The Week That Was: “Robbie Cano Does Know”
Robbie Cano hitting like Robbie Cano again highlights this week’s Week That Was.
Robinson Cano: Robinson Cano paid dividends Saturday night by lacing 3 hits including a 3 run dinger in a win over Oakland. Has Robbie been the Robbie of his Yankee days? No. Are any loyal readers of the Week That Was or loyal listeners to Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio surprised? No. The Rules of Engagement clearly say that big money free agents in new homes under-produce in the early going of their new contract as they press to justify the money and adjust to a new home, new teammates, etc. If you paid full value for Robbie Cano and his 7 HR in 350 AB well, that was not SMART. However, there is a buying opportunity here. Robbie has adjusted to his new home and has looked like the real Robbie of late. In the last two weeks, Robbie has a ridiculous 1,120 OPS including 3 HR, 13 RBI and a .411 batting average. Moral of the story – if there is a Robbie owner in your league who is still upset about the lack of power, now is the time to fleece him/her. If you are about to draft in daily or monthly leagues, look at Robbie carefully as the value may still be understated.
Tommy Milone: In a piece of news reported right here on this site that you should file away if you play in an AL-only or deep league, the A’s are keeping Tommy Milone stretched out as a starter is in the minors and not readying him for a major league relief role. Why is this important you ask? Good question. Well, first, Jessie Chavez has already thrown 114 innings this year. While Chavez has been effective, the odds of him throwing 200 good innings this year after just 87 last year and 130 in 2012 (combined among all levels) is small indeed. Milone, on the other hand has a track record of full season starting pitching success and has been really good this year, putting up a 3.35 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Do not be surprised to see Milone reclaim his starting rotation slot during the dog days of August.
Joe Kelly: The good news is that Joe Kelly is off the DL. The bad news is that the Cards rushed him one start too early and he was tattooed, giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks over just three innings against the Brewers on Friday. Yes, this was an ugly start but it was not surprising. With the All-Star break to strengthen up, Kelly should be fine for the second half. Why do I say this? Well, the Cards are great with pitchers. Second, he throws gas, routinely averaging close to 95 MPH on his fastball. Third, this year’s .357 BABIP says his luck will improve. Fourth, albeit in a small sample size, Joe is throwing far more grounders in the majors than ever before. This is a good investment opportunity that will not stay on the shelves for long.
Nick Swisher: Nick Swisher had a nice night Friday, going 2-4 with a dinger, two RBI and two runs scored against the White Sox. There is no question that 2014 has been a failure for Swish so far. However, there have been signs of life recently that you cannot ignore. In his last 29 AB, Swish has 3 HR, 7 RBI and a much more palatable .276 average. Swish has hit at least 22 HR in 9 straight years. Do not be surprised if he reaches or exceeds that number again this year. If he does, it will be a big second half. I believe it will happen. The price is low now. Act now.
Stephen Vogt: Stephen Vogt continued his hot hitting, going 2-3 with a dinger in Friday's loss to Seattle. Let me ask you a question. How many catcher eligible players play all over the field, are hitting .371 for the year and have posted a 1,364 OPS over the last week? Uh, none. Vogt is the hottest fantasy commodity to whom no one is paying attention. Now readers of this column are or at least they should be.
Chris Coghlan: Chris Coghlan continued to hit, going 2-3 with a double, walk, RBI, run scored, and a stolen base on Friday. A couple of important points here: First, other than maybe Arismendy Alcantara, which OF eligible Cub is guaranteed playing time? Second, Coghlan was a rookie of the year not that long ago. Third, Coghlan is on fire – hitting .380 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 12 runs in the last two weeks with an OPS well over 1,000. NL-only players should pay attention for sure and mixed leaguers should put Coghlan on their radars.
Jesse Hahn: Last week we wrote “Jesse Hahn looked good again Thursday, giving up no earned runs while striking out seven in a win over the Mariners. After posting a 2.11 ERA in AA, Hahn has continued his success in the bigs with a 2.16 ERA and 19K in 17 Inn. His FIP and BABIP say a correction is coming but not a giant one. Given that he pitches in Petco, Hahn makes a very good addition for NL-only owners and for those in mixed leagues who can start him at home and sit him on the road. I hope you grabbed up Hahn because his price went up on Tuesday when he paid off our faith by throwing 6 innings of 4 hit ball giving up just two runs while striking out 8 and walking just one. Nice!” Well, at the risk of being annoying, shame on you if you did not listen yet. This week all Hahn did was go out and strike out 9 while giving up no runs and 3 hits in 5 innings to beat the Reds. That means that the Padre rooking now has a 4-1 record with 36K in 27.6 innings and sweet ratios (1.95 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP). Convinced yet?” Well, two more starts are in the books with 13 innings, 11K an ERA in the low 2’s and a WHIP around his year-long 1.05. This guy is for real. I will keep saying it until people listen.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page. Schultz says: “While The Week That Was has long devoted its attention to fantasy baseball, no bigger story took place this week than LeBron James announcing that he's returning to Cleveland. In the last four years, I have not called "The King" by his real name, finding it easier to add Le to whatever expletive fit the situation. Cleveland's anger over James deciding to take his talents to South Beach in 2010 has always been misread: the anger wasn't over him leaving, it was over the manner in which he left. In the excitement over his return, everyone seems to be forgetting how callously he departed. Amongst the many virtues possessed by Cleveland sports fans - loyalty, perseverance, patience etc. - for everyone except Earnest Byner, forgiveness falls low on the spectrum.
James' letter to the people of Cleveland on si.com telling them he's coming home went a long way towards repairing a seemingly unbridgeable gap. Noticeably missing though was an apology to the fans he hurt four years - an apology to me. While it’s clear that James feels sorry that everyone was mad at him, he will only obliquely refer to "mistakes." However, I think James did finally acknowledge the main reason for his mishandling of The Decision: he did not understand what he meant to Northeast Ohio. It may have taken him leaving to understand how much he was loved. I am impressed that after enduring four years of nearly unadulterated hate from his former home, James' heart wasn't hardened. Not only did he care enough to figure out why people reacted with such anger, he cared enough to try and mend the rift.
Many will say that James' decision to return home is apology enough and they may be right. Given the last four years, the return of the prodigal king is a story that transcends sports. Lost in the general euphoria though is the fact that had James never carried out his ludicrous Decision, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. It's also possible that he would have never returned. I am not one of the Cleveland fans with short memories. Nonetheless, I am excited to explore my capacity for forgiveness.”
Response: Schultz has been a loyal contributor to Week That Was for a long time. We all owed him and his Cleveland-fandom an opportunity to say his piece. I for one will still root for Melo and the Knicks – but that is another story.