Where did you go, Robinson Cano?


When we all do our post mortems on the 2008 New York Yankees, Robinson Cano will be one of the main cast of characters.

Coming off of two stellar years, Cano’s 2008 season has been a disappointment. On the season, Cano is hitting .264/.299/.403. Much of that poor line can be attributed to a start that saw him hitting .150/.213/.230 at the start of May, and over his last 441 plate appearances, he’s hitting a respectable .294/.323/.450.

But even still, something isn’t right with Robinson Cano. His power his down, and he’s doing a terrible job of getting on base. In fact, he’s drawn one base on balls in last 89 appearances and none since August 20. For a hitter who should be entering his prime offensive years, 2008 is a clear step back in the development of Robinson Cano.

Cano a 25-year-old second base who can hit .300 at the Major League level. He’s got power and great athletic ability, but he’s shown decreasing rate stats in each of the past two seasons. The Yankees, for 2009 and beyond, need Cano to put it together. He can’t become another flash-in-the-pan second baseman in the Bronx.

Categories : Offense
  • Ivan

    Cano has the type of potential that can be pretty scary. He can hit for Avg, Power to all fields and has the potential to be a GG.

    Persoanlly I thought last year he was better than in 06. Mainly his BB rate was much higher and he hit for more power.

    Next season would be a telling sign for him if he’s ever gonna reach that full potential. If you look at the #’s this season he has been pretty unlucky and LD% is nearly at 20. This season he is also hitting less balls on the ground than in past seasons and his K rate has drop this year as well. Add to the fact that his BABIP is at .277, really the more you look into the #’s, he has been unlucky offensively by alot. I,ve seen Cano this season hit alot of balls hard to infielders. Hit some hard balls to outfielders as well. Just looking at a year like this, it wouldn’t surprise me if he just blows up and reeks havoc on the league.

    Nevertheless, Cano needs to improve on his plate disipline and work on his D as well. He went from the second best fielder at his position to one of the worst. I,ve seen him miss alot of balls in the second half of the season that normally he makes. Hopefully he improves on that and get back to that GG caliber D.

    In no way am I giving up on Cano cuz he’s too talented to struggle like this. Next season I know he’s gonna be a much better player.

    • Pablo Zevallos

      on the flipside he was almost obscenely lucky in 06 and 07, w/ a .363 and .343 BABIP. To me, the best approach with him is that you take an element of his game and coach him that way. You want him to hit for contact, you lead him to hitting .320 w/15 HR. You want him to hit for power, you lead him to hitting .285 w/ 25-30 HR. I’d take the former as being more valuable. So, another idea is that maybe he was confused in which way to go with his game, and just sucked.

      Let me also add that I think that the fact that Cano’s funk with his mechanics lead to lazily or weakly hit FBs, artificially raising that and lowering the GB rate and BABIP, which leads me to believe the issue isn’t luck to begin with.

      • Ivan

        If he takes alot of lazy/weak hacks wouldn’t that raise his GB rate instead of decreasing it? I have a hard time believing that. Especially considering that his GB rate were over 50% in 06 and 07 with similar LD%. This season, his GB rate is lower tha 50% and his LD% is the same. Wouldn’t that be benefitial to him.

        While his BABIP were high, his LD% help somewhat to offset that. Again just looking at the #’s, he’s hitting alot of hard hit balls to outfielders.

        If you wanna say he has been nonchalant and lazy sure, but to me that would atribute to his fielding than his hitting. I mean his 1st half and 2nd half on defense is night and day. Offensively, It’s hard for me to believe that his approach is lazy when his LD% is the same, hitting less balls on the ground and his BABIP is way less than .300. Sure offensive woes can lead to just some poor approach but looking at the #’s, he has been extremely unlucky.

  • Pablo Zevallos

    The thing is that flashes in the pan don’t last three years, which Cano did. They last a year (the dude from the Orioles, Adrian Beltre, etc….) He has undeniable talent, but he really is playing lazily this year–you can see it with the way he just waves at pitches that are at his eyes or feet. No one is there to light a fire under his ass and he’s showing he can’t do without such a person. It might be hard to get Larry Bowa from LA but someone fiery should do it. I can’t think of someone else (hey, we do need a 3rd base coach too with Bobby Meacham over there) off the top of my head, but he does need it. Maybe it was the financial security of the contract. Maybe even that his buddy Melky was struggling that he was struggling with it, too. Who knows? But the Yankees need this guy next year because, based purely on raw talent, there is no one who is close to this guy and available next year.

  • Tripp

    Put his dad on the payroll. He’s hit better since he went to the Dominican over the AS break and worked with his father. His Dad may have the same affect Larry Bowa had….authoritarian.

  • Jake K.

    Given his absolute refusal to work a walk, there were always red flags with Cano, even when he was hitting lights out. You obviously can’t give up on him, but unless he learns even a modicum of plate discipline, he may never be the hitter we hoped.

  • Manimal

    Cano, along with his his motivation, is in LA. Bowa was the in-yo-face kinda guy that Cano didn’t like. but he needed him to get his act together.

    • Ben K.

      This is a racist trope used to excuse Cano’s poor season. At what point has anyone ever said that and how does it explain the fact that Cano has hit nearly .300 for nearly 450 plate appearances?

      • radnom

        I wouldn’t be so quick to call anyone racist, I think its more a product of groupthink and people just parroting the media/hearing something enough that they just take it as fact. Sure its stupid, but you have to admit that to a frustrated fan, when someone as naturally talented as Cano makes a bad play or swings at the first pitch, it can come off looking as a lack of effor, if thats what you expect to see.

      • Ron

        Exactly, how the hell can that comment be interpreted as racist?

      • Manimal

        How in the world was that racist.

        • radnom

          Not racist. Just stupid.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          I’d say the characterization of it being “racist” is mainly the propensity with which black and Latin players are characterized as lazy, disinterested, or lacking “heart” and “fire”, the propensity of which white players and managers are characterized as being intense, hardworking, focused, smart, gritty, gamers, etc., and the juxtaposition of Afro-Latino Cano and white Larry Bowa.

          It’s the old “these undisciplined blacks and latinos need a good, throwback white guy to straighten them out and get them to play the game the old-school, white way” kinda thing.

          • dan

            That’s exactly how I interpreted it

    • Old Ranger

      Cano is a grown man. At this stage of his life, he better grow-up and be the man the Yankees paid him to be.
      Cano is a bad ball hitter…see the ball, hit the ball. This is how he plays, this is what he is. Asking him to take a walk is very hard for him to do…he has never had to think in those terms. Yogi was the same way…he wasn’t to bad a hitter.
      Motivation! The paycheck and self respect should be enough for anyone. See if A-Rod takes him under his wing next spring, or maybe Jeter. I know one thing, when Jorge comes back next spring…Cano better watch out, you talk about tough love, he will get it!

  • Manimal

    He also needs to stop playing in extra activities. AKA partying with melky in the offseason and playing fall ball.

    • Ben K.

      Did you just say a baseball player needs to stop partying in the offseason? I didn’t realize you were such a comedian :)

  • A.D.

    Shitty season, amongst a shitty team season, this happens. Everyone will have down year, Robbie is having his this year, hopefully it will all be part of a correction for the 2009 team

    • Ivan

      Pretty much. If the yanks are gonna have a big season, Cano must have one as well.

  • E-ROC

    Ben, would you trade or keep Cano?

    • Ben K.


      I’ve tried to figure out what the best offer would be for Cano that I’d accept, and I think it would have to be a young, high quality starting pitcher. Cano’s one of the top five second basemen in the game when he’s not having a bad season, and to replace that is nearly impossible. But if the Yanks somehow miss out on both Sabathia and Sheets this winter and someone swoops in with the right offer, I’d part with Cano. My strong preference is to keep him.

      • E-ROC

        Who are the young pitchers that would sway your preference?

        • A.D.

          Obv im not Ben, but if the Dodgers were willing to give up Kershaw or Billingsly, you’d have to take that real seriously

          • Old Ranger

            What a conundrum!

  • ortforshort

    For whatever reason, Cano regressed this year due to poor plate discipline. Whether it was Bowa leaving or Torre leaving or the big contract extension or whatever, Cano has been flailing away at pitches since day 1 this season and, obviously, the stats bear this out. Right now, any big league pitcher that throws Cano a strike is a horse’s ass because you don’t have to throw strikes to him. He gets himself out. Too bad because Cano could be a monster.