Fantasy Baseball Instant Reaction: Replacements for Robinson Cano at second base
Robinson Cano is going to miss most of the rest of the season. Who should you add to replace him?
It was bad enough when Robinson Cano just had a broken hand. Now it won't matter how long that takes to heal because he's suspended for the next 80 games.
This suspension means Cano is out for most of the remainder of the Fantasy Baseball regular season. He should return with about 40 games left, which means you should try to hold onto him in all but the most shallow leagues. It also means you need a replacement at second base. Here are five options:
Rougned Odor has been hurt for most of the year and not very good when he's been healthy, but he's easily my favorite option in shallow leagues. Odor strikes out too often and doesn't walk at all, but he has pop that can't be matched on the waiver wire. He's hit 30 home runs each of the past two years with a combined 29 stolen bases. If he's out there, go get him, regardless of format. I would expect he'll be a top-12 option from this point forward if he stays healthy.
In shallow leagues, Jose Peraza should be available and you should be interested. He doesn't give you the pop that Odor does, but he should be a solid source of batting average, steals and possibly even runs. He has been locked into the top of the order for most of of the season, hitting in front of Joey Votto. A .280 average with 85 runs and 25 steals is well within reason.
In points leagues, Peraza is a bit trickier. He doesn't walk or strike out, so those cancel out for the most part. He does get a lot of plate appearances, which certainly helps. He ranks 17th in the format so far this year, but everyone that has outscored him is at least 88 percent owned.
Starlin Castro has been nearly as good in points as Peraza, and I wouldn't be that surprised if he was better moving forward. Despite being buried in a terrible lineup, Castro ranks in the top 12 at second base in both runs and RBI. He won't help you much in power or steals, but he should provide a solid average. He is one the most likely players in baseball to be traded this summer, and that could be a good and a bad thing. It would be hard to find a worse lineup or park for him, but if he goes to a good team he could fall to the bottom third of the order. I prefer Peraza in categories leagues, but Castro will likely be a better option in points.
Jose Pirela is available in a lot more leagues than either Peraza or Castro and has more power than he's shown so far this year. In 2017 he hit 23 home runs in 545 plate appearances between Triple-A and the major leagues. So far this season he has a 35.7 percent hard contact rate but a zero percent HR/FB rate. Part of that is because his ground ball rate has been way too high (60.5 percent).
I trust that he'll start lifting the ball better as the season goes on, which would be a big deal if he holds his spot in the middle of the order. With decent plate discipline and contact skills, Pirela should be a serviceable replacement in a 12-team league with upside if he can improve his launch angle.
Josh Harrison can't help you this week because he's still on a rehab assignment, but he should be back sooner than later. When he returns, I'd expect a guy with 15/15 potential who hits around .280 at the top of the Pirates order. He's never walked much, but his walk rate has improved the past couple of years, and that coupled with a good strikeout rate should make him as viable in points leagues as he is in categories. Hitting in front of Starling Marte, Josh Bell, Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson should make him a solid source of runs as well.
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Scott White is an award-winning Fantasy baseball analyst
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