2018 Projection: Will Robinson Cano Return to Elite Levels?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that there was a time that Robinson Cano was one of the elite second baseman in the game, and after rebounding to hit 39 HR in 2016 the hope was that he still belonged in that class.  It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that he fell short in 2017, posting the following line:

592 At Bats
.280 Batting Average (166 Hits)
23 Home Runs
97 RBI
79 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.338 On Base Percentage
.453 Slugging Percentage
.294 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously the average was solid and he was able to drive in runs, but he’ll be 35-years old at the start of the 2018 season.  Can we really expect significant production?  Can his power rebound once again?

Rebound may not be the right word, as 2016 always looked like an aberration given his production since signing with Seattle:

  • 2014 – 14 HR
  • 2015 – 21 HR
  • 2016 – 39 HR
  • 2017 – 23 HR

Of course he also continued to be more of a groundball hitter, with a 50.0% mark in ’17 (he’s been at 50% or greater in three of the past four seasons).  Considering the home ballpark and his overall career 14.5% HR/FB, expecting the power to remain in this type of level should be reasonable.

The real question should be if he can continue posting a viable average, as well as driving in 90+ runs.  Over the past two seasons he’s posted line drive rates below 20% (18.0% and 19.4%), though a strong second half with a 24.5% line drive rate does give hope.  He hit .286 after the All-Star Break, due to a .322 BABIP, and seeing him continue to hit .280+ (.305 career hitter) is extremely reasonable.

With that type of average, moderate power and a strong lineup around him the RBI should also be there to an extent.  He was extremely lucky with men on base (.350 BABIP, leading to a .343 batting average), and that means a bit of a regression is likely in order.  Could he pick up 90 RBI?  That’s a realistic number, but pushing 100 is unlikely.

It all comes together for the following projection:

.288 (180-625), 24 HR, 90 RBI, 80 R, 0 SB, .305 BABIP, .340 OBP, .464 SLG

That’s a usable line, obviously, but he’s hardly among the elite in the game at this point.  Consider him more of a low-end second base option, given the relative lack of upside.  With someone more likely to pay for the name, as opposed to the potential production, be cautious.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

One comment

  1. Alex says:

    I can’t believe he is going to be 35 soon. Quite the sustaining career, but you are right, the name value will keep him high up on draft lists for sure.

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