No one has meant more to the Yankees the past few years than second baseman Robinson Cano.Power might be at a premium for the New York Yankees, especially at the start of 2013.
In the last two seasons, Curtis Granderson hit a total of 84 home runs (41 in 2011, 43 in 2012), the only player in MLB since the start of 2011 who hit at least 80 home runs. But Granderson -- who is out until the first week of May with a fractured right forearm -- is one of several Yankees power hitters who are hurt or no longer on the team.
Of the five Yankees last season who hit more than 20 home runs, two of them are gone (Russell Martin, Nick Swisher), and two others (Granderson, Mark Teixeira) are currently hurt. (Robinson Cano, who hit 33 HR last season, is healthy.) No team last season relied more on hitting home runs than the Yankees (see chart).
Highest Pct of Runs Scored
Via Home Runs Last Season
Teixeira, who is out two weeks with a wrist injury, has seen his production decline each season with the Yankees.
In 2008 with the Braves and Angels, Teixeria’s OPS was .962; however, it has decreased each season with the Yankees from .948 in 2009 to a career-low .807 in 2012.
Cano Continues To Get Better
What the Yankees do have is Cano, who demonstrated more plate discipline last season and lost nothing off his contact rate or power. Cano’s OBP, slugging percentage, home runs and walk rate all increased from 2011 to 2012, and his chase percent decreased. (Chase percent is the frequency of swings at pitches outside the strike zone.)
In the three seasons since the Yankees' last World Series title, Cano has taken over the mantle as New York’s most important position player. From 2010-12, Cano’s Wins Above Replacement is 21.2. Granderson is a distant second at 12.1.
As excited as Yankee fans are to see the return of closer Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner’s return to the everyday lineup is one that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially on defense. Gardner is +59 in Defensive Runs Saved since the start of 2010. That’s the most among outfielders and eight more than Michael Bourn, despite the fact that Gardner has played 1,341 fewer innings than Bourn over that span.
On the bases, Gardner stole a career-high 49 bases in 2011. In 2012, Ichiro Suzuki led the team with just 14.
As for Jeter, he starts the season 10th on the all-time hits list with 3,304 but should move up the list quickly early in the season. He's 10 hits shy of Eddie Collins for ninth and 15 back of Paul Molitor for eighth all time.