Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Are The Days Of Viability Behind Robinson Cano?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A PED suspension certainly played a role in the disappointing 2018 campaign for Robinson Cano and raises serious questions in terms of his upside moving forward.  Throw in that he will play the year at 36-years old and it’s fair to wonder if he will be able to produce at the type of levels we’ve become accustomed in 2019.  All that said, when Cano was on the field last year he was able to produce:

310 At Bats
.303 Batting Average (94 Hits)
10 Home Runs
50 RBI
44 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.374 On Base Percentage
.471 Slugging Percentage
.329 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Should we expect similar production heading into 2019?  Let’s take a look.

 

Power
Obviously this is going to be the biggest question but the fact is he actually produced better numbers upon his return (HR/FB):

  • First Half – 10.0%
  • Second Half – 15.8%

That’s promising, with the second half mark falling in line with what he did in 2017 (14.7%).  Is he going to return to the days of being a 35+ HR slugger? It’s unlikely, but a 23-26 HR threat is a fair assumption.

 

Average
Cano continues to show the ability to make consistent contact, with a 13.5% strikeout rate.  Considering his 12.4% career mark its fair to call it a reasonable and repeatable  number.  His bat doesn’t appear to be slowing down, with a 5.93% Whiff% against Hard pitches, further supporting his case.

He also showed his ability to use the entire field (28.3% Oppo%) and hit the ball Hard (41.5% Hard%), both of which would support maintaining an elevated BABIP.  Of course he has little speed and does put the ball on the ground a fair amount (47.9% in 2018), which should cap him to last year’s mark.  Still with enough power he should continue to hit .280+.

 

Conclusion
If you want to believe Cano is going to be a fantasy stud you are going to be  disappointed.  However if you view him as having the ability to hit for a solid average (with room for a little bit more) to go along with some power and RBI, while not killing you in runs scored (think 85+ RBI and 75+ R potential) there’s going to be value.  That will be especially true if people start to avoid him due too the suspension/age concerns, so be prepared to cash in if his draft day cost slips.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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