NEW YORK -- In a lineup loaded with sexy names and long track records, it was Robinson Cano -- still ripening through six years in the Majors and having just made a modest (by his team's standards) $9 million -- who was no doubt the Yankees' most consistent hitter in 2010.
So if only one Yankees player was going to notch an American League Silver Slugger Award this year, Cano had to be the guy. And that's exactly what happened on Thursday, when Cano -- not Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter or Jorge Posada -- was given the honor for the second time in his young career.
The 28-year-old can now put that trophy right next to his 2010 AL Gold Glove Award, further establishing the fact that he can pretty much do it all right now.
"Everybody in the league would want to have a guy like that on their team," Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson said recently. "It's great that we have [Cano], and it's great that he's doing the things he's able to do. He's got one of the most dangerous bats in the game."
In earning his first Silver Slugger Award since 2006, Cano ranked among the top 10 in the AL in batting average (.319), home runs (29), RBIs (109), OPS (.914), doubles (41) and runs (103) in 2010.
With regards to fellow AL second basemen, Cano basically blew everyone out of the water. His batting average was the highest by 40 points; he drove in 34 more runs than anybody else, had a lead in OPS of nearly 300 points and hit three more homers than the second-place AL second baseman (Aaron Hill).
AL SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS
The American League winners of the Silver Slugger Awards, with the number each has won in his career.
Joe Mauer, Twins
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Carl Crawford, Rays
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers
Thanks to that, and a slick glove, Cano joins Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Rockies stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki as players to win Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards this year. Last season, Teixeira and Jeter accomplished that feat for the Yankees.
"I think he's a much better player now than he was a few years back," Jeter said of his up-the-middle partner during the postseason. "He understands the game more. He pays more attention to details, he has an approach and he tries to stick with it."
While settling into the No. 5 spot if the Yankees' order -- behind Teixeira and A-Rod, respectively -- Cano was a consistent menace.
Cano batted .322 with runners in scoring position, and he hit at least .292 in every month of the season except July, when he sported a .276 batting average. The lefty-hitting Dominican carried his production into the playoffs, when he hit .348 with a record-tying four home runs in the AL Championship Series.
Perhaps Cano can carry it into an AL Most Valuable Player Award, too.