The Seattle Mariners had another mediocre week in baseball, winning only three of their seven games. A more concerning issue on the plate this week with most Fantasy Baseball owners. Where was Robinson Cano?
Cano has been the face of consistency his entire career and his health has never been a problem. Until now. Sure, his numbers are top rankings for second basemen, but Cano has missed the last three games (and will miss his fourth straight game today) due to illness and a contusion on his throwing hand. He didn’t even play on his own bobble head night yesterday at Safeco Field.
Here is the scary part. Cano’s absence effects the entire team, all the way from the offensive line up to even the starting rotation. If you own any Mariners that hit around Cano in the lineup like Kyle Seager or Justin Smoak, you are going to struggle this week. There will be less RISP opportunities, and you can forget about seeing any good pitches without Cano’s protection.
It’s difficult to come up with fantasy projections for Cano due to his injury, but the Mariners expect his bat to return to the lineup sometime early this week. The Mariners hit the road this week and face the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Rays.
It would be nice to see Cano return to face off against his old Yankees team, so expect him to pick up his game to help the team win some ball games.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: ROBINSON CANO
.300 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 RUNS, 0 SB
Pitchers also see an impact without Cano in the lineup. Chances are, you own more Mariners pitchers in fantasy baseball than hitters. Starting pitchers like Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Roenis Elias, and even Brandon Maurer feel pressed to be perfect without any offensive support behind them. And when you press; you make mistakes.
There is, however, a fantasy resolution to players going down with injuries, and pitchers being off their game. It’s a crazy concept called ‘Spot Starting.’ I’ll be the first person to tell you to load up on offense so you don’t have to manage your hitters daily, but pitchers can be a different story.
A pitcher like Chris Young can have a great start if the opposing team favors his matchup. Young won two games for the Mariners this week, improving his record to 5-2 on the year. He is working with a lown3.27 ERA and has been a huge addition to the starting rotation.
A large percentage of fantasy owners may not own Chris Young, but spot starting him this week would have earned you two wins for your squad. Default pitching settings for fantasy leagues typically allow 1250 innings for the year, so you have the opportunity to work the free agent wire if you see a good pitching matchup for the day.
Spot starting requires a lot of maintenance, but if you’re a good fantasy owner who knows your good matchups when you see them; it can definitely pay off.
SPOT START FANTASY PROJECTION: CHRIS YOUNG (Fri @ Tampa Bay)
7 IP, 1 W, 5 K, 2.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP
The Mariners have an odd road schedule starting with a one day makeup game with the Yankees, then off to Atlanta to face the first place Braves, and finally finishing the week in Tampa bay with the struggling last place Rays.
Be smart with your spot starting this week and make sure your matchups favor the pitcher. If you play your cards right, you can survive this road trip with a few fantasy wins.