We have all known that Cano is among the elite second baseman for some time, but last season he put himself in a class by himself. Just look at the numbers he posted during his monster campaign:
627 At Bats
.313 Batting Average (196 Hits)
33 Home Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.379 On Base Percentage
.550 Slugging Percentage
The one “knock” people have on Cano is that he doesn’t steal bases. It’s valid, but when you are this much better then the field does it matter? The question is if Cano can continue posting numbers even remotely close to these. The answer may actually surprise you…
The first thing that needs to be said about Cano is that he plays virtually every day. Over the past six years he has appeared in 160, 159, 161, 160, 159 and 161 games. In this day and age that’s unheard of. Could the Yankees hold him out a few more games to try and keep him fresh (especially after his dismal postseason)? It’s definitely possible, though that has little effect on his potential value.
What we also know is that he is a .300 hitter. Cano has hit over .300 for four straight seasons and six of the past seven. In three of the past four years he has been at .313 or better. Considering he has done it with a career BABIP of .322, there is no reason to think anything is going to change.
The problem is, that’s where the certainties end. While he has scored over 100 runs each of the past four seasons, is it really a given in 2013? The Yankees lineup should still be pretty good, but they are not what they used to be. Obviously getting on base the way he does will help, and we should expect at least 90-95 hitting in the middle of the order, but we can’t pencil him in for 100+.
The RBI could be questionable as well, though he has been at or above 94 for three straight years. He will still have Ichiro Suzuki and Derek Jeter (as well as Brett Gardner) looking to set the table. Even at their age, they are going to get on base and, given Cano’s average, we have to like him again for 90-95 with 100+ a real possibility.
So far there is nothing that really concerns us considering we are looking at .300/90/90 as a floor. However, when we get to the power things get a little murkier.
Cano set a career high with 33 HR last season. Obviously his fly ball rate (25.8%) and HR/FB (24.1%) would scream for a regression. That said, what you would be ignoring is that he posted a career best 25.6% line drive rate, so it’s not like he was simply beating the ball into the ground.
Also his career fly ball rate is 31.2%, so it is safe to expect that the number will rise (and the line drives will fall). Also, who is to say that all his home runs came on what was classified as a “fly ball”. Is it impossible to hit line drives out of the ballpark?
Do I expect Cano to match last year’s home run total? No, I don’t, but I also can’t simply classify it as impossible by looking at a number or two in a vacuum. Cano hit 29 and 28 HR the prior two seasons, so it’s not like he jumped from 15 with some unsustainable numbers. He has been in this same realm for three years running, that’s not something that should be discredited.
You want to say he falls to 26 HR? You are still looking at a .300/26/90/90 option, at worst, with 30/100/100 or better very real. Putting up those numbers at a position that is fairly shallow in 2013 gives fantasy owners a clear advantage. Even a “regressed” Cano would be a first round candidate, so there’s no reason to shy away.
What are your thoughts of Cano? Is he a first round talent? Why or why not?
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Make sure to check out our 2013 rankings (all of which will be updated in the next few weeks):
- Catchers (updated 02/18/13)
- First Basemen (updated 01/15/13)
- Second Basemen (updated 01/22/13)
- Shortstops (updated 01/24/13)
- Third Basemen (updated 01/29/13)
- Outfielders 1-20 (updated 02/06/13) | 21-40 (updated 02/07/13)
- Starting Pitchers 1-20 (updated 02/12/13) | 21-40 (updated 02/14/13)
- Relief Pitchers (updated 01/31/13)