Lately, I find myself wondering “Who will Robinson Cano be like when his playing career is said and done?” I’m more than sure that he’s never going to be a Joe Morgan or Lou Whitaker type. But, will Cano be like a Delino DeShields or Jorge Orta in the end? Or, will it be someone else, say, like an Adam Kennedy?
I thought the best thing to do here, for a clue, was to look what we know – meaning Cano’s lone big league season (2005) played when he was 22. And, take those relative batting results and see what others did the same as Cano when they were that age. To that end, I used my handy-dandy Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia and started running some sorts. These are three that struck my eye:
There are many names on these lists – including some Hall of Famers. But, to me, the names that resonate the most with what we’ve seen so far from Cano are: Benito Santiago, Claudell Washington, and Garry Templeton.
In the end, I can see Robinson Cano being this type of batter – the one who the Sabermetric crowd hates; but, the kind who will make 3 or 4 All-Star teams in reality because of the position that he plays and some of the numbers that he puts up in the stat categories which have been on bubblegum cards for the last 100 years.
So, the next question for many is probably “Should the Yankees keep Cano or trade him now while his value is very high?”
Personally, I would “Roberto Kelly” him. Let him stay here for a year or two. You know that he can handle New York and the post-season spotlight. (That’s good.) Maybe he starts to do more things at the plate – and then you keep him. But, if he stays the way he is – productive to some on the surface but also not giving signals underneath of potential improvement – then you trade him, say, around 2007 or 2008 (and hopefully get a Paul O’Neill type in return).