Mets 2020 projections: Robinson Cano

It’s difficult not to be seduced by Robinson Cano. He was on a Hall of Fame trajectory through the end of the 2017 season. And after a miserable start to 2019, he hit like what his supporters hoped he would in the final 25 games of the season. In that stretch, he posted a .338/409/.600 line in 93 PA. Imagine having that guy in the lineup over an entire year, to go along with the other offensive weapons the club has. One could have visions of the Mets having a 900-run season.

But then reality calls.

What’s the likelihood that at age 37, playing second base, that Cano can put up that type of production over 150 games? Through last year’s injuries and 2018’s suspension, Cano hasn’t played 150 games since 2017. And only three players in MLB history have played 150 games at second base at age 37, none since Frank White did the trick in 1988. White’s batting line that year? He put up a .596 OPS and a 64 wRC+.

Jeff Kent misses our arbitrary cutoff by one game and he remains the sliver of hope among the 37 year olds in the post-integration era. You have Kent with a 3.6 fWAR and no one else who played the majority of their games at second base putting up an fWAR over 2.5 at that age. Somehow, Marco Scutaro put up a 2.5 fWAR in 2013 for the Giant while amassing 127 games and 547 PA. For what it’s worth, Scutaro played five games the following year and then his career was over.

Cano has two things going for him. One, as his closing stretch last year indicates, he’s still not helpless against MLB pitching. And perhaps more importantly, he has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from the GM. Last year, we saw Cano gifted the chance to play every day and bat third when most of us would have been giving him days off and moving down in the lineup. You have to think that type of preferential treatment would have continued had Carlos Beltran been the team’s manager.

But what happens if the Mets do end up giving the job to an old-school manager with a little more clout? Would, say, Buck Showalter have continued to utilize Cano like the Mets did in 2019? As of this writing, with the new manager yet to be declared, that’s perhaps the biggest wild card when trying to subjectively forecast Cano in 2019.

Let’s check in with the computer forecasts. We have a new one this week, with FanGraphs posting the ATC projections. So, let’s see our four objective predictions for Cano:

ATC – 512 PA, .271/.330/.439, 17 HR, 64 RBIs
Marcel – 446 PA, .264/.324/.437, 15 HR, 55 RBIs
Steamer – 565 PA, .271/.327/.448, 20 HR, 74 RBIs
ZiPS – 377 PA, .260/.316/.405, 9 HR, 39 RBIs

Wow, that’s a little bit different from last year, when the computer models all were very much in lock step with one another. This time we have ATC and Steamer being fairly similar but Marcel and ZiPS being much more bearish, especially in terms of playing time. The Steamer forecast comes with an fWAR projection, too. That system sees Cano as essentially a league-average performer, as they have him putting up a 1.9 fWAR. It seems safe to say that Marcel and ZiPS would be short of that total.

Unless Cano has injuries at a worse level than last season – not an unreasonable position to take – or they hire a Showalter-type as manager, this seems less likely, it’s hard for me to imagine playing time like ZiPS forecasts. With that thought in mind, here’s my totally subjective prediction for Cano in 2020:

440 PA
19 HR
70 RBIs

You’ll have more credibility if you chime in now with what you think Cano will do this year. Next up to undergo the forecast microscope will be Noah Syndergaard.

18 comments for “Mets 2020 projections: Robinson Cano

  1. Chris F
    January 21, 2020 at 10:55 am

    I thin you are dead on provided that he doesnt get injured. I expect that to occur, so what youve listed would be the full season numbers, with minor dings/days off. I expect a 2 month DL run in there.

  2. BoomBoom
    January 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I think Cano plays well this season with more days off. I think he spends more time in the 5 or 6 hole than in the 3 hole. Predicting one IL stint of about 3 weeks leading into the All Star break.

    425 PA
    14 HR
    72 RBIs

  3. Remember1969
    January 21, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    I am not particularly bullish on Cano for 2020. My best guess is that while is active (not on the IL) he will hit enough to get his regular playing time. I anticipate some time on the injured list which will keep his plate appearances down a bit. His salary will keep them up a bit.

    500 PA
    40 BB/HBP/SAC
    450 AB
    122 Hits
    .271 BA
    .324 OBP
    11 HR (I am more pessimistic on his power numbers than others)
    27 2B
    1 3B (just because)
    .409 SLG
    ,733 OPS
    55 RBI
    51 RS

  4. Mike Walczak
    January 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    I will be hopeful.

    440 AB
    .272 BA
    .317 OBP
    17 HR
    82 RBI
    67 Runs

  5. José
    January 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    An excerpt from my last prognostication on one R Cano:

    “[W]e certainly have to acknowledge the durability and consistency (“d&c”) that Cano has exhibited in his career.

    From 2007 to 2017, he appeared in no less than 150 G per season, and average of +158 G per season. A cursory examination of all the other 2nd baseman for which there is a link above, none exhibited the year-in year-out d&c for the majority of their careers, or at least from the time they became regulars in the MLs.

    Has Cano ever made even one visit to the DL? So an average season for Cano would be awesome, and according to Baseball Reference’s 162 G average, that projects to 24HR 96RBI and .304/.355/.493”

    Thus, my current projection is…

    Certain people’s predictions should be ignored

    • Chris F
      January 22, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Has Cano ever made even one visit to the DL?

      Do you remember last season?

      • January 22, 2020 at 9:39 am

        Chris, Jose was quoting his prediction from last year and making fun of himself in the process.

        • Chris F
          January 22, 2020 at 5:07 pm

          Indeed…apologies Jose.

          Well played.

  6. footballhead
    January 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Like Chris F, I see Cano spending even more time on the IL with nagging and chronic injuries, which will affect his defense even more. Yes his contract will “force” management to give him every opportunity to fail; and fail he will. I just wish it wasn’t in the #3 spot in the order. Unlike Remember69 though, I think he’ll try to hit more HR’s to stay in the lineup. He also will be slower and even worse around the bag, probably the worse in the league. I think Zips will be closer to the truth. My biased lines are:

    AB 435 Avg .248 HR 20 RBI 43 SLG 410 OPS 750

    • January 22, 2020 at 9:47 am

      A .410 SLG and a .750 OPS means a .340 OBP. Given that you think he’s going to hit .248 — that’s an OBP 92 points above his AVG. Last year the spread between AVG and OPS was 51 points and in his 15-year career he’s never had a spread as large as 90.

      It looks like the biggest spread was 71 points, which happened in his suspension year of 2018.

      Of course anything can happen but typically his spread is in the 50s or 60s. Lifetime his OBP is exactly 50 points above his AVG.

      • footballhead
        January 22, 2020 at 12:06 pm

        Oops; sorry Brian and fellow readers………obviously my math doesn’t make sense. Want to guess who failed math in HS?

  7. TexasGusCC
    January 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    560 PA’s
    72 R
    79 RBI
    24 HR

  8. MattyMets
    January 21, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    400 PA
    12 HR
    68 RBIs

  9. Peter Hyatt
    January 22, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Will the Mets hire a strong manager they cannot fully control?

    Broadie & his iPhone prefer “thinking outside the box”—- I.e. inexperienced manager that Broadie can “support.”

    I think Cano gets playing time regardless of production.

    I think IL for hamstring & calf injuries—having to sprint after not running out balls in play.

    14 HRs
    62 RBIs

  10. Metsense
    January 22, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Cano had on .569 OPS when facing LHP in 2019. In 2020 , this 37 year old should sit and rest against LHP and also bat lower in the order. If Cano would be used properly then his OPS+ should be 100+. But alas, BVW thinks that Cano is 25 years old. On this basis, I make my projection that Cano will duplicate his 25 year old season.
    271/305/410/715. 14 HR 72 RBI 475 PA

    • January 22, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for the laugh!

    • Remember1969
      January 22, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Interesting approach – that works well on a lot of levels . .

  11. TJ
    January 22, 2020 at 9:18 am

    I will go optimistic on Mr. Cano. Yes, he is one year older, and yes, who knows what his nutritional “supplements” are at this point. But, given the emergence of some other players, he can hit a bit lower in the line-up, with less pressure. Hopefully, the increase in shifts will offset some of his range issues. Hopefully, he can avoid getting plunked in the wrist, which I think really set him back a bit last year. Lastly, maybe he will go back to his lack of hustle, which look bad and cost an out here or there, but will reduce the likelihood of a leg injury to some degree.

    285/330/460 16 HR 75 RBI 480 PA

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