Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is Robinson Cano A Keeper?

Robinson Cano has been one of the great mysteries of fantasy baseball over the past four years. Like clockwork, he's been unimpressive before the all-star break, and again like clockwork, he's vastly outperformed in the second half, each of the past four seasons. And in fact, it seems to have gotten more pronounced recently. The numbers:
  • 2005: .288 pre-all-star break, .303 post-all-star break
  • 2006: .325, 4 HR, 27 RBI before, .365, 11 HR, 51 RBI after
  • 2007: .274, 6 HR, 40 RBI before, .343, 13 HR, 57 RBI after
  • 2008: .247, .358 slugging before, .307, .482 slugging after
But when you draft (or in this case, keep) someone, you're investing in them for a full season; you don't want to keep a second baseman like Cano and then know you have to draft another one to plug in for the first half. So we have to review Cano as a full year candidate. And as a full year candidate, Cano just doesn't measure up.

I did some quick math and calculated Cano's 162-game pace over his first four season in the majors, and here they are: .303 AVG, 85 R, 18 HR, 87 RBI, 3 SB. In his "career year" in 2007, he hit .306 with 93 runs, 19 HR, and 97 RBI. If you could count on those kinds of numbers at a still pretty weak position like second base, Cano might sneak into your keeper list.

But you simply can't. The reality is he'll likely slip down to those 4-year averages, which makes him about as valuable as Jose Lopez. Who, you ask? Well, it's not surprising that you don't know him; he finished the season on the waiver wire in our very competitive keeper league. Granted, he was good enough to be on a team, but the reality is that you can get numbers very similar to Cano's for a fraction of "keeper price." Lopez, Kelly Johnson, Mike Aviles, and Placido Polanco figure to be available several rounds into the draft, and Cano belongs just a tick above them. A worthy pick in the 3rd-5th rounds, but not a keeper.

2009 projection: .310, 90 R, 15 HR, 80 RBI

1 comment:

Chip said...


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