Monday, August 23, 2010

Cano Makes it Hard to Miss A-Rod

The news over the weekend that Alex Rodriguez was going on the DL would worry a number of teams, but for the Yankees it seemed almost like a “Hhhm? What? Oh yeah, ok.” sort of reaction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the team would much rather have their slugging 3rd Baseman -playing everyday, but in his absence, their 2nd baseman has picked up any slack and continues a spectacular season.

Robinson Cano has put together the type of season the Yankees have envisioned over the last couple of years. Reports of Cano’s lack of focus and maturity issues seemed to dog the young 2nd baseman and a number of people wondered if the trade of Melkey Cabrara was partly to ensure the removal of Cano’s “partner in crime” which would in tourn help him be more consistant and baseball minded.

Perhaps the absence of Cabrara has played a part, perhaps not. In any case, Cano’s numbers have lifted his stature from a solid player in the upper percentage of the league’s Second Basemen, to perhaps the best player at the position in all of Major League Baseball.

His number are sweet: .325 batting average, 25 home runs, 86 rbi, 45 walkss and 58 strike outs in 477 at-bats. Even his errors are down. He’s already tied his 2009 final number in home runs and actually has one more rbi than all of last year. His strike outs are a little above past seasons but not by a lot and his overall production is very elevated to the point that Cano will get some MVP consideration.

The Yankees are known for being a slugging team, with A-Rod and Mark Teixeria being the main names on the big bopper list and Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher being the next ones in line in a lot of fans’ minds. Posada’s age, health and decrease in production and Granderson’s weak season play a factor in a change here, but even if they were putting up numbers like in the past, I think Cano really has to be looked at as one of the most dangerous hitters on the team, perhaps only really behind Teixeria at this point.

It will be interesting to see how Cano handles the role of big bat once the playoff crunch gets here, but so far his season has given the Yankees reason to believe they have a powerhouse in the lineup for years to come.

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