Robinson Cano (OF – Yankees)
A bounce-back season was predicted from Cano in ’08. This projection was largely based on an unlucky BABIP of .286 in ’08, but we have seen more than just regression to the mean from Cano in ’09. Cano has actually grown as a hitter this season. His EYE has improved from a career mark of .39 to .65 this year. This improvement is mostly due to a superior contact rate of 91.8%. Additionally, Cano has seen his HR rate jump from a 2.8% career mark to 4.2% this season, which is not surprising given that he is 26 years old. And finally, the icing on top of the cake is that he is a notorious 2nd half player (884 2nd half OPS vs. .748 1st half). I expect Cano to have a 2nd half at least as good as his 1st half, and he should finish with career highs across the board in ’09.
Brad Bergesen (SP – Orioles)
Brad Bergesen was quite good again on Friday night as he allowed just 1 ER through 6 IP. As is typical of a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher, Bergesen received no love coming up through the minors. Now in the majors, he is quickly reminding fantasy owners how useful and underrated a low BB rate (1.97 BB/9) and high GB rate (53.8%) can be. With 83 innings now under his belt this season, it is becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss Bergesen’s solid season with some of the classic time-tested rhetoric. The always popular – hitters trying to adjust to a new pitcher is the one that immediately comes to mind. Bergesen is not going to strike many people out (4.06 K/9), which severely limits his fantasy upside, but a 4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP is looking very much possible. He is just the type of underrated SP that fits in nicely in the back of a fantasy rotation and will not drag down an owner’s season-long rotisserie numbers.
Koji Uehara (SP – Orioles)
Koji Uehara is reportedly very doubtful to make his next scheduled start on Sunday due to an elbow issue. The injury is not thought to be serious and should recover with minimal time-off. Uehara has greatly impressed me in his first major league season, and the fact that he is owned in just 4% of Yahoo leagues is just baffling to me. The key to Uehara’s success is very simple – he pounds the strike zone early and often. His first pitch strike percentage is currently 4th in the league at 68.1%, which is behind the likes of Halladay, Haren, and Slowey (pretty good company). Uehara’s numbers (6.48 K/9, 1.62 BB/9, 52.6% FB) are actually looking very similar to Slowey’s thus far (7.12 K/9, 1.49 BB/9, 46.9% FB), who happens to be owned in 82% of Yahoo leagues. I see Uehara as a slightly poor-man’s Slowey, as his hatred of allowing walks combined with his high FB rate will amount to an ERA that is higher relative to his WHIP.
Ricky Romero (SP – Blue Jays)
Ricky Romero dominated the Phillies on Friday night by tossing 7 innings while allowing just 2 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 7 K. And just for good measure he recorded 11 GB outs to just 3 FB outs. Romero is rolling right now – in his last five starts he has a 2.38 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 7.41 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, and 49 GB outs to 22 FB outs. Although Romero is a former 1st round pick, I remain skeptical based on the fact that he has not shown these dominating peripherals in the minors. In 282 innings at Double-A, he had a very uninspiring 6.5 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. Romero is currently showcasing the ultimate combination for a pitcher right now – high strike outs, no walks, and lots of ground balls; but, I do not see it lasting all season long.
Adam Jones (OF – Orioles)
Adam Jones snapped out of a 0 for 12 slump on Friday by going 3 for 5 with a double and a triple. The improved power from Jones looks to be authentic (11% extra base hit rate vs. 7.8% last year), but I am still very skeptical that he can maintain a .300 BA over the course of a season. Jones is currently batting .307, but that has been aided by a .345 BABIP that is not supported by a 19.8% LD rate. Also, Jones has seen his contact rate dip from 76.9% in ’08 (.270 BA) to 73.8% this year. Finally, his current infield fly ball rate (1.6%) is one of the bigger aberrations that I have ever witnessed and is certain to rise significantly, which will cause his BA to dip even further. When considering the improved power and decreased contact rate, I think we are looking at Jones as a .270 hitter once again in ’09.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here. Not a member? Join today.