Now that Derek Jeter has reached the 3,000-hit mark, I think it’s time to see how Robinson Cano's young career stacks up to Jeter’s early years.
Jeter is halfway through his 17th season (16th full season), whereas Cano is halfway into just his seventh season in the bigs.
Through his first six full seasons, Jeter had accrued 1,187 hits, just 112 more hits than Robinson Cano’s 1,075 hits through his first six seasons. (Each became full-time starters at the age of 22).
Jeter got those 1,187 hits on 4,200 plate appearances. Robinson Cano’s 1,075 hits came on 3,732 plate appearances, 468 less than Jeter.
If Cano had been up to the plate those 468 extra times to match Jeter's number of PAs (according to Cano's .288 hits per PA leading up to the current season), Cano would have gained roughly 135 extra hits.
That puts Cano’s first six seasons hit total, in effect, 23 higher than Jeter’s first six seasons.
Now, this is ignoring Jeter’s 15 games in the 1995 season in which he had 12 base knocks, still leaving Cano with 11 more hypothetical hits than his captain had.
Obviously we cannot add those hits to Cano’s stat line, just to be fair to the All-Star second baseman.
But, so far, Cano has been able to remain healthy and consistent, as well as keep any slumps short-lived.
From 1996 on, Jeter has averaged 152 games played each season. So far, Cano is averaging 149 games per season. He'll have to stay on that type of pace to even approach the milestone.
All that being said, the first six years of a player's career a Hall of Famer does not make.
However, Cano's stats do show that he is a great hitter (which we already knew), and that the kid on the right side of the Yankees infield may someday join his double-play partner in the 3,000 hit club.