When discussing American League MVP candidates there are three names that immediately come to mind, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Chris Davis. All three are worthy candidates for their performances this season. However, one name that hasn’t come up much at all is Robinson Cano’s.
Cano quietly put together yet another strong season for a New York Yankees team that often featured Lyle Overbay batting behind Cano and other “sluggers” like Luis Cruz, Chris Nelson, Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, Reid Brignac, Thomas Neal, Alberto Gonzalez and David Adams sprinkled throughout the lineup. Despite being the only true offensive threat on an almost daily basis Cano still managed to pile up 190 hits, 41 doubles, 27 home runs, score 81 runs, drive in 107 runs and hit .314/.383/.516. Cano even set a career high for walks with 65 this season, 16 of which were intentional, also a career high.
Cano’s season might not seem that impressive at first glance but he finished fifth in the AL in doubles, fourth in hits, fourteenth in home runs, fourth in RBI, fifth in batting average, seventh in slugging percentage and third in WAR with 7.6 wins above replacement.
His numbers don’t scream at you like Cabrera’s, Trout’s or Davis’. However, Cano did this while being the primary offensive threat in the lineup. He didn’t have the supporting cast that Cabrera did with the Detroit Tigers. There was no Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, Victor Martinez or Torii Hunter in the lineup with Cano. There was no Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton or Mark Trumbo. There wasn’t even a Manny Machado for much of the season. The Yankees’ offense was, for several months, Robinson Cano.
Cano didn’t see help until July when Alfonso Soriano was brought in to bolster the Yankee lineup. Robinson Cano was the lifeblood of the Yankees. Just take a look at the Yankees’ stats for the season. Soriano finished second on the team with 17 home runs and he didn’t come to the team until late July. Lyle Overbay was second in RBI with just 59 RBI. The Yankees’ second best hitter was Brett Gardner and he finished the season with a .273 average before getting hurt in September. Cano and Gardner led the team with 81 runs scored. Second place was Ichiro Suzuki with 57.
If the Yankees didn’t have Cano their offense would have been closer to the Houston Astros. With Cano they were a potential playoff team. Certainly that should be enough to garner some votes for AL MVP.