• Robinson Cano & Ellis Valentine

    Posted by on January 15th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    I was suprised to see how close the stats were here for Cano and Valentine.

    As a test, I used the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia and set it for:

    1977-2007, AGE BETWEEN 22 AND 24, PLATE APPEARANCES >= 1500, & RCAA BETWEEN 20 AND 30

    and, this is what I found:

    RCAA                           RCAA      PA      RCAA
    1    Willie Randolph              30     1902       30
    T2   Pete Incaviglia              29     1636       29
    T2   Rafael Palmeiro              29     1505       29
    T2   Harold Baines                29     1619       29
    5    Robinson Cano                28     1728       28
    T6   Jose Reyes                   27     2201       27
    T6   Carney Lansford              27     1820       27
    8    Ryne Sandberg                26     2086       26
    T9   Ellis Valentine              21     1728       21
    T9   Andre Dawson                 21     1910       21
    11   Robin Yount                  20     1818       20

    So, again, Cano and Valentine are pretty close. For another check, I set the CBE to:

    1977-2007, AGE BETWEEN 22 AND 24, PLATE APPEARANCES >= 1500, and OWP BETWEEN .500 AND .560

    and, this is what I found:

    OWP                             OWP      PA       OWP
    1    Delino DeShields           .558     1834     .558
    2    Travis Fryman              .557     2028     .557
    3    Andruw Jones               .557     2101     .557
    4    Pete Incaviglia            .556     1636     .556
    5    Willie Randolph            .556     1902     .556
    6    Robinson Cano              .554     1728     .554
    7    Carney Lansford            .550     1820     .550
    8    Jose Reyes                 .542     2201     .542
    9    Ellis Valentine            .540     1728     .540
    10   Ryne Sandberg              .537     2086     .537

    Does this mean that Robinson Cano is the next Ellis Valentine?

    No, of course not. But, looking at some of the names here, it does make you wonder, if, indeed, Cano is the next Rod Carew that some like to claim he is…

    Comments on Robinson Cano & Ellis Valentine

    1. TurnTwo
      January 15th, 2008 | 1:43 pm

      Steve, FINALLY something we can agree on.

      I am on the record as saying the Yankees need to make the deal for Johan. You can love the kids, and the youth in the system, but this is built to win within the next 3-4 years, and having Johan at the front of the rotation assures you of your best opportunity to do so, while you can still rebuild below.

      What Yankees fans need to do is make a choice: would you rather keep the Holy Trinity together, or would you rather center a package around Robby Cano?

      I love Robby Cano, but its a lot easier to get your hands on a solid 2B, especially when offense from the position really is a luxury, compared to what it takes to get a stud frontline pitcher.

      You could send Robby Cano, Marquez, and a third minor leager to the Twins, and they would HAVE TO jump on that.

      Like you said, they could have Alberto play 2B or they could also try and make a trade for a veteran guy like Mark Ellis or Orlando Hudson with your remaining farm pieces… Orlando Hudson is a FA after 2008, too, so should you want to try it out for a year and realize it’s not going to work, you know at least one gold glove 2B will be out there and available.

      but your offense, sans Robby, will be just fine… you’re still going to score 900+ runs, and your defense will be at least the same and maybe even could even be better, and now you’ve got Johan, Wang, AND your three best young prospects.

      You try and explain this to the masses at LoHud and people want to rip out your heart and feed it to Scooter the Squirrel.

    2. williamnyy
      January 15th, 2008 | 2:13 pm

      Trade Cano? I think that would be foolish. At age 24, Cano has already established himself as both a top fielding and hitting 2B. Contrary to an earlier statement, players like that are not easy to get your hands on. What’s more, if you think a 30-year old Hudson is even on the same planet as a 25-year old Cano, well then I think you need to go back to the drawing boar (not to mention someone like Ellis).

      As for the comps, well, first off, Ellis Valentine was very good through age 25. He just happened to fall off a cliff thanks to injuries.

      I also don’t get your basis for comparing players over an age period instead of similar numbers of ABs. Also, you could have normalized the list by PA.

      I ran a similar study by OPS+ and Cano ranked 8th all time:

      1 Eddie Collins 162
      2 Larry Doyle 140
      3 Tony Lazzeri 124
      4 Frankie Frisch 124
      5 Carlos Baerga 119
      6 Jim Viox 119
      7 Jorge Orta 118
      8 Robinson Cano 117

      Finally, according to B-R.com, Cano’s top two comps are Joe Mauer and Hanley Ramirez. Not bad company.

    3. baileywalk
      January 15th, 2008 | 3:12 pm

      Cano is the one guy on the field (besides Melky) who doesn’t make 10 million+. He’s the first legit position-player prospect the Yankees have produced since Jeter/Posada. They have no internal replacement. You can’t trade Cano.

      Where does this idea come from that you can just pluck a Cano out of the air? There’s only one second baseman better in all of baseball, Chase Utley, and he signed an 80-million-dollar contract. The idea that you can just bring up Gonzalez and “your offense won’t be hurt” is ridiculous. Gonzalez can’t hit AA and AAA pitchers. How much will that offense fail once he’s in the big leagues. He’ll be a black hole in the lineup, and you don’t think that would hurt?

      Giving up Cano would be as bad if not worse than giving up Hughes.

    4. Andrew
      January 15th, 2008 | 3:50 pm

      Give up Cano, based on the fact that he COULD be Ellis Valentine (but, much more likely, could be the next Yankee superstar)?

      Steve, I understand your general attitude of extreme skepticism. The Yankees could win 50 games next year, and I don’t think you would be entirely surprised. And, comparing Cano’s stats to players who started hot but tailed off is not an unreasonable exercise.

      But, Robinson Cano has had a better start to his career than many HOF-caliber second-basemen. Surely, by now, he’s more likely to be closer to Rod Carew over the extent of his career than Ellis Valentine.

      We won’t know if Cano is the next Rod Carew until he is the next Rod Carew. But there is a strong possibility, based on the very, very good statistics and trends he’s put up at a young age, that he can be a superstar. And that is what everyone is so excited about. Yes, there is a possibility he could fail. But there is a stronger possibility, I believe, that he could succeed. And young, cost-controlled, power-and-average hitting 2nd basemen (not to mention strong defensively) are among the most valuable position player in the game, behind only a comparable shortstop. 2B-men are NOT easy to replace. Luis Castillo, a below-average 2B-man in every sense, just got a 4-year deal. He got that deal specifically because good second-basemen are very hard to come by.

      Taking into consideration cost, projectibility, and position scarcity, Robinson Cano is a VERY good second baseman. Excepting perhaps Wang, he is the most valuable asset the Yankees have. I wouldn’t trade Cano for Santana straight-up.

    5. ipap86
      January 15th, 2008 | 6:31 pm

      I’m no expert but doesn’t pitching win baseball games? If Santana is as great as advertised you should trade any position player for a great pitcher, the reason the Yankees need Cano is because to win a game they have to score 15 runs a game but if you don’t have to score 15 runs why do u need all that offence, Yankees fans should ask themselves if they want to win some games or watch 9 guys hit some dingers. In the playoffs the teams that seem to win seem to have the best pitchers not the teams with the top 2nd basemen in the league.

    6. williamnyy
      January 15th, 2008 | 7:30 pm

      Pitching alone doesn’t win baseball games. You also need to field the ball and score runs. Robinson Cano is a huge contributor to both of those pursuits. What’s more, he is a very young component of an aging offense. Also, the Yankees are much stronger in terms of pitching prospects than offense prospects. In other words, the Yankees have several candidates who could possibly develop into productive major league pitchers, but very few candidates who project to be productive performers on offense. Getting rid of Cano would be trading from a weakness (young position players), which I think would be counterproductive.

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