Cano enters his prime

Very quietly at age 27, Robinson Cano is starting to fulfill his promise as a big league player. Across most (prominent) offensive stats he is among the league leaders in category after category. He currently sits at #2 in MLB for Batting Average at .362 (behind Justin Morneau @ .368) #3 in the AL for Slugging at .607, 4th in OPS at 1.012, 6th in RBIs, #1 in Hits, #3 in Doubles and 5th in Runs Scored. He leads the Yankees in every major offensive category with Hits, Runs, 2B, HRs, RBIs, Total Bases, BA, OBP and SLG. For those who prefer advanced stats, he is 4th in the AL in wOBA. His stellar ability to make contact has shined again this year, sitting at 11th in Z-Contact% (#1 is …wait for it…Brett Gardner). He is 3rd overall in WAR at 2.6, and first among all 2B (Hudson 2.0). Through the first two months of the 2010 season, the best hitter on the Yanks hasn’t been named Jeter, Teixeira or Rodriguez, it’s been Robbie Cano.

Defensively, he hasn’t fared quite as well of yet. His UZR/150 stands at -4.7 for the 2010 season, which represents a small improvement over his career mark. For his career his rating stands at -6.9. While he’s never been the rangiest at his position, his plus arm for his position still makes him an asset.

Even the much-debated ‘Clutch’ issue with Robbie has melted away this season. He’s currently hitting .333/.391/.630 (1.020 OPS) with Runners in scoring position, which mirrors his overall production. Some have even started wondering if he should bat cleanup, and with the Yanks recent struggles with RISP it’s something you can’t dismiss entirely. But those things happen just about every year to most teams (look at the Phillies lately) and it’s just part of the ebb and flow of a long season. Robbie profiles better as a #5 hitter because of his ability to make contact and propensity to swing the bat. But it’s time to adjust the much-overused tag attached to Robbie of “He’ll win a batting title someday” and replace it with “One of the best Second Basemen in Baseball”.

0 thoughts on “Cano enters his prime

  1. morningstar

    Its fine and well to cite UZR, but its a DUMB statistic if you have wtached Cano at second where he ranges to his right about as good as any player since Alomar.

  2. Moshe Mandel

    +/- actually has Cano tied with Utley as the best defensive second baseman in baseball. As I said on Twitter, whenever these two stats diverge, +/- is more in line with my observations. This is one illustration.

    • AndrewYF

      Where can we see these live +/- stats?

      • Moshe Mandel

        Fangraphs now carries them. In the same place where UZR is listed on player pages, there is a column called DRS. That is the oft-discussed +/- statistic.

        • AndrewYF

          Isn’t the +/- statistic *plays* above average, while the DRS is *runs* saved above average?

          Still useful, though. I don’t trust UZR after the recent debacle.

          • Moshe Mandel

            I asked the FG people, ans was told +/- and DRS are the same. Next to DRS is rPM, and that is plays above average.

    • smurfy

      I hope they keep working to improve defensive stats, as I’m all in favor of a great game, over a big show. Everyone was surprised to see him snag that hard bouncer up the middle yesterday, due to its speed, likely a difficult factor to quantify and incorporate to judge range accurately.

      Robbie deserves points for the strength and accuracy of his throws, as well as his superb timing as DP pivotman.

    • Amol

      Alternately, you could use RZR/OOZ as the tiebreaker stat, which sees Cano as the best fielding second baseman in baseball.