As I mentioned earlier in this article, Sean Rodriguez is my number two sleeper for the 2011 season. He has tremendous potential and I think he will show it from the get go. In fact, as the title suggests, I can see him surpassing Robinson Cano in home runs this season.
Let's begin with Rodriguez's minor league stats. Ever since 2006, when Rodriguez hit 24 home runs in A+, it has been clear that Rodriguez has the ability to hit for power. His stats continued to improve, and in 2009, Rodriguez had a monster season in AAA. In just 385 at-bats, Rodriguez hit 30 home runs. Over a 600 at-bat season, that would translate to 46.7 home runs. On top of that, Rodriguez hit .294 with nine stolen bases.
Rodriguez spent the entire 2010 season in the majors, and he showed that he his skill was not limited to the minors. In 343 at-bats, he hit nine home runs, stole 13 bases, and hit .251. If you were to translate those stats to a 600 at-bat season, his stat line would end up as follows: .251/15.7/69.9/22.7/92.7. Those numbers are respectable for any player, especially a rookie second baseman.
With more consistent playing time and a year of experience under his belt, I am projecting Sean Rodriguez to hit over 20 home runs this season.
While I think Cano is a great baseball player, I do not see him repeating his 2010 home run total. His 200 HR/FB ratio was 14.4 percent, a whole 2.7 percent higher than his career average. While some of this is due to the fact that he is becoming a better player, I think a slight decline is in Cano's future. I think 23 home runs is an accurate projection for Cano in 2011.
In conclusion, while Cano will still finish well above Rodriguez in terms of overall value, I expect Rodriguez to break out and hit around 25 home runs, beating out Cano.