(Image: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees Player Prediction: Robinson Cano

With just  a week until opening day, players are putting the finishing touches on their Spring Training. Whatever players that haven’t been cut from the team, but are on the bubble, have just a few days left to prove their worth. For the New York Yankees, there are so many open spots at so many different positions, that management has some tough decisions to make. Luckily for them, they don’t have to make any decisions regarding second base, as it is manned by Robinson Cano. So heading into the 2013 season, what can we expect from him?

Could Cano win his first MVP award this year? (Image: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

As usual, this article will be analyzing three stats: batting average, home runs, and RBIs.

Batting Average:

In six of the eight years that Cano has played in the major leagues, he has batter over .300. The two years that he didn’t were his rookie year, and in 2008 when the entire Yankee team seemed to struggle. Luckily though, Cano has blossomed into one of the best players of baseball in that time, and is now almost a sure lock to bat over .300 every year. His past four years have seen him hit .313, .302, .319, and .320. There is no reason to think that Cano will not continue this kind of production. Unfortunately, with the injuries to players like Mark Teixeira, I think that Cano loses some protection in the lineup. It shouldn’t affect his production all too much, but in the early months of the season, I expect to see a very minimal drop. Once the injured players return however, that drop will reverse itself. Expect Cano to hit around .315 this year.

Home runs:

The only time that Cano has hit more than 30 home runs in a season was during his 2012 campaign. In the three seasons prior to that, he hit 28, 29, and 25 long-balls, and in his first four seasons in the bigs, Cano reached double-digit home run figures, but never exceeded 19. I think that because of this pattern, we may be seeing a new age of home run numbers for Cano. Add in the fact that he likes to aim for the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, and I think that will give its usual boost as well. I think we can expect Cano to hit around 35 home runs in 2013.

RBIs:

Cano is pretty interesting when it comes to RBIs. Although he hit more than 30 home runs last year, he only had 94 RBIs. In 2011 and 2010, when he hit 20+ home runs, he had more than 100 RBIs. Ultimately, I think it comes down to who he bats behind in the lineup. Cano will probably bat third in the order, right behind either Ichiro Suzuki or Brett Gardner, and Derek Jeter. I would say that there is a good chance that somebody is on base when he steps up to bat. If Cano gets hot though, due to him not really being protected in the lineup during the first couple of months, pitchers could opt to walk him instead. This could cause his totals to drop. However, I still think that Cano will be able to reach 100 RBIs, I just don’t expect him to hit many more than that.

Final totals: .315/ 35 HR/ 102 RBIs

This is going to be a very important season for Cano. The free-agent-to-be will no doubt be looking for a big payday next winter, and a big season like this one will definitely net him the money that he wants and deserves. Who knows? The chance for Cano to win his first MVP award this season is there as well.

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