Mariners Season in Review: Robinson Cano

brianhelberg
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The Seattle Mariners played some ugly baseball during the first few months of the 2015 season, and Robinson Cano was a big reason why. The 33-year-old led the M’s to within a game of the postseason in 2014, but Cano and his teammates failed to duplicate their success this year.

Robby was a bit like Jekyll and Hyde this season with the Mariners. The perennial All Star got off to the worst start of his career, hitting just .238 with 4 home runs and 28 RBI through the first three months of the season. However, he heated up big time during the summer. Cano posted a .330 batting average with 17 home runs and 55 RBI over the M’s final 82 games.

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All told, Cano finished the season with a .287 batting average, 34 doubles, 1 triple, 21 home runs and 79 RBI. It was not his best season as a pro, but he avoided catastrophe with his incredibly strong second half.

The Good

Obviously, the second half of Robinson Cano’s season was phenomenal. He teamed up with Nelson Cruz to become the C & C Boys. The presence of Edgar Martinez helped all of the Mariners’ hitters, and Cano was no different. It isn’t a coincidence that Gar was hired 10 days prior to Robby turning his season around.

I was in the M’s clubhouse on Hall of Fame Day, and it was clear that this is Cano’s team. He is the focal point and he sets the tone. Ken Griffey Jr. was on hand to take part in the pregame festivities, and the two of them enjoyed a lengthy conversation.

The best part of Cano’s season was the maturity he demonstrated during his terrible first half. He didn’t let his struggles hurt his confidence, he just kept believing in himself. Cano did not press, he just tinkered his approach slightly and the results were terrific. Robby truly is one of the best hitters is the game, and he proved it this summer.

The Bad

As a whole, Robinson Cano’s .287/.334/.446 was his worst slash line since 2008. He entered the season with five consecutive All Star appearances, but his terrible first half did not warrant a trip to this year’s mid-summer classic. Cano’s strikeout rate went through the roof. He struck out 68 times in 2014, but that number ballooned to 106 this year.

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Cano has a pair of Gold Gloves sitting in his trophy case, however he is not even in the running for one this year. He is silky smooth at second base, but Cano posted -0.5 defensive wins above replacement in 2015. His fielding percentage and range factor were both above average, but he graded out as a poor defender by Baseball Reference.

It was revealed in September that Cano was playing hurt for much of the 2015 season. He underwent surgery to repair sports hernias in October, and is expected to be back to full health when Spring Training opens next February.

The Future

The projections are not overly optimistic for Robinson Cano in 2016. Baseball Reference is predicting Robby will hit .293 with 18 home runs and 76 RBI. FanGraphs is expecting Cano to post a .285 batting average with 18 home runs and 77 RBI. Those numbers are not bad, but hopefully Cano surpasses those figures next year.

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If the Mariners are going to bring postseason baseball back to the Emerald City in 2016, it’s going to take a great campaign from Robby. I think he will carry over his strong second half into next season. Look for Cano to represent the M’s at next year’s All Star Game, and get his batting average back into the .320 range.

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