Marlins’ third baseman Jorge Cantu is tearing it up this year and is a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.
Cantu’s at .285-14-41 which rivals his stats when he became a fantasy baseball darling for the Tampa Bay (then called) Devil Rays in 2005. In ’05, he hit .286 with 28 homers and set a Rays’ record with 117 RBI. That’s coming off of a 2007 season when he spent most of the year trying to “hit the bull” in Durham.
If you’re thinking it must be steroids, HGH, or an outstanding psychologist, think again. Try an off-season exercise regiment of underwater training, extreme yoga, and swinging chains. “We work on a player’s bat speed with a series of chains,” said Dennis Fay of the Texas Sports Medicine facility. “The chains are on a handle and they swing the chains to build up their bat speed.”
Cantu had a great start with the Rays, but it came to a screeching halt last year when he was sent to Durham to start the season. Cantu was recalled on April 24 then traded to the Reds on July 28. He had just 115 MLB at bats last season.
“It just caught me completely off guard,” said Cantu about the Rays sending him to AAA to start the ’07 season. Cantu admits he still has a “bitter taste” about the way the Rays treated him. “Just tell me what is going on,” said Cantu, who had no problem with the Reds who released him in December ’07.
The Marlins couldn’t be happier with Cantu’s production this season despite a team leading 14 errors (we fantasy players don’t care about stinking errors anyway). Cantu is especially productive at Dolphins Stadium where he is hitting .329 vs. .239 on the road. And, the Marlins have started Cantu at first base the past three games where he is less of a defensive liability thus allowing veteran Wes Helms some playing time at third.
It would come as no surprise if Jorge Cantu was not selected in the preseason draft of your fantasy baseball league. If he’s available, take a look. And, next season, if you hear of a player swinging chains in the off-season, he’s a bonafide fantasy baseball sleeper.