2B ROBINSON CANO
The best player on the planet’s best-known baseball team, Cano largely goes unnoticed … unless, of course, he’s choosing participants for the home run derby at the All-Star Game and ticking off an entire city.
Be that as it may, he is the game’s hottest hitter right now and he has a postseason pedigree that really started to take shape the past two seasons. In 14 playoff games combined following the 2010 and ’11 campaigns, Cano hit .333 (19-for-57) with six homers, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored.
This guy, clearly, enjoys the limelight. With Baltimore bearing down on the Yankees during the stretch drive, Cano merely carried New York to the AL East title. In the last nine games of the regular season, he hit .615 (24-for-39) with three homers, 14 RBIs and 11 runs scored. Overall, he hit .313 with 33 homers, 94 RBIs and 105 runs scored in 2012.
Though hardly the only offensive commodity in a lineup that includes Curtis Granderson (43 homers, 106 RBIs, 102 runs scored), Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, Cano typically is the most predictable. In short, he produces on a consistent basis without many lulls.
The pitching staff isn’t quite as potent, although Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes each won 16 games and CC Sabathia remains a top-tier lefty, although he has imploded each of the past two postseasons.
Thing is, this team wins with its offense as a major-league best 245 homers that sparked 804 runs, which ranked second in baseball behind Texas (808), will attest. That being the case, you can expect Cano to spearhead the charge once the Yanks start action Sunday against the winner of Friday’s Texas vs. Baltimore wildcard play-in game.