Any day now, Robbie

Draft tidbits
Yanks take crowbar to Hughes' rib

I was just exchanging emails with a loyal reader on the topic of Robinson Cano. A hot topic for sure, considering his putrid start. To this point, I’ve remained unworried. We saw a similar start from Robbie last year, and I expect he’ll turn around soon enough. But I’d like to take a look at some of Cano’s numbers from the early going, and see if anything indicates that we should be really worried.

Last night, or the night before, someone in the game thread asked why we aren’t platooning Robbie with Alberto for the time being. Simple: He’s not showing any discernible platoon splits. In a tiny, 25 plate appearance sample size, Cano is hitting .150/.320/.300 off lefties. In 89 plate appearances against righties, .151/.180/.221. For his career, Robbie is .309/.337/.498 against righties, and .292/.339/.411 against lefties. So no, I don’t think platooning him is quite the answer.

Here’s the thing that has me optimistic about a turnaround: His batting average on balls in play is .156. That is the second lowest in the entire American League. Incidentally, Giambi is the pits with .119. Last year, Cano’s BABIP was .329. In 06 it was .359, and in his rookie season it was .318. So I think we can expect that he will bring it up yet again.

Also, from April 24 through May 16 last year, he hit just .143/.176/.214. So it’s not like we haven’t seen a prolonged slump before. His line drive percentages are in line from last year (17.4% this year to 16.9% last year), as are his groundball rates (51.1% to 52.2%).

So all considered, I’m fairly confident that Robbie will swing his way out of this slump and back into our good graces in the near future.

Draft tidbits
Yanks take crowbar to Hughes' rib
  • Joey

    Does anyone have any idea why he’s such a slow starter? Could it be the weather? He was hitting like a batting champ in spring training and again he starts off slow.

  • samiamsports

    Now would be a good time for him to break out of this funk that hes in….No Arod No Po and the rest of the line up asides for Hideki and sometimes Abreu is inept….the yanx need a kick start and a dose of cano should do the trick

    • steve (different one)

      seriously. cano is killing the yankees. killing them.

  • Travis G.

    i’m still hoping against hope that Damon is permanently kicked out of the leadoff spot. jeter and abreu are better choices.

    • samiamsports

      I agree only cause they have a much better OBP ….Damon’s is like 50 points lower for his career. (I’m completely guessing)

    • steve (different one)

      this seems like an odd thing to complain about considering how great Damon has been this season.

      • Jamal G.

        I disagree, Johnny Damon is currently on a hot streak, he will not IMO continue this level of production generally for the 2008 season. When Robinson Cano gets established this season I would still like to see Bobby Abreu in the lead off spot with Derek Jeter, Cano and Alex Rodriguez to follow.

        • steve (different one)

          here is my point: who cares?

          on the long list of yankee problems, i’d put this one well near the bottom.

          the batting order just isn’t that important.

  • adam b.

    As much as i hate how much of a slow starter robbie is, you’ve got to just accept it at this point, he’s done it before he’ll go through a ridiclous hot streak and we’ll all be gushing how great he is and how he should be our number three hitter (which i agree with). he did the same exact thing last year and he still ended with 20hrs and 97rbis approximately he’s the best second baseman in the AL and he’s at least in the discussion with utley, as hard as that is to believe during his ridiclously hot start, considering that robbie is superior in the field and younger. thats why im not freaking about the slow start sure we dont have posada and a-rod for the time being we’re staying afloat in the division without them AND cano still isn’t hitting. he’ll be fine baseball is about the long run

  • Jamal G.

    Ahhh, the value of sabermetrics. And yet mediots still see it as something a bunch of “nerd living in their mother’s basement” conjure up to “ruin” the simple enjoyment of watching a baseball game.

    I have not worried about Robinson Cano for one day this season, nor have I the entire team. It’s May 1st and despite the preception of Yankees doom and gloom, we are THREE games out of 1st place in this year’s vaunted AL East. I think everyone needs to just sit back and chill.

    BTW, don’t think that just because I haven’t been responding to every Jason Giambi critique means I do not strongly believe he will turn it around to the tune of 20-25 HRs with a SLG of .460-.480.

  • Anthony M

    According to those stats I find it amazing how consistently sh*tty he is at the beginning of the year. I mean the numbers are off by like .1.


  • A.D.

    With Cano, some guys just always start slow, like Torii Hunter or Ryan Howard, with Cano it might be that he had such a good spring and he wanted to just come out and flat rake all season after the contract signing, thus putting too much pressure, regarless its not an issue, he’ll turn it around, and if it’s anything like last season he will flat carry the team for awhile (which they could use).

    While we gripe and want to be in 1st there isn’t too much to worry about yet we are only 3 games out, and its got to get better, pitching has to improve from the #4 & #5 and the offense can’t really do any worse, were in the same situation as last year, just with a better record, and less games out… it could be worse, you could be a Texas Rangers fan right now

  • dan

    Hughes is out ’til July with a stress fracture in his rib– according to Girardi on Mike and the Mad Dog

  • Jon

    In general you should add .11 or .12 to a hitter’s LD% to get a BABIP. So he was probably a little lucky last year, very lucky in 06, and absurdly unlucky this year.

    All random. It will even out, don’t worry.

    What’s different from previous years?

    popup (infield fly rate) – much higher this year. random.
    HR per fly ball. very low. random.

    His walk rate is up, K rate is down, LD rate is up. All good signs.

    He’s swinging at significantly less pitches outside the strike zone this year (26% this year vs. 34% last year). Good.

    Only negative I see is that his contact rate on pitches in the zone is down a bit. But he’s also making better contact on balls, which basbally offsets this.

    Overall, nothing whatsoever to worry about. At this point I’m also inclined to say that his slow starts are random. If the underlying stats (LD%, contact %, etc.) backed up his poor numbers, I’d say there’s a chance that it could be the weather or something, but there’s really nothing to suggest that.

    At this point it’s really no more likely that in 2009 he’ll have an awful April than an awful August.

  • Glen L

    Where can i find line drive %, gb %, fb% … I can’t find them on baseball-reference … i may just not be looking in the right places though


  • JT

    One thing that concerns me, is that alot of the balls he puts in play are weak ground balls to the right. I mean weakkkkk.
    And take a look at his Infield fly ball %. It makes up almost 20% of his fly balls, and this doesnt count hte number of fly balls that he hits that JUST make it out of the infield.

    From watching all of the games, it can’t remember a game that he doesn’t pop a ball up.

  • Scott Brosius Would make a Good Neighbor

    Giambi’s BAIP is affected by the shift – he hits a lot of balls hard that would go for singles otherwise. If teams continue to shift on him, and they will, there’s a possibility that his BAIP won’t rise quite as much as you may expect. In other words, his low BAIP is a result of his opponent’s defense, not just bad luck – and therefore may remain consistently low. I wonder if there’s been a study done of BAIP for players who frequently bat vs. a shift defense . . . Would such a thing even be possible (i.e., does the data for it exist)?

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