Scouting Yankee Prospect #4: Robinson Cano

In 2004, Robinson Cano really began to open some eyes, starting off in AA and making his way to AAA by season's end as a 21 year old. Cano is an organizational favorite for his sweet, line drive, lefty stroke and his potential in the field. It's these reason's that he's our Yankee's prospect #4.

Vital Statistics
Name: Robinson Cano
Position: Second Base
DOB: October 22, 1982
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 170
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Up until this season, Robinson Cano was, yes, considered a top ten prospect in the Yankee organization but never did get the type of attention he received during the 2004 season. Maybe, it is because he is playing at a higher level. Or, maybe it is just because he flat out, elevated his game in 2004. Either way, you can't ignore his talent. In his first AAA game, while former top prospect, Dioner Navarro look terribly anxious, Robinson Cano thrived at the plate. Cano scorched four hits and turned even more heads as scouts looked on.

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 in early June for team scouts to get a look at what kind of value he may have at a different position. Despite that, if he is to remain in the New York Yankees organization, he will be a second baseman. Well, that trade deadline came and went without Cano becoming a member of a different organization. Over his time in the farm system, the left swinging second baseman's defense has sometimes been questioned, but it showed a lot of improvement during the second half of the 2004 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 those trade rumors circulating that it may have gotten in the way of Cano's performance. Well, not if you asked 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 in the 2004 campaign. In 74 games, he batted .301 with 7 home runs, 8 triples, 20 doubles and 44 RBI.  

It did not take as long for Robinson Cano to get comfortable in AAA as many expected it would. Perhaps having someone he's grown very close to in his young career get promoted with him, helped him in the transition. "We give each other a lot of help and it was right that we got to move to AAA together last year," former Yankee catching prospect, Dioner Navarro told "I think he is going to be a star in the big leagues. I haven't seen anyone that can play the infield like him. He is a really good hitter too. He has a nice swing." He showcased that swing when he deposited the first pitch that he ever saw in AAA, 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. But, this was not the end of it. He went on to go 4-4 in his first AAA game. Although he did have some struggles during the latter part of his AAA stint, he did show that he could hold his own at a higher level of play at a very young age.

There is no one better than Andy Stankiewicz to give us some added insight on this 22 year old infielder. Here is what he had to say in his chat with "With some more work, I think Cano can play any position on the infield," said Stankiewicz. "His best fit seems to be at second base bit I believe he can play third and even shortstop if he had to. Cano is one of the best young players I've seen and I think he can do very big things. The thing for him is just some more work and he could be a very fine player. The Yankees may give a chance next year but we'll have to wait and see. I think he could be a very good major league player. I think, even though he is know as a top prospect, I don't think he gets enough credit for how good he is."




















18 27 .316











24 40 .356


Batting and Power. Although the organization considers Robinson Cano to be an excellent all around player, scouts will tell you what carries; that is his bat. Since he was 18 years old, Cano has had that same, sweet swing from the left hand side of the plate. Even though he has not become a power hitter of sorts, the ball still explodes off his bat. For his 2004 campaign, "Robby" bulked up a little bit and the ball started to jump even a little more off his bat. However, he soon proved that it wasn't a lack of strength that was responsible for his power not becoming what it was expected to be; it was his swing. No, there isn't anything wrong with this swing, it is just too level for him to produce a lot of lift. In other words, he hits line drives all around the yard but simply doesn't get under a lot of balls. Perhaps with a very slight tweaking, he could turn out to be a solid home run threat because he does have the life in his bat to drive the ball a long way. But, it may benefit the organization to simply let him continue to use his line drive stroke and let it possibly benefit from the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium.

Base running and Speed. Well, no one will ever call "Robby" Cano a slow runner but one thing he certainly is not is a base stealing threat. He has about average to slightly above average speed but stealing bases is just not his thing. He is quick around second base and despite the rumors to the contrary, his range is very strong.

Defense. After being criticized for his defense in the off season before 2004 and during a defensive lapse in AA, Robinson Cano has really turned it up a notch. It turns out that he has all the right tools to be an outstanding defensive force at second base but sometimes got a little too smooth, playing a bit too nonchalant. But, with that problem seemingly behind him, Cano looks like an above average defender at second base. He has a strong arm, above average for second baseman and good hands as well. As long as he continues to get the good breaks on balls and stays focused, he could be an excellent major league infielder.

Projection. At this point, no one seems to doubt that Cano is definitely a big league caliber ballplayer. However, no one can seem to come to a consensus on just how good he will be. But, from our point of view, Cano looks to be a .290-.300 hitter with 15-20 HR power. And, if he is a Yankee, that home run total will be closer to 20 considering the short right field porch.

ETA. Late 2005. All Cano really needs is just a little more seasoning in AAA. After he proves he can play there like he did at AA, you will see him in the Bronx at some point in 2005, barring any trades. Another possibility is that if Tony Womack gets injured, we could get an early look at Cano, but knowing the Yankees, that chance is slim.

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