Chris Berman was so awesome back in the day. The entertaining style and passion that he exuded made watching highlights so much more enjoyable. “Rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin…..tick, tick tick, tick, tick tick….he could go all….the…way,” were staples for football. For baseball? Outside of the bevy of nicknames he coined for players, he’s best known for “back, back, back, back….gone!” for every home run hit. Now, it was cool for the first hundred times, but after the 10,000th one, I wanted to cut off my ears. Home Run Derby? Where I had to listen to it every few seconds on repeat for over an hour? I’d rather listen to my kids whine and cry in one ear, while the other would have a track of fingernails scratching a blackboard. In a nutshell, I wish it was back, back, back, back….gone for real. Now, it took me a long time to get over back to school sales and Baby Got Back, but I’m older and more mature now, so I’m open to things coming back. Which is a good thing because there are two players that will be coming back to baseball after being gone for a long time and could be worth your time.
Robinson Cano (36.8% owned – increase of 14.6%) was suspended 80 games back in May for testing positive for a banned substance. Now, he won’t be back for another three weeks, but owners are starting to scoop him up now. If you have the bench spot, he’s a no-brainer pick up, but is he worth it for shallow leagues? PEDs or not, Cano has always been a good hitter and exhibited excellent control of the strike zone. The strikeout rate has been over 15% only once in his 14-year career. He’s never had a double-digit swinging strike rate and has a career 93.4% contact rate in the strike zone. He also has a career .304 batting average. Power numbers and physical recovery are where things get dicey because there’s just no way to know. All one can look at is the numbers. He’s had 5 years of less than 20 homers, 6 years of homers in the 20s, and 2 seasons with over 30. He’s played at least 150 games for 11 straight seasons, with 6 of those logging at least 160 games. The two most recent examples that I can think of when prominent hitters got suspended during the season for PEDs were Starling Marte in 2017 and Ryan Braun back in 2013. Braun’s suspension caused him to miss the rest of the season, so the situation is different than Cano’s. With that said, the following year, Braun had the lowest batting average of his career up to that point. He has also failed to play over 140 games in a season for four seasons after the suspension, after playing at least 150 games in 5 straight seasons before the suspension. Marte’s case is more similar to Cano’s, as he got suspended a few weeks into the season and returned in mid-July. He struggled out of the gate, which is to be expected, but slowly got better as the season progressed and looked to be the Marte of old by season’s end. So, we are looking at an end-of-August return for Cano, which would leave a little over a month’s worth of production. There’s definitely a chance he’s en fuego out of the gate, but I have serious reservations of that happening. Like with Marte, it’s going to take time for Cano to get his timing down. It took around a month for Marte. The timing just doesn’t fit well for Cano. TRASH
Roberto Osuna (31.3% owned – increase of 6.5%) is eligible to return August 5th after being suspended 75 games for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy. SAGNOF right? Not so fast. Even before the suspension, Osuna saved 9 games, but the K/9 was only 7.63 and swinging strike rate was a career-low 11.7%. While the ERA was 2.93, the xFIP was 3.43. Granted, that’s from a sample size of 15.1 innings, so those numbers could regress back to career norms. All the projection systems have him down for an over 10 K/9. Here’s my issue, though. There are rumors that the Blue Jays are shopping Osuna ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t sound like they have plans to slot him right back into the closer’s role. If he gets traded, he will likely just be a setup guy if anything. Saves ain’t got no face, but there have to be saves in the equation for us to even care. TRASH