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How Good is Robinson Cano?


Angelsjunky

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fWAR ranks by year:

 

Last year: 12th (6.0)

Last two years: 4th (13.7)

Last three years: 4th (19.1)

Last four years: 2nd (25.4)

Last five years: 5th (29.4)

Last six years: 12th (29.6)

Last seven years: 8th (34.4)

Last eight years: 9th (36.9)

 

Let me clarify before proceeding. I am not suggesting that the Angels should go after Cano - I really hope they don't. But I am reminding us that he's one of the very best players in baseball, and has been for eight years.

 

But what about 2013? He was "only" 12th - isn't he in decline? And in 2011 he was 22nd in fWAR...isn't he overrated?

 

Nope, not yet at least. Cano had his best year (by fWAR) in 2012, with a 7.7, which was tied for 2nd highest in the majors. 2013 was his third best year. But a large part of his greatness is his consistency. Over the last four years - in which he is 2nd in overall WAR, behind only Miguel Cabrera - he has had fWARs of 6.4, 5.3, 7.7, and 6.0. In other words, his baseline is 5+ which is a bonafide star, year in and year out. In other words, he's never been the best player in baseball, but year in and year out he's one of the dozen or so best in the game and, I think, is probably one of the ten o so best players in the game, along with Trout, McCutchen, Cabrera, Posey, Longoria, Molina, Tulowitzki, and Votto.

 

Now he is 31 already, which means he probably only has another two or three years at his peak level. But to say he's less deserving of a mega-contract as other recent 30-somethings is simply wrong. While I personally wouldn't want to give him more than 6 years, if I were a GM I'd be fine with 8 and might consider 10.

 

How much will Cano get? My guess is something like 8/$200MM or 10/$220MM. And yes, I think he'll stay with the Yankees.

 

Addendum: How good is Cano historically? He's already #43 among all historical second basemen with 37.1 fWAR, but let's make that more meaningful. Among all second baseman through their age 30 seasons, he's #23, ahead of players like Charlie Gehringer, Paul Molitor, Pete Rose, Craig Biggio and Dustin Pedroia, and right behind players like Lou Whitaker, Chase Utley, Ryne Sandberg and (gasp!) Chuck Knoblauch. Chances are he won't go the Knoblauch path, but you never know.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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If you look at most star baseball players, the stats will show that their best years last around 6-9 years before they start their declines.  Cano is on year 5-8 depending on where you start his prime years.  And considering he's hit an ops over .900 twice in those 8 years.  Let the Yanks pay for what he's done in the past.  

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Great stuff AJ. What's sad is you know what I took out of all your hard work? I took from it that I undervalued Lou Whitaker. I thought of him as a nice second baseman that had a team that was very loyal to him. I would have never guessed he was up there with Cano at this point of Cano's career.

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Well he's a year younger than Pujols and Hamilton were when they signed with the Angels, and unlike either of them there are no signs of decline. Yet. He's also a much more valuable player than either Pujols or Hamilton, so you can't just look at OPS. He's a very good second baseman - at least for the time being.

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Well he's a year younger than Pujols and Hamilton were when they signed with the Angels, and unlike either of them there are no signs of decline. Yet. He's also a much more valuable player than either Pujols or Hamilton, so you can't just look at OPS. He's a very good second baseman - at least for the time being.

 

Go look at the historical decline rates for 2B -- it is alarming.

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Great stuff AJ. What's sad is you know what I took out of all your hard work? I took from it that I undervalued Lou Whitaker. I thought of him as a nice second baseman that had a team that was very loyal to him. I would have never guessed he was up there with Cano at this point of Cano's career.

 

Lou Whitaker is, in my opinion, one of the most under-appreciated players in baseball history. His 68.1 career fWAR places him above many Hall of Famers and is 9th all time among second basemen. He's just ahead of players like Biggio and Alomar.

 

Go look at the historical decline rates for 2B -- it is alarming.

 

Yeah, I realize that. I don't know what the Yankees will do with him in a few years to extend his hitting peak - maybe 1B?

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Cano will age well if he walks the way he did last year(9.5% BB rate) but could run into problems if he reverts back to his 2011 form(5.6% BB rate).

 

Either way, I think you'll see an elite player for 2 more years, a good player for 2, average player for 2, then he will be replacement level the last few years. 

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Cano would be a decent acquisition on a contract of either three or four years. Considering that he is asking for twice that (or more, depending upon who you listen to), I don't think so. He has good power for his position, but not so much that he could become an exclusive DH as the contract enters its later years. I don't see him playing second base at 38 or 39.

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Cano would be a decent acquisition on a contract of either three or four years. Considering that he is asking for twice that (or more, depending upon who you listen to), I don't think so. He has good power for his position, but not so much that he could become an exclusive DH as the contract enters its later years. I don't see him playing second base at 38 or 39.

This. 

 

He'll be playing 1B in a couple of years most likely, then DH the past few years. Assuming he declines like most players in his 30's, he won't be all that valuable the 2nd half of the contract. 

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