Lorenzo Cain is a fantastically talented player whose biggest weakness is his ability to stay on the field. Injuries plagued him early in his career, but he was able to stay relatively healthy during the Royals' two post-season runs in 2014 and 2015. Cain admited having to dial it back a bit on the field in order to stay healthy, but he injured himself in 2016 with a hamstring injury trying to beat out a groundball that would cost him a month of action. He would end up missing the entire month of September as well with a wrist injury, and his total of 103 games played was his lowest since 2012.
If he can stay healthy, Cain is an elite player. Here are Lorenzo's numbers over the last three seasons if you pro-rate them to 162 games.
|Per 162 games||.300||.347||.436||13||79||92||31||112||6.5|
He has played about 77% of Royals games over those seasons, mostly due to Yost giving him time off to rest him, but he did miss his time in 2016 due to hamstring and wrist injuries, and had a stint on the disabled list in 2014 for a groin injury.
Lorenzo posted his highest walk rate in three seasons last year at 7.1%. He was having a fine power season too, with eight home runs in his first 49 games with a .456 slugging percentage. However, he hit just one home run after May 31, with an ISO of just .084. Perhaps his power was sapped due to issues with his wrist he was trying to play through.
Cain's stolen base number fell in half, and he had just 1.2 Baserunning Runs, not a surprise since he had a hamstring injury. Cain will be 31 in April, so we could see his speed decline. His defense, however, continues to be top-notch. If you pro-rate his innings in center field last year to match the innings he played in 2015, his Defensive Runs Saved and UZR are pretty similar. He remains an elite defender capable of covering Kauffman's vast center field.
Lorenzo is hitting a very crucial season for his career. He is hitting free agency rather late in his career, and with his age and injury history, he might not get fully rewarded for putting up some elite-level performances the last few seasons. Hopefully a strong 2017 season will not only benefit the Royals, but Lorenzo as well, with the possibility that perhaps Cain can continue playing in Kansas City beyond this season.