe! That makes it a Major League-leading 43 on the year, and I guess he didn’t get the memo about speed being down this season. It does beg the question though…if speed is really at THIS much of a premium, is his upside in steals alone worthy of a 1st round price tag. Ponder that over the offseason and get back to me in March.
Greg Allen (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, R, 2B, BB, SB. He’s recorded just 280 plate appearances this year, but this was his 18th swipe. Not bad for a part-time player. He’s not listed as a regular starter for the Indians as they’ve been playing Jason Kipnis in center, but if you need every, single last steal, he could be a fun streamer when he’s in the lineup.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-5, R, 2 2B. This moves his line up to 82 R/33 HR/102 RBI/26 SB, but the real story…sorry…is his 42 doubles. That’s good enough for top 10 in the MLB this season. He is hitting just .130 over his last 7 games, but nobody panic. The Rockies are playing for their postseason lives at the moment, so you know he will be out there every day.
Ketel Marte (2B/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-4, R, HR, 3B, 3 RBI. He’s been sharing playing time with the likes of Daniel Descalso as of late, and that tells you where things are at with Ketel right now. Actually, that’s not entirely fair to the guy as he’s been red-hot over his last 7 games with 3 tates and a slash of .318/.348/.864. For what it’s worth, he does have a career-high 13 tates on the season now.
Yuli Gurriel (3B/1B, Houston Astros) – 2-4, RBI. If you listened to the First Pitch podcast yesterday, you know that Gurriel is scorching right now. This serves as your second reminder in two days that he is indeed hot. Over his last two weeks, he’s been slashing .393/.415/.607, and his line drive rate has jumped from 14% in August to 27% this month. He’s rocking a 1.001 OPS in September, and he’s currently owned in just 61% of leagues.
David Freese (3B, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Dave Roberts is the king of mix-and-match lineups right now with all the Dodgers’ talent, so Freese is nearly impossible to rely on down the stretch. When he’s been out there, he’s been quite good slashing .367/.457/.667 in his last two weeks of games. He does have just 3 tates over his last 30, but he is hitting well in general.
Jonathan Lucroy (C, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI. Last night’s performance brings his line up to a stout 40 R/4 HR/51 RBI/.243 for the year, but hey…the A’s are heading to the postseason! Just like almost every other fantasy catcher this year, he’s been less than mediocre, and to prove that point, note that he’s failed to crack 91 wRC+ in a single month over the course of the season.
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, R, BB. He’s been an OBP god this year in his return to Milwaukee, and his slash for the year now sits at an excellent .312/.400/.425. His plate discipline is at the best mark of his career, and his 83.7% contact rate is his best mark since his 2010 rookie season. It’s been a very solid year in general for Cain.
Jose Martinez (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-5, R, HR, RBI. Did you know that he’s one of three Jose Martinez to play in the majors? You’re welcome for the facts. This is now a career-high 17 dongs on the year, but September has actually been one of his worst months of the season. He has just 1 dong (last night’s), a 71 wRC+ and a 32% K rate in September, so I wouldn’t be counting on him to help bring home the crown down the stretch.
Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B, BB. Injuries have limited him to just 78 games this year, but in his limited time, he’s maintained his power-speed profile with 11 HR/11 SB so far. He has just 1 tate and 3 swipes over his last two weeks, but he is slashing a robust .315/.373/.500 over that time frame. The upside and health are there for him to be a big factor over the last few days.
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 1-5, R, HR, RBI. Khris Davis check! I’ve kept you guys in the loop all year with his pursuit of 42-43 HR and a .247 AVG, so let’s check in with just 6 days left in the season. He currently has 46 HR and a .249 AVG. I BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN BRING THE AVG DOWN .002 POINTS, KHRIS! I BELIEVE! Anyways, his line is at 95 R/46 HR/120 RBI. Are you all ready to rank him as a top 10 OF the way I did this past year?