George King talked to a bunch of scouts (and the always objective Reggie Jackson) and the decision was nearly unanimous: the American League's best second baseman is Robinson Cano rather than Dustin Pedroia ...
- To be fair, Cano benefits from hitting left-handed in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Yet, Pedroia's splits back the scout up.
In 253 games at Fenway Park, the right-handed hitting Pedroia is hitting .325 (320-for-984) with 25 homers and 130 RBIs. Away from the Green Monster in 247 games he is a .287 (282-for-982) hitter with 22 homers and 95 RBIs.
Cano is a .306 (429-for-1,402) hitter with 47 homers and 208 RBIs in 365 games at the Stadium and a .310 (471-1,521) with 45 homers and 200 RBIs on the road.
The jury's still out on this one. The scouts can say what they like, but the numbers are pretty clear: Pedroia's the better fielder. Those runs count, too. Essentially, they're both $20 million players. But Cano's never had a season as good as Pedroia's 2008, and Pedroia's never had a season as bad as Cano's 2008. Should we base our evaluation on two uncharacteristic seasons? No. But I don't think we should completely ignore them, either.
Cano's probably the better hitter. Pedroia's probably the better fielder. Pedroia's best season (so far) is better than Cano's best, and Pedroia's one year younger than Cano. Overall, they're close. Almost as close as two players can be. But with all due respect to the scouts, if I have to choose one of them I'm choosing Pedroia.