New York Yankees: 5 Reasons Robinson Cano Runs the Bronx in 2012
The New York Yankees are entering the season as a favorite to win not only the AL East, but as a contender for the World Series.
Robinson Cano plays a vital role in those plans.
With so many stars on the Yankees roster such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, it is difficult to see who is the team's best player.
Cano has lined himself up to take the throne and spotlight from the others this year.
Here are five reasons why.
No. 5: Stardom at His Position
When you ask the experts about the top players at each position, Robinson Cano is always near or at the top of the list for second basemen.
Last season, Cano was arguably the most well-rounded second baseman in baseball.
Cano ranked second in average (.302), first in doubles (46), second in runs (102), tied for third in triples (7), third in home runs (28), first in RBI (118), fifth in OBP (.349), first in slugging (.533) and first in OPS (882).
Cano also led all second basemen in extra base hits with 81.
The Yankees have not had a second baseman that was near the top producers in the league in a long, long time.
Finally, Cano has put an end to that nonsense.
No. 4: He Is in His Prime
Entering this season, Robinson Cano is just 29 years old and doesn't turn 30 until the end of October.
That means he is right in the middle of his prime.
The last few seasons has seen Cano improve and take strides in different parts of his game.
Even during an "down season" last year where Cano hit only .302, his power numbers were equal to the two seasons prior.
In 2009, Cano hit .320 with 48 doubles, two triples, 25 home runs and 85 RBI.
The next year in 2010, Cano hit .319 with 41 doubles, three triples, 29 home runs and 109 RBI.
Last season, Cano hit .302 with 46 doubles, seven triples, 28 home runs and 118 RBI.
With Cano in his prime, it is exciting to see the improvements he will make this season.
No. 3: He Is the New Face of the Franchise
With Derek Jeter not getting any younger, the organization will be forced to recognize his diminishing abilities eventually. After he retires from the game, the New York Yankees will be looking to find someone to fill his void as the main go-to guy for the organization.
Robinson Cano is ready to be the face of the Yankees now.
Cano has the demeanor and maturity to handle that kind of responsibility. He keeps his hands clean and just plays the game of baseball how it is supposed to be played.
He doesn't waste time with off-field distractions and is a great presence in the club house.
Not to mention...
No. 2: He Can Fill the Void
One of the great things about Robinson Cano is how versatile he is in the lineup.
Cano is able to bat almost anywhere. Last season, Cano spent time batting fifth, fourth and third. He was cleanup when Alex Rodriguez was injured and filled in nicely.
In 165 at-bats in the cleanup slot, Cano hit .315 with seven home runs and 36 RBI.
He spent most of his season at No. 5 in the lineup, where he hit .298 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI.
His play last season earned him a promotion to the No. 3 slot in the lineup, which is typically reserved for the team's best hitter.
He has reserved the No. 3 spot in the lineup for this season already according to Peter Kerasotis of the New York Times.
No. 1: He Is the Yankees' Best Player
Time to play a little blind resume.
Here are the average stats of four New York Yankees over the last three seasons.
Player A: .277 BA, 73 R, 25 HR, 96 RBI
Player B: .266 BA, 102 R, 37 HR, 114 RBI
Player C: .314 BA, 103 R, 27 HR, 104 RBI
Player D: .253 BA, 101 R, 32 HR, 86 RBI
Can you take a guess as to who each player is?
Player A is Alex Rodriguez. B is Mark Teixeira. Player C is Robinson Cano. Player D is Curtis Granderson.
I would much prefer to have the more well-rounded stats of Cano over the last three seasons than the higher power numbers of Tex or Granderson.