Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Yankees_vs_royals_cd45
There are some players who become premium draft targets despite statistical shortcomings (Buster Posey) or injury concerns (Troy Tulowitzki) solely because of how they compare to the available talent at their respective positions. Robinson Cano has no such flaws, producing annual stat lines that rival the game’s best overall players, and the fact that he plays at a position with barely average depth makes him all the more valuable.Side note: Yes, I view Posey as a player with some statistical shortcoming. In 610 plate appearances last year he scored just 78 runs, he doesn’t steal bases, and his home run power is average for an elite player. He’s better than a lot of first basemen, the other position he qualifies at, but he would be a fourth or fifth round pick if he didn’t have catcher eligibility, not a second round pick.Last season Cano set a career high with 33 homers despite dropping his fly ball rate to a surprisingly low 25.8%. Thanks to a 24.1% HR/FB rate, that drop in flies was barely noticed. Thanks to Yankee Stadium, a HR/FB rate over 20% could be Cano’s new norm.Where did those fly balls go? They became line drives, and last year Cano’s .365 xBA shows his .313 average might have been unlucky. Few players make elite contact like Cano, and he’s among the annual favorites to win the AL batting title.At a GlanceStrengths: R, HR, RBI, BA, OBP, OPSNeutral: noneWeaknesses: SBPlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Miguel Cabrera (DET) Likely scenario: Prince Fielder (DET), Joey Votto (CIN), Adrian Beltre (TEX)Worst-case scenario: Buster Posey (SF)Robinson Cano 2013 Fantasy ProjectionThe Yankees lineup is a disaster right now (according to MLB Depth Charts their four and five hitters are Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner, respectively) but they still have Cano, and Cano still has Ichiro Suzuki and (soon) Derek Jeter getting on base in front of him. Thirty homers, 100 RBI, and an average over .300 are all near-certainties, and if he doesn’t hit 30 homers he’ll be pretty darn close.Sooner or later the Yankees will get healthy, or at least healthier, and that could make Cano a nice trade target if he fails to get off to his usual 100-run, 100-RBI pace.
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