Monday, September 23, 2013
The MVP case for Robinson Cano
By David Schoenfield
Note: We're going to run through the MVP cases today for the top five American League candidates, starting with Robinson Cano.
1. While the Yankees are now likely to fall just short of a playoff berth, remember that the ballot does say that "The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier." One of the criteria is stated as "Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense." So, simply: Where would the Yankees be without Cano, filling a good portion of their lineup the majority of the season with Triple-A players?
2. He's missed one game and is hitting .314/.384/.517, with 27 home runs and 105 RBIs while making just six errors in the field.
3. Lyle Overbay is second on the Yankees with 58 RBIs. Think about that when considering the lack of help Cano has had in the lineup.
4. He's the only one of the leading MVP candidates to play an up-the-middle position on an everyday basis (Mike Trout started 40 games in left field). And he's played it well, with 6 defensive runs saved.
5. He leads Miguel Cabrera in Baseball Reference's version of WAR, 7.4 to 7.3. (Defense matters.)
6. No, he doesn't take advantage of Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch: 16 of his 27 home runs have come on the road.
7. He's hit .350/.444/.569 with runners in scoring position and his RBI percentage -- percentage of all runners on base batted in -- is just 1 percent less than Cabrera's and higher than Trout's or Josh Donaldson's.
8. He's hit .412 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
9. He's hit .309/.434/.543 in "late and close" situations, a .978 OPS that is better than Cabrera (.802 OPS), Trout (.748) or Donaldson (.919).
10. Playing in New York isn't easy and he's had the added pressure of trying to carry that lineup for much of the season.