Robinson Cano (Reuters photo)
Random, Non-Organized Thoughts on Robinson Cano
I have been procrastinating on this one for some time, since I'm not really sure WHAT I think about him. Cano's minor league track record is decent, but he's never been truly outstanding. His performance in the majors this year (.297/.320/.458) is actually better than most of his numbers in the minors. His career marks entering '05 were .273/.327/.415. Given his age (23 this month), I think his improvement is probably legitimate, particularly in the power department. He hit 42 doubles this year between Columbus and New York; his previous high was 29. Sustainable power spikes often show up in the doubles department first. On the other hand, he hits the ball on the ground a lot and is vulnerable to the double play. This may inhibit his power production down the road.
I'm not enamored of Cano's low walk rate. He drew just 16 free passes for the Yanks. But his strikeout rate is not excessive, with 68 whiffs in 522 at-bats, and I think he can improve his strike zone judgment gradually.
I don't have a good feel for Cano's defense, and would appreciate observations and opinions from those who do.
As for what the future holds, to be honest I find it difficult to project. I think there is a lot of potential variation with this one. Cano could develop his power much further and end up as a 20+ homer guy. Or he could concentrate on batting average and OBP with less emphasis on power. Given a normal growth curve, he should certainly be able to hold his job and improve on where he is now. I also think it possible that he may regress to some extent in 2006, perhaps a batting average and OBP decline some 20-30 points as the pitchers adjust.
My guess, not projection, is that Cano will end up with career major league numbers something like .280/.330/.440, with individual yearly variations up to 20-30 points either side of those margins.