Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 27 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training, and 2 we believe should be on the active roster but won't for one reason or another. We will then submit our report to George Mitchell so he can further investigate our claims.
Second Baseman Robinson Cano
Despite his getting low balled by the Yankees, Robinson Cano stands to enter the 2008 season as one of the top offensive second baseman in the league. Last season he batted .306 with 19 homeruns and 97 RBI’s. His average was a far cry from the .342 he hit in 2006 when he competed with both Mauer and Jeter for the batting title. Cano started slow last year batting .269 with 3 homeruns through the first three months of the season. If you saw him, you probably remember how ugly he looked at the plate. He had a Vlad Guerrero strike zone, with an Adam Dunn contact rate. In July, it all started to click. He batted .385 with 6 homeruns and 24 RBI’s that month. He slowed down a little in August, but not much. He ended the season hitting career highs in both homeruns (19) and RBI’s (97).
My Fearless Prediction:
For 2008, I expect Cano to do what Joe Torre always believed he was capable of doing. I can see him making a run at 30 homeruns and 100 RBI’s easy this season, and I expect his average to increase from last season to the .320 range. Apart of the reason I believe his power will increase is that he hit 19 homeruns last season after having 3 in the beginning 3 months. I do not expect he’ll run into the same issues he had with the strike zone early last season.
The main concern with Cano for me is health. He’s kind of a big guy at a slick position. I always feel that he could get hurt doing some of the acrobatics sometimes required at second base. So far it hasn’t been second base that has gotten him hurt. He tore his hamstring running the bases in 2006, and though he did not miss time for this, he did bang his knee up pretty good when he ran into the rolled up tarp on the right field line last season trying to catch a flyball. His defense was pretty solid, and I expect that to continue. He does a good job of using second base as a barrier between himself and the oncoming runner, and then uses his strong arm to plug the guy at first. If he stays healthy, we’re going to see some good baseball out of him.