Robinson Cano's big night and other fantasy nuggets

Robinson Cano went deep three times Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

Robinson Cano erupted Tuesday night, going 4-for-4 with three homers and five RBI. He now has more home runs (five) in 10 games since the All-Star break than he had in 65 games beforehand (four). He entered Tuesday’s game as barely a top-75 option at 2B in Yahoo leagues despite hitting third most of the year, as the 36 year old still owns career-worsts in batting average (.254), OBP (.298) and K% (17.7) even after the three-homer outburst, and he came in with a negative WAR.

Cano’s exit velocity (90.3 mph) isn’t far off his career mark (90.8), but while that suggests he’s maybe been unlucky so far in 2019, his .261 expected batting average states otherwise, and hitting in Citi Field doesn’t help either. Tuesday’s big game shows Cano isn’t totally finished at the plate, and it certainly helps his case that he’s currently batting cleanup, but there’s not much fantasy upside at this point of his career, as his modest power also comes with just one steal since 2015 (and zero attempts since 2017). Still, it was nice to see Cano turn back the clock if only for one night, as the three-homer game was the first of his career.

QUICK HITS

Alex Dickerson, San Francisco Giants

He homered again Tuesday and somehow sports a .351/.406/.691 line over 78 at-bats with the Giants this season. He’s obviously playing over his head (like many of his teammates right now), but Dickerson entered with a 50.7 Hard Hit%, a .559 expected slugging and a .397 xwOBA that all rank top-15 in MLB, so there’s legitimate intrigue here for San Francisco’s new cleanup hitter (even if Oracle Park is as tough as it gets on lefties). Dickerson is still available in more than 85% of Yahoo leagues.

Travis d’Arnaud, Tampa Bay Rays

He swatted his second homer in three games from the leadoff spot (this time off Chris Sale), as the former Mets prospect has been on fire since the All-Star break. Given the challenging aspect of filling the catcher’s spot, d’Arnaud could easily be considered a top-10 option down the stretch, and he’s still available in 60% of leagues.

Wade Miley, Houston Astros

He took a shutout into the ninth Tuesday but had to settle for a no-decision after the A’s tied it up. Still, Miley now sports a ridiculous 1.92 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP at home this season (compared to a 4.27 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP on the road), so he’s an ideal spot starter if possible. Miley should also receive plenty of run support, as Houston leads major league baseball with a 132 wRC+ over the last month.

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Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta Braves

He turned in his best start of the year Tuesday, striking out 12 batters over six innings against the Royals. Danny Duffy fanned 11 hitters himself, so the strike zone was pitcher-friendly, but it’s nice to see Keuchel miss some bats. His slow start could be expected with him signing so late in the season, and his 58.0 GB% would rank second among starters if he qualified. It’s worth noting the Braves currently contribute poor defense and a tough hitter’s park (with a struggling offense), so while in first place by a comfortable margin, Atlanta actually isn’t the best environment for pitching (although at least Keuchel gets to face pitchers instead of the DH for the first time in his career). Still, he’s throwing well now and looks like he’s going to be a fantasy asset down the stretch.

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

He had posted a 2.67 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP with a 5.9:1 K:BB ratio since the end of May, so it made sense Kelly was a popular add ahead of his home start against the Orioles on Tuesday, when he was bombed for seven earned runs over just 2.1 innings. Still, it came with four strikeouts and no walks while all three of his fly balls left the yard, and he was quite impressive for that near two-month stretch before Tuesday’s hiccup (and was successful in the hitter-friendly KBO before joining Arizona this season), so he’s a pitcher to hold. Kelly’s next start is a favorable one in Miami.

Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers

He homered twice and now has four long balls over his last five contests, albeit likely on many fantasy benches or waiver wires given his horrific performance at the plate this season. Odor somehow sports a .592 OPS at home this year in one of the best hitting environments in all of baseball, as it tends to matter less where you’re playing when striking out 33% of the time (which is in the bottom 2% of the league). Moreover, since being an ugly 19-for-37 on SB attempts since last season, he hasn’t attempted to swipe a bag in nearly a month. The Rangers entered with the worst offense (73 wRC+) in MLB over the past 30 days, and Odor sports an ugly 27:1 K:BB ratio in July. What a disappointment, but potential remains for the 25 year old.

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