Derek Jeter may be the heart of the New York Yankees, but Robinson Cano is the body. Cano will need to have his best year in 2013 for the Yankees to have any shot at the playoffs. Last seasons’ stats were amazing, as Cano had a .313 AVG smacked 33 HR and had 94 RBI. In 2013 Cano will take his game and the Yankees to another level.
Cano is in a contract year and sadly this may be his last in a Yankees uniform. Typically, players have great seasons when they are in a contract year, so Yankees fans should expect nothing but the finest from Cano. The Yankees have many concerns as Spring Training begins, but Cano is not one of them.
Cano is not just an offensive juggernaut, he is as graceful at turning a double-play as anyone in the game. When turning a double play, some have questioned Cano’s effort, but he is giving 100 percent, the game just comes that easy to him. It is as if he floats to hard liners and flips them to Jeter to start the double play or glides over to second to get the ball from Jeter to start the double play. Cano’s defensive ability gets overlooked because he makes it look so easy. If fans need a reminder of how good Cano is, wait for the days Eduardo Núñez is playing.
Cano is only 30 years old and one of the younger players on the team; he is just hitting his stride and has many great years ahead of him. The fact the Yankees did not give Cano a long-term contract in the off-season was a risk. The organization should have, and in the long run, will pay for this mistake, but that is a worry for next season. Cano will take this year to show the league his worth and will have the best year of his career.
Cano has as pure a hitting stroke as anyone in baseball. He has the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the park. He goes the other way with pitches, but knows when to pull the trigger when the ball is in his hot zone and hits the ball as far as anyone on the Yankees. Cano will hit in the middle of the lineup, and for his RBI numbers to go up, he will need the guys in front of him to get on base.
Last season the Yankees relied on the home run too much and it is one reason why they walked away empty handed. The team needs contact hitters and they need guys that can hit the ball through the gaps and drive runners in when they are in scoring position; Cano is that guy for the Yankees. His ability to hit for average and being able to get on base is more important to the team than him blasting an upper-deck solo shot.
There were times last season the Yankees would have runners in scoring position all game and none scored because too many guys were swinging for the long ball. One of the many great things about Cano is his effortless swing; when he does hit a home run, it isn’t because he is swinging for the fence, he just has that good of a swing.
Cano will need to come up big for the Yankees and be the guy the Yankees can count on to drive in runs. He has all the ability in the world and has shown what he can do; the great thing for the Yankees is that Cano has not yet peaked and he should have the best season of his career in 2013. This is perfect for the Yankees because they need Cano to carry the team. Like Alex Rodriguez or not, when he was on in the regular season, he carried the Yankees.
One of the many differences between Cano and Rodriguez is that Cano doesn’t try too hard; he also doesn’t seem to feel any pressure and doesn’t choke.
The Yankees have many questions this year, but they do have one answer and that is Cano. He is not only the best player on the team; he is the best player in the league. For the Yankees to have a chance, he will need an MVP caliber year. Cano is very capable of carrying the Yankees; it shouldn’t be any surprise when Cano wins the AL MVP and carries the Yankees into the playoffs.
Nik Swartz is the Featured Columnist for the New York Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @Sweetnesz13