Second Baseman of the Future: Robinson Cano?

Recently, Robinson Cano has been promoted to the AAA Columbus Clippers and it is starting to make everyone wonder, is Robinson Cano the future second baseman of the New York Yankees? Considering past decisions of the Yankee organization, it doesn't seem like it could happen but the fact is that it is a strong possibility. It is not usually customary for them to tap into their minor league talent but the way Cano has played this season, it is difficult to ignore.

It hasn't become well known until this season the kind of talent that Robinson Cano mostly due to the fact that he has long been overshadowed by his prospect counterpart, Dioner Navarro. However, there is no longer reason nor excuse to ignore this rising star. It has been a constant throughout these weeks leading up the MLB trading deadline that Cano's name come up in multiple trade talks while the scouts have been filling the stands at waterfront Ballpark in Trenton, New Jersey. Now things have changed. The scouts will now have to follow Cano, along with Navarro to AAA Columbus.


Up until this season, Robinson Cano was, yes, considered as a top ten prospect in the Yankee organization but never did get the type of attention he has gotten in only half of this season. Maybe, it is is because he is playing at a higher level. Or, maybe it is just because he has flat out, elevated his game this year. Either way, you can't ignore his talent. In his first AAA game, while Dioner Navarro look terribly anxious, Robinson Cano thrived at the plate. Cano scorched four hits and turned even more heads as scouts looked on. While Navarro, a catcher, is still the more highly touted prospect, Cano deserves more attention than he has received. However, he may have earned himself some more credit as scout representatives from nine different teams were there to watch he and Navarro. 


Before he was promoted to the AAA Columbus Clippers on June 27th, Robinson Cano was having himself quite a season with the AA Trenton Thunder. Besides just his offensive achievements, Cano has showed that he can play at two different positions; second and third base. Cano, a natural second baseman, began to the play third base early this month for team scouts to get a look at what kind of value he may have a a different position. Despite that, if he is to remain in the New York Yankees organization, he will be a second baseman. Over his time in the farm system, his defense has sometimes been questioned but it has shown a lot of improvement during this season. To be honest, his natural skills could carry him in the field but the mental side of it might be the only thing to sometimes stand in his way. He has long been accused of sometimes being lethargic and that many of his 12 errors this season were more due to that rather than lack of fielding ability.


One would have to think that with all the trade rumors circulating that it may get in the way of Cano's performance. Well, not is you ask Cano himself though. "I never think about trades. I just let things happen," Cano told "I'm just happy to be here, but I don't get too excited. It's a long season and there's three months left. I just want to do my job." He sure did do his job in Trenton this season. In 74 games, he batted .301 with 7 home runs, 8 triples, 20 doubles and 44 RBI. Not too shabby by any standards. And despite his 12 errors in Trenton this season, he is considered to have above average defensive skills. His arm is very strong for a second baseman with extra soft hands and quick release. Now, what does that spell out for the New York Yankees? It could spell the future of the second base position.


It did not take very long for Robinson Cano to get comfortable in AAA as many expected it would. The first pitch that Cano ever saw in AAA, he deposited in the left center field gap to score two runs for the Clippers. What impressed people was that Cano, a left handed hitter, showed how well he could drive the ball to the opposite field. Ok, so the 21 year old infielder showed he could hit. But, that was not the end of it. He went on to go 4-4 in his first AAA game. Now, that is saying something. At many times before this game, there had been whispers that the Yankees may be willing to give Cano a shot at the starting second base job for 2005 season, but after this performance, the whispers elevated to the talk of the organization. 


What would Robinson Cano did for an encore after his superb first game in AAA? Well, he would show yet another one of fantastic dimensions. Robinson Cano has power too. He used it on Wednesday night as he blasted his first ever AAA home run. In the game, Cano went 2-3 with a home run, a walk and an RBI. So far, in seven at bats with Columbus, Cano has six hits. An amazing statistic. The 21 year old second baseman may just finally be starting to get the recognition he deserves. He was recently named to the Futures Team and will play at Minute Maid Park on All-Star weekend along with Dioner Navarro.


Now, everyone remembers the last time the New York Yankees had an up an coming second baseman. In case anyone did forget, it was Alfonso Soriano. He had all the skills and tools a ballplayer could ask for, right? No doubt that he certainly did and he is now showing it and has become one of the elite players in the game today. But, the fact of the matter is that Robinson Cano has better minor league statistics than Alfonso Soriano ever had. His batting average is higher, his fielding is better and he actually has hit for more power as well. Of course, this could mean nothing in the scheme of things but it is something to take a look at. So, is Robinson Cano a star in the making? He just might be and he may get a chance to earn his pinstripes with the New York Yankees at the start of 2005 season.

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