Cano vs. Pedroia

Godzilla goes to Boston
On being a fan (and not being Jeff Pearlman)

The New York-Boston rivalry goes beyond wins and losses, extending down to the individual players. In the 90’s it was Jeter vs. Nomar, a few years ago it was Posada vs. Varitek, and nowadays you’ve got Cano vs. Pedroia in a second base matchup. Both are obviously tremendous young players, but they go about their business in different ways. Jack Curry spoke to injured Mets infielder (kinda redundant, no?) Alex Cora about which player he’d prefer, to which he essentially said Pedroia because “people are going to say [Pedroia] is going to show up every day and [Cano] might not.”

That mentality comes through again in this conveniently timed follow-up by Joel Sherman.  Sherman polled seven executives about which second sacker they’d take, and all seven said Pedroia because he “has better makeup and gives his all every day.” He also noted that several execs “kept telling me Cano was erratic on D,” which Sherman (and I) disagree with. There’s certainly merit to guys who play hard all the time, but there’s no denying that Cano has more more talent and raw ability, and both articles reflect that.

Let’s not pretend that there aren’t some stereotypes involved here. The Dominican Cano is often be called lazy, or boneheaded, or something along those lines when he has the audacity to fail at something in a game of failure. Pedroia, short and white, fits the mold of a “grinder” and someone that “plays the game the right way,” something you absolutely never hear about non-caucasian players. But just look at last night’s game, when Pedroia was thrown out at third by ten feet trying to stretch a double into a triple. What would have been said about Cano if the roles were reversed? And then of course, there’s this.

Look, Robbie Cano is a great young player who’s guilty of the occasional brianfart. After an MVP season last year, Pedroia now lags behind Cano in AVG (.296 to .311), SLG (.440 to .499), OPS (.811 to .842), XBH (47 to 54), and VORP (27.5 to 29.4). Pedroia’s great, but the reputation far exceeds the reality right now. When it comes to Robbie, I think this great quote from Bossman Junior fits him perfectly (Upton was talking about himself at the time, but it still applies):

“Just because of the way I carry myself, some people say I’m lazy. I’ve heard that my whole life. Or I don’t work hard, or I don’t play hard sometimes. I can’t help that I make some things look easier than they really are.”

Godzilla goes to Boston
On being a fan (and not being Jeff Pearlman)
  • Rich

    Gosh, who cares. Last time I checked, baseball is a team game. Why does baseball attract so many idiotic sports writers?

  • Reggie C.

    Much of this lingering malaise over Cano’s abilities comes from last season’s frustrating campaign. Cano has rebounded like a champ though, & if he stays steady to the end , i really believe the Cano supporters will increase in number.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    Something not pointed out….how long will Pedroia’s all or nothing swing last? When the bat speed starts to go and he needs to cheat, I think he will struggle. Cano’s swing is so balanced and is not a full-effort type swing. I think Cano will age better than Pedroia.

    Also I strongly agree that there is something racial in the whole Pedroia gritty/Cano lazy meme. It should come down to talent and performance. Thus far in their careers they have been pretty equal, but right now I’d take Cano by a tiny bit.

    • vin

      Agreed… and don’t forget


      Those are his Home and Away OPS splits, respectively.

    • CT Yankee

      Spot on about the bat speed. Reminds me a bit of Chuck knoblauch

    • Dwight

      As a dominican player Cano may “age” a few years just like Tejada and Guerrero, to name two. Dominicans tend to not really age well, although that may have been affected by the fact that a large portion were using PED at such a young age and for a long period of time. Anyone arguing for Cano should take into account that these are major league GM’s and front office personnel who have picked Pedroia, and to think that we know more than them is ridiculous.

    • Ross

      Yeah, it’s racial- because no one ever accused guys like Bernie Williams or Ken Griffey Jr. of “playing the right way.”

      Everyone said those guys where lazy and took plays off because they’re black.

      Clearly, given the choice between either of those guys and a “hard worker” like David Wells or Jon Kruk all of those racist GM’s mentioned in the article would take the white guys.

      Face it, they picked the midget over Cano because he had a better year last year, and doesn’t freak out if you bat him higher than 7th or 8th in the order. Cano’s defence has come along way this year, and he’s putting up slightly better numbers at the plate than his Boston counterpart.
      Taking either guy is a win for almost any GM in baseball right now.

  • Whitey14

    I would agree that Cano PROBABLY has more offensive talent than Pedroia, but I would remind people who continually bash Pedroia for being gritty, gutty and a grinder, that he’s not the one saying those things, it’s the media. Also, I’ve seen Cano make some very nice defensive plays this season, but overall, I still don’t think he’s Pedroia’s equal with the leather.

    • The Zack

      So says the guy with the name “whitey” :)

      • Cooz

        It’s always race with some people…Geeees!!!

    • Tank the Frank

      Exactly, it is the media. But the fact is that they are probably blinded by team bias and race favoritism.

      I have seen ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with which to label Pedroia as a leader of that team other than his bitching and moaning when he’s called out on strikes.

      • Tommy

        Oh, goodness, thank you. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he thinks everything that happens to him is a direct shot at him. Why is this admirable? Why doesn’t this annoy everyone like it does me?

    • Jamal G.

      Agreed on all points.

      • Lanny

        Its the same media who will take knives out for anyone threateneing those records of the great Babe Ruth.

        • Tommy


  • Zack

    You covered everything I was going to say. Cano has more talent, but because Pedroia is undersized, grows a beard, and dives for balls he has no chance at, while Cano is smooth and ‘lazy’ that means that Pedroia is better in some people eyes.

    Media members do the same thing all the time with the Yankees, they look for the smallest things to pick against them. You guys had a prior post about Olney not picking Yankees because what they had too much new faces coming in or something? Or adding Smoltz was huge because hes future HOFer, which is false logic.

    • Pete

      You call that a beard? The man looks like he should be playing banjo on some porch in Mississippi.

      That, or ripping me off for transmission work in some podunk body shop 90 miles from town.

    • Travis G.

      “and dives for balls he has no chance at…”

      haha. so true.

      • steve (different one)

        unfortunately, decorum prevents me from turning this into a joke about his brother.

        yeah, i know….BOOOOO!!!

  • Tank the Frank

    Effing awesome post Mike. If sports writers are going to spew out this nonsense year after year, then we have the right to refute it. Dustin Pedroia – and many other Red Sox players – have been labeled by the MSM as gritty and gamers. So then it’s no surprise that this is the mainstream view of said players. Anyone who has studied journalism knows about Agenda Setting. The media can tell you what to think and how to think it, sometimes seemingly innocently enough. That is in full force here.

    We watch Cano play every game and so we see him make his share of blunders. It’s very interesting to see Pedroia make his share of mistakes and see the shoe on the other foot. Meanwhile, back in reality – Cano has Pedroia beat in almost every aspect of the game that can’t be quantified by grit. The race issue is also interesting. It’s very thought provoking.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Why do New York writers hate their home team players so much? I guess negativity sells papers.

    • Lanny

      Who hates the home team? The job of a columnist is to get people talking. I think he has in this case hasnt he?

  • gxpanos

    You know what I love about this whole thing? Cano was an iffy prospect, Dusty was a SECOND ROUNDER. Look at Pedroia’s stats from ASU (where he took Kinsler’s job! That All-Star 2B on the Rangers!) and the minors:

    He never hit below .300 or OBP’s less then .384 except as a 21-year old in Pawtucket. He did two years in AAA; the second year he was back to normal. The point being: EVERYONE KNEW PEDROIA WAS GOOD HIS ENTIRE CAREER. He’s literally NEVER been bad. He was a top prospect. It’s just ridiculous the mythology that’s grown around him.

    Cano, on the other hand, has numbers in the minors that ARENT that impressive. Cashman almost traded him a bunch of times, and by most accounts, he was a pleasant surprise in the bigs. Sure, he always had tools, but he’d never put them together, like, you know, that dude who hit .400 as a sophmore at a D1 program: Pedroia.

    Now, I’d still take Pedroia, probably. Why would UZR be THAT far off for a 2B? But my point is, the narratives should be REVERSED.

    • Tank the Frank

      Very good points.

    • Zack

      although Pedroia performed in the minors, there were ALWAYS questions about his huge swing and if he could ever make it in the majors. He hit below .200 when he first got called up in 06, and sucked in the beginning of 07.

      • gxpanos

        Pedroia was one of those things where some people were like, “his swing is unorthodox…but he still gets it done…let’s see about the next level…” At some point, maybe when he OPS’d .917 in AA, or .810 in AAA, you have to start saying, “does the swing matter?”

        It may matter in 7 years when he loses bat speed, but I think it was pretty clear that Dusty was going to be a player.

        Also, who wrote him off because of a bad call-up and bad first month in ’07? Since when do SSS determine a career? It was only WEEI alarmists who said he’d never make it.

  • rbizzler

    Brav-fucking-o, Mike. There is no denying that Lil’ Dusty P is a baller, but the hyperbole regularly aimed at Robbie is ridiculous.

  • JSquared

    Offensivley Pedroia reached his ceiling last year, which he probably won’t do again. Cano’s ceiling is around .325 25 HR and 100 RBI with a Gold Glove.

    i’ll take Cano on his laziest day.

  • The Zack

    The hype around Pedroia fits right into Boston fan and media mythology. I mean, this is a town that has “Boston Dirt Dogs” as part of its major newspaper’s website. He’s only the latest of a whole string of players who are beloved not so much for their actual talent, whatever that might be, but because of their supposed “dirt dog” mentality. Varitek, Youkilis, Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, Damon when he was there, Greenwell and on and on. Heck, this is a town that has embraced Brian freaking Scalabrine…

    And on the flip side, just look at how people will still spew out the nonsense about how Cano NEEDED Bowa to motivate him, and only with Bowa could he ever be a good player.

    And you hear that about so many Dominican players, no matter how good they are, they could always be better “if they really dedicated themselves…”

    • JMK

      “And you hear that about so many Dominican players, no matter how good they are, they could always be better “if they really dedicated themselves…”

      Not Papi. He took steroids because he wanted to dedicate his life to being the best. But all the others are lazy. Especially Manny and A-Rod!

      • Lanny

        All the black players in Boston right now agree with you. All 0 of them.

    • PL

      “Greenwell and so on”

      err no. He’s 1988, Dirt Dogs is a stupid 2003 saying.

  • thomas

    Cano’s WAR this season is 2.8, Pedroia’s 3.9, enough said.

    • CT Yankee

      Is it really? There is a saying in statistics, the more derived a statistic is the more likely it is to be BS

    • Tank the Frank

      Pedroia usually bats second or leadoff.

      • whozat


        WAR is agnostic to that manner of stuff.

        • Tank the Frank

          Meaning he would get more PAs and be in a position in the batting order to score more runs and drive in more runs. That matters, no?

    • Chris

      But Cano leads in VORP. They supposedly measure the same thing, so the question is which is more accurate.

      • Lanny

        You can’t use stats as your be all and end all. Use your brain and common sense. WAR VOPR etc dont tell the success of a player or team. Its a tool. And only a tool.

    • steve (different one)

      only if you take UZR, and therefore WAR, as completely infallible is it “enough said”.

  • The Zack

    Oh, and its pretty hard to argue that Cano isn’t the overall better offensive player. Even with Cano’s putrid and well below average year last year, he has the same career OPS+ of Pedroia. This year’s slugging of .440 is actually directly in line with his 2007 season, making last season seem like the outlier…But time will tell…

    The other problem, I think, is the difference in plate approach. While Pedroia has that aggressive, big swing, Cano has the smooth, almost slow looking swing. Cano is a rhythm and timing hitter, which of course leaves him prone to those famous Cano slumps.

    It also of course gives him the potential for 2006 type seasons, which I’m not sure Pedroia is really capable of.

  • Ross

    People always say that Alex Rodriguez “plays the game the right way.” He is non-caucasian.

    The fact that you say a guy “playing the game the right way” is “something you absolutely never hear about non-caucasian players” is hyperbole I would expect from the NY Post, or Michael Kay – not River Ave Blues. I stopped reading when I got to that point in this piece.

    Full-disclaimer – Robinson Cano frustrates the hell out of me and I would take Pedroia over him. Joe P. has accused me of “racism” in my criticism of Cano, and now you are claiming stereotypes when people choose the reigning AL MVP over him going forward. I think you guys are pulling that card a bit much.

    • The Zack

      Um, really? People say a lot of things about A-Rod, and almost all of them are all about he needs to just shut up and play the game. AKA, he doesn’t play the game right because he is a prima donna, phony, bush league, or whatever.

      The whole stupidity of the “scrappy play the game the right way” argument is that so much of it is predicated on offfield antics too. On the field, Pedroia would “never” slap the ball going up the first base line, fold in the clutch, or be more concerned with his image, and off the field, he would never pose for questionable pictures in magazines, date old hags, and all that other crap.

      Of course, its all a load of BS, since Pedroia actually has done much of that…

      • JMK

        Has he tapped Paula Abdul or Cindy Lauper and no one told me???

      • steve (different one)

        On the field, Pedroia would “never” slap the ball going up the first base line

        except, of course, when he did….

    • rbizzler

      Not sure I agree with you on Alex. While he has never been accused of being lazy, he has consistently been labeled as a me-first, stats-driven player. Just look at all of the criticism heaped on him for things like the ‘hey’ play in Toronto and the slap play against Boston. The reaction to both of those plays was to call Alex ‘bush league,’ while accusing him of not playing the game the right way.

      One has to look no further than the difference in fan/media perceptions of Abreu and Rowand for evidence of bias against Latino players. One guy is selfish and scared while the other is labeled tough and a gamer/team guy, despite the fact that Bobby is a far superior player.

      But go ahead and prefer Pedroia to Robbie because you *think* that Robbie isn’t trying when he makes a mistake.

    • Tank the Frank

      A-Rod? The guy helled “HA!” in the middle of a popup and you would have thought he raped a kitten. I’ve never heard anyone other than YES announcers say he “plays the game the right way,” although he has often been praised for his work ethic.

      Although saying “playing the game the right way” is “something you absolutely never hear about non-caucasian players” is an exaggeration. I agree with you there.

      But I think you are missing the point of this piece. You can choose Pedroia over Cano if you like. That’s your choice. Mike is simply pointing out that many of these “MLB execs” and “experts” choose Pedroia over Cano purely based on the FALSE stereotype that Cano does not play hard while Pedroia is “gritty” a “leader” and a “gamer.” Their opinion is purely conjecture, and has no credible evidence. And they think this despite the fact that Cano’s career numbers are very similar and/or otherwise better than Pedroia’s.

      • Salty Buggah

        Well said.

    • Zack

      HA! When has ARod ever done anything ‘right’???

    • Lanny

      You cant use A-Rod as your guy here. He has as many detractors as he has defenders even if he does play really hard.

  • Dela G

    I dont give a flying bag of crap about what the sports people say, i’ll take cano any day of the week

  • Ross

    One correction – people always said that A-Rod played the game the right way until the PED outing. He still hustles, runs the bases well and is fundamentally one of the best players in the game. He is non-caucasian.

    • Al

      Well, technically Jeter isn’t 100% caucasian either, but in the public’s mind he is. A-Rod is from Miami and speaks perfect english. Cano is from the Dominican (right?) and speaks with a heavy accent. It’s not quite the same thing. He learned how to play baseball in Latin American circles, unlike A-Rod or Jetes.

      • Tank the Frank

        Jeter’s not black.

        /Gary Sheffield’d

        • Jack

          Jeter’s not all the way black.

          /Gary Sheffield’d

          • sabes

            This conversation is amusing. It’s not too long ago (and still around now in parts of the country) that people thought that if you had even one drop of African blood in you, you were black. Now we have people saying that Jeter isn’t “all the way black”. Very interesting. It seems that some people might not want Jeter to be black.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          What’s Sheff’s take on Obama in that regard

    • Salty Buggah

      OK, that’s the exception, not the rule. So is Pujols. While it is bit overblown, (it being the “playing the game the right way” is “something you absolutely never hear about non-caucasian players”), it’s also true. Cano and BJ Upton (even Hanley Ramirez) get caught in that generalization.

  • YankeeScribe

    Even with his bad year last season, Cano has a longer track record of success at the ML level. They’re both equally great players. It’s difficult to say one is better than the other. I’ll take Cano’s range over Pedroia’s and I’ll take Dusty’s plate discipline over Robbie’s…

  • Joseph M

    I think the Cano problem is one of reality compared to expectations. I’ve read and heard those in the media speculate on Cano hitting over 30 homers, winning batting titles, hitting in the third hole etc… Rather than fans evaluating his accomplishments they spend their time cursing his failure to achieve what was expected.

    As Yankee fans we know of Mantle’s struggles in the 50’s with the Yankee fan base, when he won the triple crown in 56 the attitiude of some was, why doesn’t he do that every year!

  • Todd

    Excellent write-up.

    I have made a similar point about the perception of AJax on this site. Even though he played baseball since childhood, he is rarely talked about without the fact that he played basketball and has a lot to learn. There is an underlying implication that because he was a two sport star and an athlete, that he gets by on athleticism and has more to learn than other prospects his age. When the reality is that a lot of professional baseball players played multiple sports, including Melancon who was all state in three sports. Also, while he does have a lot to learn, does he really have more to learn than most 22 year-olds?

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I was under the impression that Ajax never even knew what baseball was until the Yankees drafted him. :)

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Jeter vs. Nomar? Jeter
    Posada vs. Captain America? Posada
    Cano vs. Pedroia? Cano

    Time will tell on the third like it told on the first two.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I have an inkling that it will turn out the same way the first two did.

    • JSquared

      LOL, what’s next… Teixeira Vs. Martinez? Sports Writers and their fantasies…

  • Mac

    I’m waiting for Jim Rice to give his learned opinion and clear up the whole Cano vs. Pedroia debate.

    • Whitey14

      He already gave it in a subtle manner by doing Sullivan Tire commercials with Pedroia ;-)

  • Lanny

    You don’t ever hear white players get called lazy or gliding by on talent. You hear gritty and hustling. Pedroia looks better to fans and the media because he wears paint under his eyes and is 5’8. Cano has more talent and doesn’t have to dive for every ball.

    • Cameron Frye

      When J.D. Drew was with the Cardinals, the consensus was exactly what you said: he’s lazy and glides on talent. People said the same thing about Boomer Wells all the time. Do you even bother to think about things before you write them?

  • Januz

    I really despise the Red Sox, and the mainstream media that fawns over them. But that being said, I prefer Pedroia and despite the numbers, it is not even close. First off, Cano plays with a Hall Of Fame Shortstop, a Hall of Fame Third Baseman, and a First Baseman that is starting to build up a Cooperstown-type resume, while being the best defensive player at his position since the days of Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez (I do not care what computer generated statistical packages say about Teixeira’s defense, he is that good). Pedroia plays next to different Shortstops (Which effects continuity on positioning and turning a double play which is huge). Finally, Pedroia is the second best at his position (Chase Utley), and is a Gold Glove winner. I hate to say it, but I would choose Pedroia.

    • steve (different one)

      what an insane argument.

      you are entitled to pick Pedroia, it’s perfectly defensible, but i don’t get the argument about his SS’s. does that cause him to be less of an offensive player than Cano?

      also, ALL of us are a little guilty of Yankee/Sox rivalry bias here. Pedroia is second to Chase Utley? huh? even if you prefer him to Cano, has anyone noticed that the best 2nd baseman in the AL East is NEITHER of these 2? has anyone noticed Aaron Hill? or Ben Zobrist?

      what about Kinsler?

      are you telling me that Pedroia, even if he’s better than Cano, is better than all of those guys?

    • Tommy

      Just because A-Rod is a HOFer (minus the roids) doesn’t have anything to do with his defense. That having been said, he is a much worse 3B than he was a SS (not that he’s BAD, per se, but he makes his fair share of mistakes).

      Jeter was a great defender in his prime but it’s not really shaking out that way anymore…aside from Teixeira I’d say Cano is probably the best defender in that IF. And if not, best MI.

      I’d rather have a player who has way more tools and doesn’t bitch about everything all the time.

  • Brian

    Jeter outlived Nomar

    Posada outlived Varitek

    Cano will outlive Pedroia in this league.

    The Sox players were great at their respective peaks, but the Yankee versions have been consistently good at their positions for longer.

    • Grant

      The fact that Jeter outlived Nomar and that Posada outlived Varitek has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not Cano or Pedroia will last longer. It’s not as if there is some inherent ability in Yankee players to have longer primes that transcends executive and personnel changes.

  • Pingback: The Cano vs. Pedroia Debate Rages

  • Don

    I agree on everything said just above, but I have long been on the bandwagon of selling high on Cano.

    I see him as having a Soriano like career. Trade him in the offseason for another big time SP or a slew of prospects and go sign Figgins, Derosa, or Hudson to a 1 or 2 year deal. They’ll be a better team for it.

    • Tommy

      Boo, boo, boo.

      First of all, Soriano (despite his awful season this year) is my favorite player and had been since then. That broke my heart.

      Second of all, they got the BEST PLAYER in the game for Soriano. Literally, they could not have received a better prize, unless they had acquired Pujols (which obviously wouldn’t have made sense for anyone).

      Despite the fact that Soriano is my favorite player, Cano is much better than him. A much, much better defender who will not HAVE to move to the outfield, and a much smoother, sweeter swing that will yield higher averages. And he can hit for above average power for a 2B, though not as much power as Soriano.

      Crazy as it sounds, they have pitching now. I don’t have ANY complaints with a rotation next year that looks like Sabathia, Burnett, Chamberlain, Hughes, Wang/Pettitte. You don’t need 3 ace types plus two future front of the rotation pitchers (Hughes and Joba).

      And if they were to sign Figgins (only real asset is speed), DeRosa (inconsistent) or Hudson (okay, fine) for a year or two, what happens after? How does this make them a better team?

  • Peter Lacock

    I don’t think bringing race or nationality into this debate is the right thing to do. I also don’t think stereotyping sportswriters is taking the high road, especially when criticizing them for stereotyping.
    I happen to agree with the sportswriters in that Cano is by far more physically talented, in every way, than Pedroia. I also agree that Pedroia is more disciplined from the shoulders up, last nights failed triple notwithstanding. I attribute that to (my MVP) Jeter’s outstanding instincts and I’m somewhat surprised this play isn’t gettng more hype. How’s he going to win MVP when a remarkable play like that is barely mentioned?
    Cano hasn’t yet learned to consistently play smart, although in his defense, for the last (about) 6 weeks he’s been helping the pitchers less and has had a much better approach at the plate.

    • misterd

      Agreed. Were there any Yankee fans last year who thought Cano was benched too late? Is there any one who thinks Pedroia needs to be benched to get his head out of his ass?

      And don’t tell me that only white players get slappped with the “grinder/plays the game the right way” label. Most of those players are, but that’s because most players are white.

  • big baby

    sorry, but pedroia is better than cano.

    cano was awful last year while pedroia won (and deserved) an MVP.

    this year cano is outproducing pedroia offensively by thinnest of margins, wOBA .358 for Cano and .357 for Pedroia.

    and pedroia is a markedly better defender.

    Pedroia is a phenomenally talented player who gets compared to Eckstein because he’s short and white. In reality, he both works harder and is more talented than Cano.

    • big baby

      pedroia kills him over the last 3 years.

    • Zack

      “he both works harder and is more talented than Cano”

      really? the dude who admitted he needed to get in shape during the offseason? and then still came into ST with a gut?

      ‘works harder’ please dude

      • big baby

        ok, fine.

        he’s just a markedly better baseball player than cano, who in addition to being short, white and scrappy, has much more pure talent than cano.


    • PL

      No way did Pedroia deserve that MVP over Youkilis.

      • Tommy

        Oh, no, he did. But Cano is still better. Awards are just award, they aren’t real measures of talent.

    • Tommy

      Yeah, because every player wants to be compared to David Eckstein.

  • John


    Cano aint got nothing. Pedroia is better Cano is lazy deal with it.

    • Doug

      Try harder.

  • steve (different one)

    let’s just boil this down to the nuts and bolts:

    Cano has the higher ceiling, but Pedroia has the higher floor.

    that’s really all it is. Pedroia won’t have a season like Cano’s 2008 b/c he has better plate discipline, but Robbie has more power and will sometimes have offensive seasons that are far superior to Pedroia’s.

    so, it’s a matter of taste. either are preferable, really. they are similar players in value, they just come about it from different directions.

    also, they both play in home stadiums that fit their own skillsets like a glove. it’s an intereting dynamic.

    if one is better than the other, it’s not by much. it’s just a matter of how risk averse you are. if you prefer consistency, Pedroia is your guy. if you want the chance for a 30 HR season, Cano is your guy.

    this debate is no where in the same ballpark as the insanity of Posada vs. Varitek.

    • big baby

      i don’t disagree with this, except that it completely overlooks defense, where pedroia owns a sizable advantage.

      • steve (different one)

        there is nothing sizable about Dustin Pedroia

    • Tommy

      “Cano has the higher ceiling, but Pedroia has the higher floor.”


  • Andrew

    Just an observation about the racial comment re:”Plays the game the right way”, and how it only gets applied to white guys. I assure you, in St.Louis we remark daily how Albert plays the game the right way. He beats you with the bat, either power, or taking it the other way, he beats you on the bases-stealing a base, taking an extra base-the man is the smartest ballplayer I’ve had the pleasure to watch in the last forty years, and when he’s done putting rusn on the board, then he beats you on defense. He is always switched “on”, he plays the game the right way, everyday. It became apparent very early in his career that we in St.Louis were about to get spoiled rotten by watching an supremely talented individual that combined that with desire and intelligence play for our ballclub.

    Sorry about getting OT, but the remark about “playing the game the right way” set me off.

    For the record, I think Cano is the better player, and will be for the long term.

  • Harry

    First off, I find it ridiculous that people call Cano lazy because of his race. I, a yankees fan, thought he was lazy because of the shit first half he put up last season. He obviously didnt work during that stretch, because right when he started making adjustments and working, he got hot.

    I am a huge fan of Pedroia. He is a grinder. I was a big fan of Cano, until last season. The truth
    is both are above average players with the bat and have proved that. With Cano you get more homers
    (prolly because of the park he plays in) with Pedroia you get more doubles. But, this is what I like the most about Pedroia, with Pedroia you get a career .370 OBP, with Cano you get a .336.

    Also, with Pedroia you get (some) speed (20sbs last year, on pace for 19 this year).
    Cano is 16 for 35 in SB attempts in his career.

    Pedroia is a more disciplined batter, swinging outside the zone only 23.3% this year compared to 30.5% for Cano.

    And then comes fielding. Cano isnt as bad as he seems. And hes showed potential. He was atrocious in 2005 (-22..6 UZR, -21.1 UZR/150), but had a good year in 2007 (11.3 UZR/11.3 UZR/150). In 2007 Cano’s fielding was actually BETTER than Pedroias, although Pedroia was still above average. Of course last year when Cano decide to fuck around and slack off he posted a -8 UZR, more proof that he obviously wasnt working hard enough to live up to his potential.

    Pedroia’s only bad season for fielding was 2006, but the sample size is only 27 games (19 started).

    In conclusion, both can hit. But thats the tip of the iceberg. Cano doesn’t draw enough walks. His .336 OBP is unacceptable. Pedroia’s .370 OBP is starlike. Cano can’t steal bases. Pedroia can. Cano has potential for fielding. Pedroia is consistently above average.

    This doesn’t make Cano a bad player, he can rake, but the truth is Pedroia is a star with a lot more tools than Cano has. Pedroia is truly a 5-tool player and a hat tip to Epstein for grabbing him.

    Cashman still needs to learn how to draft position players, even though he’s done pretty well with pitchers.

    Again, this is all coming from a Yankees fan..

  • Matt L

    The one guy I always compare Cano to is Mario Lemieux. I know they played different sports, but Lemieux was just so talented and graceful that he made everything look so easy that people thought he coasted, I feel that Cano is similar in that he is just so graceful that everything he does looks effortless, and with the lazy-latino stereotype he gets an undeserved bad rap.

  • PL

    Canos home/away OPS splits are even at about 810. Pedroia has 100+ home differential, he’s just another Fenway product, much like the rather pathetic HOFer Jim Rice (720 OPS away from the tiny park where its easy to hit HRs = you arent as good at baseball than the many others that are in the HOF).

    Cano’s career numbers go up significantly if you subtract his terrible outlier season of 2008. He’s definitely not a .336 OBP guy, he’s closer to .350 every year.

    Pedroia is a better defender, no one is arguing that, but play him in any other ballpark, and you arent going to get his obscene Fenway numbers, he’s basically Mark Ellis playing in a hitter-friendly park.

    Im no fan of his MVP win either, that belonged to Youk in every facet of the game. But because of his stature, and the fact that he’s basically as good as all these idiot commentators tell us David Eckstien is (Eckstien is bad at baseball, Pedroia isnt) he gets the win.

    The notion of “grinder” or whatever they call short white guys who look funny while running is one of the most racist things ever allowed to exist in pro sports, Im with you there Mike. Why isnt Mike Cameron called a grinder or “plays the game the right way”? He plays harder than anyone…oh wait he’s not short or white, gotcha.

    • Grant

      How is Cano a .350 OBP guy as opposed to a .336 one? In his five years as a pro he’s had an OBP of .350 or higher twice, and once was his .342 average season, which clearly was an outlier. His career walk rate is 4.3%, so yeah, I’d say .336 sounds about right.

  • Ryan

    Pedroia has similar or better batting numbers as a whole over his career, and is statistically a better defensive second baseman. His defense has to cancel out any advantage that Cano would have offensively, at a premium defensive position.

  • Ted

    Spiffy. Take either. I’ll have Aaron Hill, thanks.

  • Real Fake Sports

    I don’t think you can go wrong with either.

  • Cameron Frye

    I can’t believe you played the race card.

    To quote,
    “…a “grinder” and someone that “plays the game the right way,” something you absolutely never hear about non-caucasian players.”

    Let’s see here: have people said these things about Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams? Pujols? Curtis Granderson, Vlad Guerrero, or David Ortiz? I’m as left-liberal a guy as can be found, but come on, race really didn’t need to be injected into this one.

    If you want to know why Pedroia is valued over Cano, maybe instead of looking to ‘the man’ and his racism, you should look at numbers like UZR, which rates Pedroia’s defense as significantly better than Cano’s, making Pedroia a more valuable player total (Cano’s value is around 12 million, Pedoria’s around 17). Pedoria’s value has been high for three straight years, whereas Cano’s has been up and down.

    But ultimately, it’s because Pedoria is a winner and Cano (so far) has not been one. This is why everyone liked and likes Jeter over Nomar. Jeter was a winner, Nomar was not. And hey, when it comes to the notion of ‘riding on talent’ and ‘being lazy’, what about J.D. Drew? The Cardinals said exactly that when he was with them.

  • Grant

    Even in this so called down year by Pedroia, he has been worth 3.9 WAR as opposed to Cano’s 2.8. That’s a huge difference right there, created mainly by Cano’s sub-par fielding (-3.3 UZR), and 30 point lower OBP. Last year, Pedroia was worth a grant total of 6.1 WAR more than Cano.

  • Pete C.

    Let’s face it they’re both above average 2nd baseman. And the rthings NY fans say about Pedroia would be said by Boston fans if things were reversed.
    I do believe that Pedroia played over his head last year, and I was lambasted on several sites for saying this. This year I believe is proving me right; Pedroia is an above average 2nd baseman. His mvp season was an aberation. And in my opinion he was not worthy.
    Cano on the other hand has far more “upside” because in my opinion he looks so effortless when he does things right, and there’s the rub when he screws up it looks like he’s nonchalanting out there. With him the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Talent wise he probably has more than pedroia, but because Pedroia plays like he does, and everyone loves an underdog Boston’s loveable munchkin will always get the nod over the “talented but enigmatic” Cano.
    But really can we all take a breath and remember we’re talking about 2nd baseman.

  • Hard Hittin’ Whitten

    I don’t know if this article is really a well thought out argument with lackadaisical typing errors like:

    -“Cano has more more talent…”
    -“…guilty of the occasional brianfart” and
    -“The Dominican Cano is often be called lazy…”