We are a little over a month into the regular season and naturally there are some guys drafted particularly high that are struggling and there are as many guys rafted rather low that are off to great starts.
But who should be ranked where?
In my latest second basemen rankings, I take a look at that question with a familiar face at the top.
Even though he has hit only a mere one home run in his first 30 games with his new team, Seattle Mariners’ second baseman Robinson Cano still deserves to sit at the top of the rankings heading into the month of May.
Sure Cano is on pace to hit a whopping six homers on the season, but there’s a lot to like about him going forward.
It’s really difficult sometimes to gauge a player, good or bad after their hot or cold streak occurs during the first month of the season.
That being said, with veteran stars, most of the time a cold start is forgotten by the midseason point. That’s what I’m banking on with Cano.
History would suggest that many of the unknown commodities that are off to scorching April starts are more than likely to cool off before long and while it is tempting to rank hot starts higher on the list, you must account for a regression when you take account for a full season’s worth of at bats.
When looking at Cano, his start wasn’t terrible, just not what many expected, considering he was drafted in the first round in almost every draft. He is still hitting .292 and has driven in 18 runs. Again, not what was projected, but not terrible out of the gate.
The disappointing part is the power and that will come around.
Once the homers start coming, it is likely they will come in bunches.
There are good signs, even though his walk rate (6.9%) is down and his strike out rate (13.8%) are up from last season.
Cano’s poor .091 ISO can’t continue and his .333 BABIP is his highest since 2006. The most notable signs though is that his ground ball rate (59.2%) is at an insane all-time high, his fly ball rate (21.4%) is at an all-time low and his line drive rate (19.4%) is at an all-time low. Those numbers are also not sustainable, meaning that they should even out with his career norms and all will eventually become normal again with Cano.
In addition, Cano’s HR/FB to fly ball ratio is a whopping 4.5 percent. That simply can’t stay the same and likely will end up around 15 percent at the minimum, meaning that more long balls are on the way.
Looking at the rankings, Cano is a guy I would look to buy on right now, along with the likes of: Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis (injured), Matt Carpenter, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips and Jedd Gyorko. I expect a nice boost in production this month from all.
There are also some guys I would recommend selling on as their hot starts are likely to regress somewhat. The most notable examples are: Anthony Rendon, Brian Dozier, Neil Walker and Emilio Bonifacio.
However at the end of the day, Cano is still the top dog on the board.
In season rankings are a little different than preseason rankings as they just aren’t solely based on projections. During the season I not only project what a player will do the rest of the season, but also take current numbers and injury concerns into consideration.
These rankings are intended to guide you in evaluating and comparing players for the purposes of long-term roster management.