Wally Matthews thinks Robbie Cano should be the A.L. MVP Award winner this season:
Tuesday is the day for the Yankees to find out if they are going to be shut out of the post-season awards and for Robbie Cano to learn if he will join the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Phil Rizzuto, Elston Howard and of course, Alex Rodriguez on the list of Yankees to win the AL Most Valuable Player Award.
Over the years, this award seems to have morphed into a Best Offensive Player Award, which means Cano probably doesn;t have a shot up against the likes of Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera, both of whom blew him away offensively. Cano’s .319-29-109, plus .381 OBP and .914 OPS is a terrific season by anyone’s standards and on a team boasting the likes of A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, Cano was clearly the best hitter on the team. But Hamilton led the league in hitting (.359) plus hit 32 HRs, and Cabrera had 38 HRs, led the league in RBI (126) and OBP (.420). So if it’s strictly a numbers game, Cano comes up no better than third.
But to me, that word “Valuable” is the operative word in this award, and too often overlooked or ignored. Cabrera’s Detroit Tigers did not make the playoffs, something they could have accomplished just as easily without him. And Hamilton missed 25 games in September, a stretch over which his team played some of its best ball of the season –the Rangers went 15-10in those 25 games — and increased their lead in the divison by a half-game, all without Hamilton. His is a feel-good story but for sheer value, that final month seems to tell a significant tale.
Cano, on the other hand, seemed to be the one everyday player the Yankees simply could not do without.
Now, Robbie Cano did have a fine season in 2010. But, in terms of Yankees seasons since 1973, which player/seasons were the most like his production this past year? Check out this via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia -
Player YEAR RCAA OWP RC/G BPA 1 Gary Sheffield 2004 40 .676 7.41 .573 2 Paul O'Neill 1997 39 .682 7.45 .543 T3 Gary Sheffield 2005 37 .666 7.31 .566 T3 Robinson Cano 2010 37 .661 7.29 .547 T3 Bernie Williams 2001 37 .670 7.50 .564 6 Alex Rodriguez 2006 36 .663 7.18 .573
To get this group, I used the following sorting criteria:
NEW YORK YANKEES, 1973-2010, OWP BETWEEN .66 AND .69, RUNS CREATED/GAME <= 8, BPA BETWEEN .54 AND .58, and RCAA BETWEEN 40 AND 35
For me, it’s interesting to see Sheffield at the top of this list because I really felt he deserved the A.L. MVP in 2004. But, did he win it? Nope. “Sheff” finished second in the voting in 2004. And, I suspect the Cano will not finish first in the voting this season as well. The award will go to either Evan Longoria or Josh Hamilton. Why? Just a feeling…their teams finished first and those guys are the ones who many think made their teams go, etc. And, Cano will place among Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera in the voting. By the way, there’s nothing shabby ’bout that, if that’s the way it goes down.