New York Yankees

Robinson Cano: "The Best Hitter on the New York Yankees"

NEW YORK - APRIL 15:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees watches his second homerun of the game leave the park against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the bottom of the fifth inning on April 15, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  All Major League players joined in wearing #42 today in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 when he debuted with Brooklyn Dodgers.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IApril 16, 2010

Is Robinson Cano hot? SCALDIN'!

In last night's 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim Cano hit two home runs, had three RBI, and finished the night hitting .395.

In the first nine games Cano has four home runs and nine RBI and is a major reason the Yanks have won three straight series and sport a 6-3 record. 

From the time he was introduced at the major league level, Robinson Cano has drawn comparisons to great hitters. Former Yankee manager Joe Torre compared Cano to the great Rod Carew.

Some critics have scoffed at that. But Cano does remind one of Carew. Only possibly with more talent.

Yeah, there will be scoffers with that statement too. It will be said that no one should compare this 27-year-old player to a Hall of Fame great such as Carew. 

But when you watch Cano consistently you recognize that he is special. He has very strong hands and yet very soft hands. And he is developing more patience at the plate and more skill at taking what the pitcher gives him rather than being a "see it, hit it" kind of batter.

The first home run that Cano hit last night was an absolute laser shot into the right field stands. It seemed to take less time to travel from Cano's bat to the seats than it had to travel from Scott Kazmir's hand to the hitting zone.

Cano's second dinger traveled even further and was a no doubter from the time he made contact. But what may have impressed this viewer more than the home run was what Cano did when he hit the ball.

In the past Cano has been "too cool for school" at times and might have been found standing at the plate admiring his work as the ball bounded off the wall and was retrieved by an outfielder who held Cano to a single.

But last night, instead of waiting to determine whether he had hit it out, which did not really to seem to be in doubt, Cano busted it from the batter's box with his first step. He was tearing down the first base line when the ball cleared the wall.

He has had some better influences on the Yankees, including Alex Rodriguez. Reports are that Cano now gets to the park much earlier and joins Rodriguez in his strenuous per-game work.

He also has a new example in Curtis Granderson.

In the game last evening, Granderson hit two triples. There are various reasons Granderson hits a lot of triples. He has good alley power and he has great speed. But perhaps the key reason is he runs hard from contact.

Granderson's example is a good one for Cano to emulate and last night he did. If this attitude and hustle continues, there are no limits to what Cano can do.

In today's New York Post, columnist Kevin Kernan made bold predictions that Cano would be the American League MVP and win the Gold Glove this year.

Kernan also quoted one unnamed scout who said that Cano is the best hitter in the Yankee lineup.

Cano had a great year in 2009 hitting .320 and collecting 200 hits. But he was not good with runners in scoring position.

So when it was announced that Hideki Matsui was going to the Angels in the offseason and later Cano was put in the five hole Matsui had occupied last season, Yankee fans worried.

After nine games there is no reason to worry. With his extraordinarily calm demeanor, Cano is nonetheless SCALDIN' HOT right now.

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