• Wild Thought: Is Robinson Cano The Next Juan Samuel?

    Posted by on July 7th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Here are the career stats for Robinson Cano, through yesterday, compared to the stats for Juan Samuel when he was the same age as Cano – via Baseball-Reference.com:

    Batter	        OPS+	PA	From	To	Ages	G	AB
    Juan Samuel	107	2876	1983	1987	22-26	644	2675
    Robinson Cano	110	2714	2005	2009	22-26	654	2551
    Batter	        OPS+	PA	From	To	Ages	 BA	 OBP	 SLG
    Juan Samuel	107	2876	1983	1987	22-26	.269	.312	.457
    Robinson Cano	110	2714	2005	2009	22-26	.303	.335	.471
    Batter		OPS+	PA	From	To	Ages	H    HR  RBI	 
    Juan Samuel	107	2876	1983	1987	22-26	719  80  326	 
    Robinson Cano	110	2714	2005	2009	22-26	772  75  352	 
    Batter		OPS+	PA	From	To	Ages	BB   SO  GDP	SB
    Juan Samuel	107	2876	1983	1987	22-26	151  629  35	205
    Robinson Cano	110	2714	2005	2009	22-26	115  299  84	 16

    It terms of games played, plate appearances, OPS+, hits, homeruns, RBI and walks, these two are very close. Samuel struck out a more – and that’s probably a key difference here. It suggests that he had more holes in his swing than Cano – as the walk totals for both these players offer that they were hackers. (Samuel was also a lot faster than Cano – see the stolen base totals.)

    In any event, it’s an interesting comp-find here. And, it’s today’s wild thought: Is Robinson Cano the next Juan Samuel? What do you think?

    Comments on Wild Thought: Is Robinson Cano The Next Juan Samuel?

    1. MJ
      July 7th, 2009 | 1:25 pm

      I sure hope not, because after 1987, Samuel fell off the map.

    2. copela26
      July 7th, 2009 | 4:57 pm

      Half as many strike outs and 35 point higher batting average i would say Cano’s alot better at this point

    3. July 7th, 2009 | 5:08 pm

      Don’t lose sight that the NL league batting from 1983-1987 is different from the AL league batting average circa 2005-2009. You have to adjust Cano and Samuel’s BA for the era in which they played.

    4. Evan3457
      July 7th, 2009 | 7:22 pm

      Samuel was much faster and had more raw (not to say usable) power; Cano is better defensively (especially on the pivot), hits for a higher average, and K’s much, much less.

      The things they have in commom: they’re both Latinos, both came up as 2nd basemen reasonably young, both have very low walk rates. That’s about it.

      Their careers may end because of the same flaw in their games: failure to control the K zone. As soon as Samuel lost some bat speed, he was done as an elite talent. When he lost a little more bat speed, he was done as a major league regular. A similar fate awaits Robinson if he never learns to tell a hittable pitch from a pitch the pitcher throws so that Robbie will get himself out. Carlos Baerga also shares some characteristics with the two of them and is similar in some senses.

      But the three of them are not very similar.

      The most similar players to Samuel, by age, include players like Jhonny Peralta, Ray Durham, Don Money, and Juan Uribe. For his whole career, Money is the most similar, Shawon Dunston, Phil Garner, Damion Easley, Davey Lopes, and Dick McAuliffe are also in his top 10.

      The most similar to Baerga by age (early in his career) include: Rennie Stennett, Wilfredo Cordero, Vern Stephens, and Edgardo Alfonzo and then Rich Aurilia (after he declined). For his career, his top 10 includes Alfonzo, Aurilia, Michael Young and Jose Vidro, but it also includes Thurman Munson (!), Terry Steinbach and Elston Howard (!!). I guess Baerga’s career numbers were catcher-like, or something.

      For Cano, the top 10 includes Baerga (#2 for his career at this point) Tony Lazzeri, Cordero, Tony Cuccinello and at #10, amazingly enough: Derek Jeter. A truly bizarre one at #3 is Yogi Berra. Cano’s top 10 is an interesting variety of Hall of Famers (Berra, Lazzeri, and, eventually, Jeter), and those who started quickly, then petered out (Baerga, Alfonzo, Cuccinello, Frankie Hogan).

      There is a limitation to the validity of these statistical comps, and it is clearly demonstated by the player who both #1 in his career comps, but it also Cano’s best comp by age, all four full seasons of his career to date. No matter what the computer formulas say, it’s hard to think of many players less like Cano in personality, style and leadership than his #1 comp…

      …Joe Mauer. 🙂

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