Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 3/31/12
Key Stats: Robinson Cano has laid out consistent numbers for three straight years now. He has topped 100 runs, had an average over .300, at least 25 home runs, and at least 85 RBI (the last two seasons topping 100) during that time. In the three seasons that Cano has accomplished this, there have been just 8 other seasons by second basemen that they have scored more than 100 runs alone. 

Skeptics Say: Cano is sort of the guy that you don't want on your team. That's because the top 6 are clearly ahead of him (as we'll go over in the peer comparison) and the guys that are ranked in the same neighborhood as Cano are very close to him. 

Statistically, Cano does not steal bases. Obviously that's being a bit picky given how much of an elite player he is at the second base position with every other category, but stealing bases is something that many other players at the position do well. Realistically 7 out of the top 10 second basemen off the board will steal bases. Thus drafting Cano forces your hand a little when considering outfielders later in the draft. 

Peer Comparison: It is hard to foresee a scenario in which Cano is more valuable than Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, or Jose Bautista. The case with Troy Tulowitzki is a little closer to call, but because of the depth at second base versus the dearth (I learned that word studying for the SATs - forgive me if it's not being used correctly) at shortstop I like Tulo. The positions are very close if you look at how Mock Draft Central users are picking:

Player

ADP

Position Rank

Player

ADP

Position Rank

Cano

8

1

Tulowitzki

6

1

Pedroia

17

2

H. Ramirez

16

2

Kinsler

19

3

Reyes

17

3

Uggla

48

4

Castro

38

4

Phillips

50

5

Andrus

41

5

R. Weeks

63

6

Rollins

65

6

Utley

64

7

Cabrera

71

7

Zobrist

67

8

Hardy

113

8

Kendrick

95

9

A. Ramirez

115

9

Ackley

118

10

Jeter

117

10

J. Weeks

140

11

Aybar

119

11

D. Espinosa

141

12

Gordon

120

12


Of course Utley has been pushed back some, but it is still apparent that waiting on someone like Kendrick or Zobrist and taking a guy like Tulo early is a better course of action than taking the 8th or 9th shortstop off the board. I also like the safety of picking Tulo early rather than going with someone like Reyes in the second round knowing his injury history (and taking Pedroia in the second round instead). Aside from all of that, Tulo is more likely to help in the one category that Cano won't - steals. Getting someone who can contribute across all five categories with that first pick is very important.

Lineup Outlook: For the most part last season, Cano hit fifth in the lineup and when Alex Rodriguez was healthy A-Rod hit fourth. That could change this season given where both players are in their careers. There is no question that Cano is a better hitter at this point, and Cano has been hitting in front of A-Rod in spring training action. The smartest play for the Yankees would be to move Cano to the third spot of the order. In which case, it would be possible for him to drive in 110+ runs hitting behind Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, and score 110+ with Mark Teixeira and A-Rod hitting behind him. The fact that he scored 100+ out of the number five spot last season is remarkable. 

What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #2 Second Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #1 Second Baseman & #9 Overall; Yahoo: #1 Second Baseman & #8 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #1 Second Baseman & #8 Overall; RotoChamp: #11 Overall

Projection: Cano should continue to do more of the same this season. Last season he was ranked the 11th best player in fantasy baseball, so these numbers would actually be a step up.
112 R 26 HR 114 RBI 6 SB .310 AVG .895 OPS
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