5 MLB Prospects Who Could Be the Next Robinson Cano
Signed by the New York Yankees in 2001 out of the Dominican Republic, Robinson Cano, 30, has managed to improve in each season since first reaching the big leagues in 2005.
Boasting one of the sexiest swings I’ve ever seen, the left-handed hitter has been a model of offensive consistency over the last eight seasons. Overall, Cano has batted .308/.351/.503 with 718 runs, 334 doubles, 177 home runs, 715 RBI and 604/285 K/BB while playing in 1,214 games.
A four-time All-Star, Cano is coming off what was arguably a career year in 2012, as he batted .313/.379/.550 with 82 extra-base hits, 96/61 K/BB and 6.7 WAR.
A two-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, Cano’s hands are incredibly smooth and his defensive actions effortless. Even though he possesses slightly above-average range relative to the league average, Cano’s defense was responsible for saving 15 runs in 154 games in 2012.
As we now shift our focus to the minor leagues, it’s time to examine whether there are any up-and-coming prospects poised to become the next Robinson Cano. While I don’t expect anyone to match his perennial, MVP-type impact at the plate, these five players have exciting upside.
Delino DeShields, 2B, Houston Astros
2012 Stats (A-, A+): .287/.389/.428, 44 XBH (12 HR), 101 SB, 131/83 K/BB (135 G)
Overview: Son of father of same name who played 12 big league seasons; played much better in second tour of South Atlantic League in 2012; outstanding speed and can get out of the batter’s box in a hurry; undersized at 5’9” but has broad shoulders and considerable physical strength; still has a lot of swing-and-miss to his approach; on-base skills are steadily improving; plus range and good instincts, but not overly impressive defender at second base.
Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
2012 Stats (AA): .287/.348/.405, 79 R, 38 XBH (9 HR), 21 SB, 74/44 K/BB (126 G)
Overview: 2011 first-rounder has top-of-the-order, left-handed bat; mostly gap power, but is capable of double-digit bombs as a big leaguer; advanced plate discipline is apparent; both range and speed are average, but play up due to his instincts and baseball IQ; should reach major leagues at some point in 2013.
Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins
2012 Stats (Rk, A): .299/.347/.499, 52 XBH (13 HR), 74 RBI, 11 SB, 71/32 K/BB (100 G)
Overview: Left-handed hitter is advanced for his age; strong hands and wrists yield above-average bat speed; trust hands and sees ball deep; comfortable driving the ball to all fields; has surprising power with more in the tank; made transition to second base after handling center field in 2011; defense is a work-in-progress, but has athleticism and raw talent to make it work.
Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers
2012 Stats (A-): .259/.313/.400, 93 R, 37 XBH (10 HR), 19 SB, 65/25 K/BB (109 G)
Overview: 18-year-old was youngest everyday player in South Atlantic League; 5’11”, 170-pounder with slick glove and impressive range; left-handed hitter with compact swing and sneaky power; Odor possesses above-average speed and is an aggressive baserunner with top-of-the-order potential; still learning how to be efficient basestealer.
Nick Franklin, SS/2B, Seattle Mariners
2012 Stats (AA, AAA): .278/.347/.453, 52 XBH (11 HR), 12 SB, 106/48 K/BB (121 G)
Overview: Has played shortstop for a most of minor league career, but projects more as a second baseman; switch-hitter has a more consistent swing and raw power from the left side; adept to driving the gaps, especially left-handed; good hand-eye coordination and maximizes strength at the plate; poised to amass plenty of doubles and RBI in major leagues; defensive tools and speed are all average across the board.