The Robinson Cano Appreciation thread

Reports: Hughes to start Tuesday
Game 18: In which the Yanks try to avoid being swept

For Robinson Cano, April 2008 was a month to forget. Surrounded by lofty expectations, Cano hit .151/.211/.236 with two home runs and seven RBIs. While he eventually heated up during the summer, he never really recovered and had an off year for him.

Cano’s April last year set the tone for his season though in more ways than just for rate stats. In 114 plate appearances, he drew just seven walks and struck out 14 times. He managed five extra-base hits — three doubles to complement those home runs — and scored just six runs.

Night and day, then, is how I would describe the difference between 2008 and 2009. This April, Cano is off to a blazingly hot start. In 78 plate appearances, he is hitting .366/.410/.634 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. He has struck out six times and walked six times, has nine extra-base hits and has crossed the plate 15 times. He leads the Yankees in home runs, RBIs, batting average and runs scored and is second only to Nick Swisher in OBP and slugging.

No one really knows what the future holds for Robinson Cano. At age 26, he is nearing his peak offensive years, and he has looked like a far superior hitter than he did for much of last year. He’s staying back on the ball and has displayed a better strike zone recognition this year than at any point in his career.

On a personal level, I love it. Watching Cano hit has always been a pleasure, and he quickly emerged as a favorite of mine when he arrived in 2005. He’s a confident, young player who has made an impact on the Yankees, and watching him struggle last year was tough. Here’s to a solid 2009 for Cano. His April could hardly be better, and his bat makes the Yanks immeasurably better.

Reports: Hughes to start Tuesday
Game 18: In which the Yanks try to avoid being swept
  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    “Appreciation”

    Somebody was out late last night.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Someone’s been studying for finals for far too long, logging too many hours at the computer. I wish being out late last night was my excuse.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        Gotcha. I hear that many college students are taking all sorts mind enhancing drugs these days to deal with stuff like that. Ritalin, Adderall and such. Some of them even get hooked, and wind up awake for days and days.

        http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/2009/04/23/segments/129670

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          I’m sure it’s the same in law school. There was an article in The New Yorker about it this week too. I’ve been saying that though since I was a freshman in college back in Fall 2001. It’s a pretty bad problem but by no means is it a new one.

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            Right, that WNYC show was about the New Yorker article. Its been going on since at least the 60s (and probably much earlier) just with different drugs.

            • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

              BTW-Is TSJC in Law school? It would explain a lot.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

                Nah. He’s not. I am and a good number of other readers/commenters are.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Good number? I didn’t know we were in such abundance. Maybe that’s why the law job market stinks.

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

                  As opposed to . . . . . ?

                  When just about every economist agrees that were headed towards a (minimum) 10% unemployment rate later this year, I’d say its tough for everyone.

                  But fear not, many law firms are looking for young, cheap college-aged workers to do twice as much work for half as much money as their higher paid and older counterparts in the industry. The people who wont be able to find jobs are the 50+ types.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Yeah, but when you go to law school, part of the reason is that you think that it has security- law students as a breed are extremely risk averse. So to have the legal bubble explode on us about the second I walked through the doors of school on the first day stinks.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Still better than what I said on LoHud, where I was hoping Melky and Gardner would prove me wrong, except my finger slipped one key to the right whilst attempting the ‘v’ in prove.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I know quite a few people who would want Melky or Brett Gardner to probe them wrong.

        • whozat

          Really? People think they’re handsome?

          • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            You’d be surprised.

            I favor southern european soccer players myself.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              So basically you’re saying that Christiano Ronaldo is dreamy?

              • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

                Oh man.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

          Brett Gardner: Pattern hair loss like none other

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

            Brett Gardner Dustin Pedroia: Pattern hair loss like none other.

            Fixed.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        Hahahahaahaha!

        That’s crazy. We all know you want Melky to probe you right.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      BTW-Ben, I don’t want to get you worried or anything, but misspelling words is the first symptom of Swine Flu.

      Just sayin . .

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I’m in Brooklyn, not Queens. It’s all good.

  • Jake K.

    Watching Cano is a pleasure when he’s on. When he’s not, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the first-pitch ground outs and pop outs. Haven’t seen much of that this year, fortunately.

    Also, it should be “Night and day.” Sorry to nitpick, just thought you might want to change it.

    • whozat

      Any player, when he’s not on, makes one want to tear one’s hair out. When Matsui’s not on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the grounders to 2B. When Giambi wasn’t on, he made me want to tear my hair out with all the grounders into the shift. When Jeter’s not on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the GIDPs and first-pitch groundouts. When Swish isn’t on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the strikeouts looking.

      When Joba/CC isn’t on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with his poor fastball command. When Wang’s not on he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the belt-high sinkers. When Burnett’s not on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all walks.

      When Mo isn’t on, he makes me want to tear my hair out with all the allowing any runners to reach base at all ;-)

      It works for anyone, see? Any player, when not on, is annoying.

      • Jake K.

        I respectfully disagree. There are lots of players who, even when they are slumping, you can still admire their approach. With Robbie, however, his struggles (fairly or not) always seem like he’s thrown his approach out the window. When a guy is battling, taking pitches, working counts, it’s easier for me to accept a poor outcome. When Robbie looks like he’s throwing away at bats, it drives me crazy.

  • Jake H

    His D has looked good to. I’m liking the new stroke and I think its the reason he is hitting a lot better. Simplier swing helps out at times.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

    I just hope Robbie keeps this patient approach up so that he can still be valuable when the hits aren’t coming.

  • Jona H

    He’s been great so far. My only concern is whether he can keep seeing pitches and maintaining a respectable OBP as he cools down. While he’s drawn more walks so far than at this point last year, his isoD is actually a bit less. He does look better at the plate, though, and you have to love the power surge. Hopefully that BABIP stays up and we get another year of ’06-’07 Robbie.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      His IsoD for April is off from last year’s mark, but his IsoD for 2009 is about .020 higher than his IsoD for all of 2008.

      • Jona H

        Strange, but true.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          He had one HBP in April 2008. I think that’s the difference, oddly enough.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    I wonder where Cano bats when Alex gets back. Do you bat him 5th over Matsui or Swisher?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Hmmm. No, because I bat Posada 5th:

      Jeter
      Damon
      Teixeira
      A-Rod
      JoPo
      Canó
      Swisher
      Matsui
      Gardner/Melkman

      And should Nady return to us sometime this season…ho boy.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        And should Nady return to us sometime this season…ho boy.

        That’s such a better bench/PH option than what the team currently has. Plus, I’m assuming that by June, Mike Cameron (or Marlon Byrd? or someone) will be in CF everyday, not Gardner or Cabrera. If/when all that happens, the Yankees will score even more runs.

      • Brooklyn Ed

        to be honest, I sometimes wonder if Cashman got the wrong Pirate last season during the deadline. Not to knock on Nady, he was good and came through for us. I guess Nady was the hottest at the time.

        • A.D.

          Presumably Bay would have cost more given that the Pirates got 4 prospects in the Bay-Manny deal, and 4 for Nady & Marte.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

        Nady at the bottom of the lineup makes the lineup look VERY long. Doubt he’ll bat higher than that. But if he can’t play the field then we have a righty-lefty DH platoon with Matsui. I’m sorry, but burning two roster spots on DHs that can’t play the field is ridiculous.

        Anyhoo, here’s mine

        Jeter
        Damon
        Teixeira
        A-Rod
        Canó
        Posada
        Swisher
        Matsui/Nady
        Gardner/Melky

        I like Cano more than Posada assuming they’re both healthy and swinging the bat well. I want my #5 to drive the ball somewhere, Posada is a more patient hitter.

        • A.D.

          I like the OBP guys like Swish and/or Posada ahead of Cano. Posada and Swish are going to get their fair share of walks, even with his improved plate discipline Cano’s OBP will always be driven by batting average, therefore I like Cano as the the guy to be behind the OBP guys to rack up the hits and clean up the runners on base.

          That said, I don’t think you can really go wrong when everyone is health, cases can be made at all points.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

            I like the OBP guys like Swish and/or Posada ahead of Cano. Posada and Swish are going to get their fair share of walks, even with his improved plate discipline Cano’s OBP will always be driven by batting average, therefore I like Cano as the the guy to be behind the OBP guys to rack up the hits and clean up the runners on base.

            I agree. I’d do:

            Jeets
            Damon
            Tex
            A Rod
            Posada
            Swish
            Cano
            Matsui/Nady
            CF

  • A.D.

    The beauty of a nice April is Cano has always been better in the 2nd half, potential to watch out!

    Also nice to see he’s flashing some of that power that scouts/front office have said he has the potential for.

  • Matt-Pitt

    With Cano being my favorite Yankee (currently, not all time), it is beautiful to see the man swinging so well. I’ve always admired his swing, not so much his approach but he seems to be gradually improving on that.

  • M.D.

    we get to see porcello on wed

    • Brooklyn Ed

      didn’t the yanks bombed him in spring training?

    • http://www.YouTube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.

      I wish we could see Hughes vs. Porcello. But at least we will Cano and Porcello.

  • JobaJr

    I’m behind him 105 %.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      I’m only behind him 103%.

  • Arod, all the time

    Only Yankee fans would have a Cano appreciation blog 3 weeks into the season, and after his atrocity of 2008.

    Personally, I don’t see that he’s changed at all, and is just swinging a hot bat. He still swings at pitches far out of the strike zone, still appears very pitchable. He’ll cool down soon and Yank fans will hate him again, as they should. So much talent wasted.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Go away. Nobody wants to hear your ongoing negativity, and if you have nothing to add to the conversation besides stupid platitudes with no basis in reality, add them somewhere else.

      • Steve in MN

        maybe if we ignore it it will go away…

  • John R

    “his bat makes the Yanks immeasurably better.” Actually, couldn’t we probably measure that?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Yes, Mr. Literally, we could. But sometimes, writing involves rhetorical flourishes. :)

  • Pingback: Verlander dominant as Yanks fall to Tigers | River Avenue Blues