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September 14, 2006

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson
by SG

After missing six weeks with a hamstring injury, Robinson Cano has come back with a venegance. In the 36 games since he's returned, he's hitting .361/.382/.611. Cano drove in five runs in last night's 8-4 victory over Tampa.

Let's look at some more numbers for Cano. Below is a list of all AL 2B who have 300 or more PA this season, and their offensive and defensive numbers.

So, despite missing six weeks, Cano's been the most valuable offensive 2B in the American League, and second most valuable overall. How about if we pro-rate these stats to a full season? Since you asked...

There are probably bigger error bars when pro-rating defense compared to offense, so take Aaron Hill's big defensive numbers with a grain of salt, although his career ZR at 2B is a pretty impressive .896. Anyway, the point is that Cano at age 23 is one of the better 2B in the AL. Chase Utley, Ray Durham, and Dan Uggla are probably having better seasons, but given the apparent disparity in talent between the AL and NL, I'm not sure how much of a direct comparison we can do.

Not bad for a guy who inspired the following scouting report in February 2005.

I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day. That he still gets talked up as some kind of top prospect (not pointing at John here, by the way) amazes me.

I've seen Cano play a lot, and I'm not even sure he'd be a productive Triple-A player. Let's start with his defense; it's brutal. He has terrible footwork and simply lacks any kind of instincts around the bag. There's no way you want him playing up the middle. He might have the raw speed to not be awful in left field, but that's about as kind as I can be regarding his glovework.

Offensively, he's a fastball hitter. He sits dead red on every pitch and waits for a mistake. Any good breaking ball or offspeed pitch will have him out in front. He's mostly a gap hitter, lacking the power to drive the ball consistently over the wall. To add insult to injury, he's also a terrible baserunner.

In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee.

.280/.320/.400, eh?

By request from English Jim, here are the same numbers for the National League.

A win tonight knocks the magic number for the AL East down to six, and the Yankees will be in position to clinch against Boston over the weekend by winning three of the four scheduled games. We'll see if James Shields (6-7, 4.71) can hang with Wang (17-5, 3.60).