As he successfully swung for the fences last night, earning the title of derby champion, the best kept secret in baseball was finally revealed. Winning baseball’s summer spectacle didn’t necessarily make Robinson Cano a better player, but it may have propelled his name to stardom, as it did with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard.

Despite starring for baseball’s glamour franchise, Cano is constantly overlooked due to the fact that he is surrounded by the names of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, and for the most part Cano leads a quiet lifestyle, and remains distanced from the New York media.

But Cano represents the new era for the Yankees; he is a young homegrown product who can further carry the Yankees’ golden standard. Derek Jeter is 37, and well past his prime, Alex Rodriguez is turning 36, and appears to have suffered a power outage. It’s very likely that Cano, 28, will soon assume the role as the Yankees’ face of the franchise.

But where does the Yankees’ second baseman rank among baseball’s elite?

Excluding pitchers, I would be hard pressed not to include Cano in my top five. If you examine Cano’s past five seasons, it’s evident that he’s been posting MVP-type numbers.

Over his past four seasons, Cano missed a total of eight games while batting .304 with about 22 homeruns, 90 RBI, not to mention an OPS of about .835, and improving defense. Cano is an annual candidate for both the gold glove, and the batting title.

The stats simply prove the fact that Cano is not only an elite second baseman, but amongst the game’s best right now.

But stats aren’t the only factor when determining the caliber player of Robinson Cano, character also comes into play. Cano comes with absolutely no baggage, and he’ll never be a distraction, on the field, or off the field.

Other players such as Miguel Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder, may be more talented than Cano, but do come with issues concerning effort, temper, motivation and consistency. Cano’s character, toughness and effort are never questioned.

I would only place a select few such as Joe Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez and a few others ahead of Cano, but soon enough, Robinson Cano will be the biggest name in the big apple.

By Shady Botros


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