Projecting the 2018 Seattle Mariners: Robinson Cano
2018 promises to both an important and exciting year for the Seattle Mariners. The window is all but closed, and the Mariners have one last shot to end their playoff drought.
With Jerry Dipoto acknowledging that the Mariners are all but done adding to their roster, the Mariners will have to make do with what they have. Do they have the players to make it happen? We cannot be sure, but we can make reasonable estimates, or projections.
Projections are a tricky business. There are numerous projection systems, including Steamer and Zips. Our projection system will not be as sophisticated as those. Instead, we will combine 3-year averages, gut feelings, trend lines, and other factors.
In this series, we will be breaking down the projected 25 man roster, as well as a handful of other notable players. Now, without further ado, we present our projections for the 2018 Seattle Mariners.
We begin our list with the highest paid hitter in Seattle, future Hall of Famer Robinson Cano. The 2017 season was a disappointment for Cano, especially coming off his excellent 2016. However, Cano was a still a solid contributor, slashing .280/.338/.453, culminating into a 3.4 bWAR season.
However, if the Mariners are to compete for a playoff spot in 2018, they need more from Cano. It is highly unlikely we will see another 2016 from Cano, who slashed .298/.350/.533 with 39 home runs.
Instead, when combining his 3 year averages, with age, trend, and our various other factors, we arrive at the following projection:
Sodo Mojo’s Robinson Cano 2018 Projection: 637 PA, 170 Hits, 35 Doubles, 1 Triple, 24 HR, 46 BB, 92 RBI, .288/.339/.472
All in all, we are projecting a good season for Cano. In addition his OBP stabilizing, we see Cano hitting for more power in 2018. The real question for Cano’s overall value comes from his defense. In 2016 Cano posted a solid defensive season, including saving 11 runs according to Fangraphs DRS (defensive runs saved) metric.
Yet in 2017, Cano posted a 0 DRS, making him drop from great to average. The drop in his defense, and perhaps power, in 2017 can likely be attributed to lower leg injuries that plagued him 2017. We would love say that the leg injuries will not repeat in 2017, but Cano is 35 years old. These type of nagging injuries are common in older players.
Therefore, we must project more of the same in 2018. Could Cano come back and hit 30 home runs, playing sparkling defense at second? Absolutely. But remember, projections are not just what we want to happen. Rather, they are a tool to say, this is what we think is most likely to happen.
Next: 5 Trade Packages for Mariners Ace James Paxton
For the Mariners, a repeat of 2016 would be incredible for their playoff chances. However, even modes improvement in the power and defense metrics should make Cano a 4 win player, with the potential for one final MVP caliber season still lurking in the shadows.