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I know I’m in the minority with my ranking of Robinson Cano (see my 2B rankings here). I believe he has the ability to challenge for the batting title. Not to mention he should be among the leaders at second base in runs, HRs, and RBIs.

Cano is a notoriously slow starter hitting .271 in April and May and .322 the rest of the way. His OPS is also much lower in those two months.

.705 April, .713 May, .803 June, .903 July, .841 August, .925 September

Last year, though, he hit .366 in April, perhaps because of the World Baseball Classic. If he can learn from his experiences and get off on the right foot,  a monster season could be in order. 

What impresses me is that his home and away splits last year, despite the move to the new Yankee Stadium, were nearly identical.

Home:  314 ABs, 54 runs, 14 HRs, 47 RBIs, .338 average, .912 OPS
Away:  323 ABs, 49 runs, 11 HRs, 38 RBIs, .303 average, .832 OPS

While he had solid home numbers last year, I think they could be even better in 2010. I know he doesn’t give you the speed that Kinsler, Pedroia, or Phillips bring to the table, he does give you a nice blend of power, average, and durability that are lacking in those three.

Prediction:  .340, 110 runs, 28 HRs, 95 RBIs, 5 SBs

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
Minnesota Twins: Joe Nathan
New York Mets: Jason Bay

Here is a list of guys who typically get off to slow starts.  If you draft them, be patient.  If you didn’t take them, they may good buy low candidates.

Ryan Howard
- Howard is a beast so he probably isn’t going to come available, but don’t be discouraged by a slow start.  Last year year he hit .234 with 28 HRs and 84 RBI in 96 games before the All-Star break and .276 with 20 & 62 in the last 66 games.  For his career he hits 47 points higher after the break.

Ichiro Suzuki – Ichiro hit .252 in March & April last year and .323 the rest of the way.  His April swoon may seem uncharacteristic for Ichiro, but he is a .294 hitter in April and a .337 hitter thereafter.  If he struggles early, maybe you can surgically remove him from somebody’s team.

Bobby Abreu
- You may assume a slow start is due to relocation, but remember he hit .269 with just 3 HRs in 28 April games last year.  Historically, April is his worst month.  He has a .282 average and 31 HRs and 154.  He has at least 40 HRs & 170 RBI in every other Month but September (35 & 163).  Plus, he hits .303 in the other months.  He could be primed to take off someone’s hands if he starts slow.

Robinson Canó - Canó hit .246 before the break with 36 Runs and 38 RBI in 93 games and .307 with 34 R & RBIs in 66 games after the break.  He was especially bad in April hitting .151.  He always starts slow.  For his career he hits .257 in April and May and .322 the rest of the month.  This trend is probably too well known to exploit, but it’s worth a shot.

Ryan Zimmerman - Zimmerman started off March/April hitting .233.  He hit .301 the rest of the way.  Last year wasn’t atypical for Zimmerman.  For his career he has hit .237 in March/April and .292 in the other months.  Zimmerman is another one that you may actually be able to get if he starts slow again.

Freddy Sánchez – Freddy hit .226 with 37 Runs before the break in 87 games.  In the last 58 games he hit .346 with 38 Runs.  Historically April is his worst month with a .250 average, compared to .306 from May to September.  He has 20 Runs and 23 RBI in his career compared to and average of 56 Runs and 39 RBI in the other months.  He may be available on your waiver wire come May to give you a little shot in the arm in the Average and Runs department.

Jhonny Peralta - Before June Peralta his .233 with 19 RBI in 48 games (0.40 RBI per game).  After June he hit .294 with 70 RBI in 106 games (0.66 RBI per game).  In 85 career April games he’s hit .226 compared to .274 in other months.

Carlos Peña – Before June Peña hit .220 in 55 games.  He hit .266 the rest of the way.  Historically he has hit .229 before June and .262 in the other months. 

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Here’s a look at Middle Infielders who should bounce back from 2008 seasons that didn’t meet their standards.

Derek Jeter
– I don’t see a huge jump for Jeter, but I expect him to score 100 runs and collect 200 hits, which is something he didn’t do in ’08 (88 & 179).  His .300 is below his .316 career mark, and I expect that to increase to around .310.  I don’t see much movement for Jeter in HRs, RBI, or SBs.

Rafael Furcal – He only played in 36 games last year, so he will easily surpass his 2008 numbers.  Assuming he stays healthy he should hit around .300 with 100 Runs, 175 Hits, 27 Doubles, 6 Triples, 10 HRs, 60 RBI, and 30 SBs.  Furcal hit .357 and was one of the best players in the league in April so don’t expect to get him at a bargain. 
Édgar Rentería
– So Rentería moves on to his sixth team.  Say what you want about him, the guy can hit.  Like most Tigers, Rentería had a down year hitting .270 with 69 Runs, 136 Hits, and 22 Doubles.  His RBIs were at 55, but he only had 57 the year before in Atlanta while hitting a career high .332.  From 2002-2007 he averaged 90.7 Runs, 173.2 Hits, 37.7 Doubles, and hit .303.  I expect he’ll produce somewhere in between last year’s stats and those averages.  That would put him at .287, 80 R, 155 H, and 30 Doubles.

Khalil Greene
– He’s not much of a hitter, but clearly a move to St. Louis from San Diego has to help the paltry .213, 30 R, 83 H, 15 2B, 10 HR, 35 RBI he produced in 2008.  I don’t expect him to reach his 2007 numbers (89 R, 155 H, 44 2B, 27 HR, 97 RBI), but something more in line with what he did from 2004-2006 when he averaged .257, 58 R, 29 2B, 15 HR, and 63.3 RBI.

Robinson Canó
– Canó digressed in 2008 hitting a career low .271.  He’s traditionally a slow starter with April (.237) and May (.271) being his worst two months.  Though he did hit .307 after the All-Star break, he never quite recovered from the .151 he hit in April.  His average wasn’t the only thing that suffered though.  He stats were down across the board.  He’s too good of a hitter in too good of an Offense to struggle again next year.  Hopefully the World Baseball Classic well allow him to hit the ground running on Opening Day.  
Freddy Sánchez
– After hitting .315 in his first three years with the Pirates, Sánchez saw his average drop to .271. In 2006 & 2007 he averaged 191.5 Hits, 47.5 Doubles, 83 RBI.  Last year he had 154, 26, and 52.

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Wednesday, June 25th
Carl Crawford
hit a pair of HRs with 5 RBI.  Bobby Abreu had 3 Hits and 4 RBI.  Carlos Guillen had 4 Hits and 3 RBI.  Jay Payton hit a pair of HRs with 4 RBI.  David Wright smacked a pair of HRs with 3 RBI.  Rick Ankiel had 2 HRs, 3 Runs, and 3 RBI.  Gary Sheffield and Chase Utley each had 4 Hits.  Kelly Johnson, Geovany Soto,  Jose Reyes, Kevin Cash each had 3 RBI.  Dustin Pedroia, Coco Crisp, Derek Jeter (3 Runs), Jose Castillo, Robinson Cano, Jack WIlson, Alex Rios, Evan Longoria (3 RBI), Ross Gload, and Carlos Gomez each had 3 Hits.  Mike Lowell and Brian Buscher each scored 3 Runs.

Eric Stults pitched a Complete Game four-hit Shutout to improve to 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA.  Kyle Kendrick gave up 4 Hits in 8 scoreless Innings to improve to 7-3.  Joba Chamberlain continued to prove The Boss II right by firing 6-2/3 scoreless Innings improving to 2-2 with a 2.03 ERA.  Tim Wakefield knuckled 7 scoreless Innings allowing 2 Hits with 6 Ks to improve to 5-5 with a 3.88 ERA.  Jorge Campillo gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits with 6 Ks in 7 Innings to improve to 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA.  Randy Johnson gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings, but took the Loss.  Barry Zito shocked Giants fans by going 6-2/3 Innings allowing just 1 Run on 4 Hits to improve to 3-11.  Tim Redding gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings, but got a no-decision.  John Maine gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 8-5 with a 3.73 ERA.  James Shields gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings to improve to 5-5 with a 3.76 ERA.  Luke Hochevar gave up 2 Runs in 8 Innings to even his record at 5-5.

Tuesday, June 24th
Chad Tracy and Scott Rolen each drove in 4 Runs.  Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios (3 RBI) each had 4 Hits.  Yadier Molina, Robinson Cano, Freddy Sanchez (3 Runs), Kenji Johjima, Fernando Tatis, Brian Schneider, Torii Hunter, Ryan Doumit, Adam La Roche, Akinori Iwamura, Dewayne Wise, Brian Roberts, Lyle Overbay (3 Runs), and Raul Ibanez (3 RBI) each had 3 Hits.  Gregg Zaun, Richie Sexson, Jim Edmonds, Emil Brown, and Mike Napoli each had 3 RBI.

R.A. Dickey allowed 6 Hits in 7 scoreless Innings to improve to 2-3.  A.J. Burnett gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 7 Ks to even his record at 7-7.  Jonathan “Filthy” Sanchez gave up 1 Run on 5 Hits in 7-2/3 Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 7-4 with a 3.98 ERA.  Aaron Laffey gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in a 6-2/3 Inning no-decision.  Dave Bush gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits to improve to 4-7.  Scott Olsen gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits in a 7 Inning no-decision.  Brian Moehler gave up 1 Run on 5 Hits in 6-1/3 Innings to improve to 4-3.  Eric Hurley gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings, but took the Loss.  Zack Greinke gave up 3 Runs in 6 Innings with 10 Ks to improve to 7-4 with a 3.40 ERA.  Mark Buehrle gave up 1 Run in 8 Innings to improve to 5-6.  Joe Blanton gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings to improve to 4-10.  Jamie Moyer gave up 3 Runs in 6-2/3 innings with 9 Ks, but took the Loss.  Kevin Slowey gave up 4 Hits in 6 scoreless Innings, but got a no-decision.  Jake Peavy gave up 1 Run in 6 Innings with 6 Ks, but also didn’t factor in the decision.

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