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Sunday, January 29, 2012

WHY CANO SHOULD GET USED TO BEING #3

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Once upon a time, Robinson Cano used to chase balls in the dirt, and ones that sailed over his head. Generally speaking he swung at almost anything….but not anymore. As the Yankees prepared to enter the 2010 season many questioned if Cano was capable of protecting ARod batting in the number five spot, and he silenced those who doubted him. The Cano that used to be ineffective driving in runners when they were in scoring position was replaced with a clutch hitter that ended the season with 109 RBI’s. Cano did not stop there, in 2011 he brought in 118 RBI’s and he did it in fewer plate appearances. Not impressed yet? Add his 81 extra base hits that give him the second most in the league just behind Jacoby Ellsbury. There is something to be said for a man who can produce these kinds of numbers without being at the top of the order.As hard as it was to watch us falter in the postseason, Cano carried us when other bats went silent and he was the one bright spot for me. I started to daydream about the possibilities for years to come. Some say that the best hitter should be batting in the third position, and maybe this is what made Joe switch the order at the end of the season. It’s always fun to speculate, and while I may not be an expert, I can see the logic of keeping Cano in the number three spot and I think it will give the Yankee offense even more ammunition. Think of the possibilities that can come with a batting order of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Cano, a starting pitcher won’t have a lot of room for mistakes and Yankee fans could have a lot to cheer about.
So what could happen if Cano bats third? There aren’t many moments that I like to reflect on from the ALDS, but there is one that stands out, one that could happen a lot more in 2012. In game 1 of the ALDS Cano took Tigers pitcher Al Albuquerque to deep right field with two outs and the bases loaded, earning him 6 RBI’s by the end of the game. Cano also reached base nine times during the postseason and drove in nine of the team’s 28 runs, it’s crazy to think about. Imagine what he can do in an entire season, and all of the fastballs he could see batting in front of ARod, we could see that sweet swing do even more damage.

I can’t even begin to predict the numbers Cano will produce this season. He surprised all of us in 2010 and he continued to live up to the hype in 2011, but I think the best is yet to come. I think Cano was destined to be our number three hitter, his discipline and swing are going to bring amazing results. I am slightly superstitious when it comes to baseball, so I don’t want to accidentally jinx Cano by throwing out numbers. I will predict this though, the RBI’s, the batting average, and the homeruns are only going to climb higher. Maybe Cano and ARod will be the next unstoppable 3-4 combination, or maybe Granderson and Cano can have their own homerun race. Cano has had his name in the MVP race for the past two seasons, and a move to third in the batting order is only going to bring out more of his abilities. Hopefully if the baseball gods are willing…2012 could finally be the year he owns the titles of MVP and World Champion; it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.



--Jeana Bellezza --BYB Writer and Editor


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