ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 22: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees bats against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22 2010 in Arlington Texas. The Rangers won 6-1. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Robinson Cano
Why aren't more people talking about Robinson Cano's season? If it weren't for Mike Trout, he'd be the obvious favorite for AL MVP. I posed that very question on Twitter, and a couple people mentioned his slow start. And frankly, that makes a lot of sense.
On the day Mike Trout made his season debut, April 28th, Cano was hitting .253/.319/.386; a week later, his numbers had fallen to .255/.303/.355, and that was around the time Trout really started to get into a groove. Of course, Trout has remained in that "groove" for a few months now, and he's stolen the spotlight. It's a spotlight that is very well deserved, too -- it's amazing enough that he has a substantial lead in the American League in WAR despite missing the first month of the season, but then you add in the fact that he's twenty years old. I mean, wow.
Anyway, I think these two factors -- Cano's slow start, and Mike Trout being Mike Trout -- have left Cano without his proper due. Just as Trout has a substantial lead over Cano in the American League in WAR, Cano has a substantial lead over the next-best -- Josh Reddick.
At this point, Cano is already an established all-star and yearly MVP candidate. But he's taken a giant leap forward this season... his walk rate is as high as it's ever been, and he's already nearly matched his walk total from 2011 (not to mention, he's already matched the unintentional walk total). And he's only eight home runs away from his first 30-homer season. Accordingly, his slugging percentage (.581) and isolated slugging (.263) are career highs.
And then you look at what second basemen have done around the majors, and Cano continues to stand out -- far and above the competition. He has a 152 wRC+ this season; the next highest is Aaron Hill -- Aaron freakin' Hill -- at 130. Hill is also second to Cano in fWAR ...and he's 1.1 wins behind Cano. Cano has roughly a 30% advantage in value -- at least by Fangraphs' implementation of WAR -- over the next most valuable player at his position.
Maybe it sounds weird to go on and on about how a New York Yankee isn't getting enough recognition, but Cano is an already great player reaching new heights. And if it weren't for Mike Trout, he'd be the hands-down favorite for AL MVP. Let's pay some more attention to what he's doing.