In Major League Baseball there have always been great debates about star players from different teams. Some that immediately come to mind from the past are Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams? Carlton Fisk or Thurman Munson? Hank Aaron or Willie Mays? Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens?
In this modern era we are in the players are bigger and stronger. There’s better nutrition, year round training, private instruction and so on. But the debate, no matter the era will always rage on, especially when two rivals like the Red Sox and the Yankees have arguably the two best second basemen in all of baseball.
While listening to MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM one day the two hosts, Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette, said they would take Robinson Cano as their All-Star/MVP with Dustin Pedroia being second.
Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I may be biased but Pedroia is my guy. Don’t get me wrong I’d take Cano too but if I had to pick it’s Pedey just as I would safely assume any Yankee fan would take Robbie.
Why do I take Pedroia? Look at him. He’s five foot nothing (he’s officially listed as 5’8”), was told time and time again he wouldn’t amount to a major league ball player and yet here he is. Fox analyst Tim McCarver actually had a really good line about Pedroia a week or so ago. He said, “he plays like he’s on a one-year contract.”
Pedroia is a throwback to an earlier time. He is gritty, he’s always dirty, and he never, ever quits. In fact he is hovering around .330 for a batting average and doing it with torn left thumb ligament.
When you compare the two side by side this year this is what you get:
So who is the All-Star and the MVP candidate now?
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I will say Cano’s numbers are nearly every bit as good as Pedroia’s but notice I said nearly. The only place Cano is better is in the power numbers he has 11 more home runs, 5 more RBI and his slugging pct is a higher by .038. But no where else is he statistically better than the little guy who patrols Fenway’s right side like a lion looking to pounce.
Both players do benefit from their home parks. Cano has the short rightfield porch and that mysterious new jet stream that inhabits Yankee Stadium while Pedroia benefits from The Wall. Smart players will always learn to play to their park.
I’m not here to say Cano sucks or anything like that. Robbie is a great player and if I were a Yankee fan I’d be happy as hell to have him just like us Red Sox fans are happy to have Pedroia.
Let’s look at the two careers. Cano has played 159+ games per season since 2007 only in 2005 (132) and 2005 (122) did he play less.
Pedroia has five seasons with at least 139 games played. He played fewer in 2006 (31) and 2010 (75).
Just for kicks here are the career averages based on 162 games per season. Cano has played 9 seasons to Pedroia’s 8 seasons.
Pedroia’s career average offensive numbers play out to be equal to or better than Cano’s except in the power areas. Cano’s defensive numbers average higher because he has been more durable than Pedroia and has done a good job of being able to stay on the field.
The whole point in this has been to show you what the national media perceives is not always the truth of the matter. If you listen to most national baseball pundits, when given the choice, they will take Cano. I just think they need to pay more attention to what Number 15 does and how important he is to this team.
The Yankees are not Cano’s team, not yet anyway, especially with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera still around and then when they’re gone Mark Teixeira is much more vocal than Cano and it could well be perceived to be his team at that point.
While in Boston this team belongs to Pedroia and David Ortiz. He has shown to be a leader ever since he got to Boston and he continues to show why he should be the prime example for Little Leaguers to aspire to.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII
photo credits: ap photo, blogspot