Projecting Robinson Cano

Alan Horne's latest ailment
Another Jeter-less night does not bode well

Heading into the season, most of us didn’t know what to expect from Robinson Cano. We’ve seen him go from promising star in 2006 and 2007 to horrible disappointment in 2008. Was his lack of plate discipline catching up to him? Or did he just need to refocus his efforts and regain the stroke he had in earlier years? To this point, Cano has alleviated most of our fears, putting up a line of .313/.345/.507. Now that’s more like the Cano we saw in 2006-07. Yet we still must wonder: can he keep it up?

It’s easy to say yes and let that be that. But what we do here is talk baseball, so we might as well approach the question as completely as possible. Can Robinson Cano maintain the production level we’ve seen to this point? Clearly, he wasn’t going to keep up the .370 batting average he took into the early days of May — or, at least, we couldn’t expect him to do so, just as we can’t really expect that of any hitter. As we could have expected, Cano experienced a correction once the calendar flipped, going 1 for 21 with a walk from May 2 through May 7. That’s a stretch of six days, but it was enough to drop his BA from .378 to .319.

After going 4 for his last 15, Cano has shaved a few additional points off his BA, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. As we’ve seen over the past few years, he’s a hot and cold guy. He’ll hit rough patches, but he redeems himself with torrential production. For instance, over a different six-game stretch Cano went 12 for 31 (.387). An even more impressive stretch was from the start of the season through April 17, wherein he hit .405/.468/.667. Yes, he had a bad stretch last week, and even over his last five games he’s been just 4 for 15, but his hot streaks will make up for these slight drops in production.

What got me thinking about Cano was an Eric Seidman article on FanGraphs. He looks at Cano through the lens of updated ZiPS, Dan Szymborski’s projection system. These are updated now daily to reflect how the system projects a player will hit for the rest of the season. Right now it has Cano at .299/.335/.479 for the rest of the season. It seems a bit low, but it’s one possibility for how things play out.

Cano’s streaks mean that he’s subject to a great deal of randomness as concerns his final season numbers. As Cano streaks and slumps, his projections will fluctuate. If he hits his streaks at the right times, he could outperform that projection by a mile. If his slumps last a bit longer than we’ve seen so far, he could hit that .299 projection. It’s all timing with Cano. Given what we’ve seen so far it’s easy to predict that his hot streaks will outweigh his cold ones. Yet that wouldn’t be exactly accurate either, since we have no way of knowing how his streaks will time out.

What’s clear so far is that the Yankees were right to exercise patience with Cano. Not only has his offense been back to normal levels, but his defense, as Seidman points out, has been much, much better as compared to last year. Not only does UZR bear that out, but you can see the difference this year. It’s added up to a highly valuable player taking the field every day at second base. Here’s to hoping he keeps it up through his current contract and beyond.

Alan Horne's latest ailment
Another Jeter-less night does not bode well
  • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H

    I just wished his lows weren’t so low…

  • Jake K

    Good analysis. Although I think the one point missing is that Cano’s lows are especially damaging offensively because of his refusal/inability to draw walks. Guys like Tex (and Giambi before him) still can add something when they’re cold. When Robbie’s off, he’s the easiest out around.

    • cult of basebaal

      not while Gritner and Kevin Cash are still on the team …

  • Shoes

    This guys hits about 250 with RISP and that includes his hot streaks ….Cashmans biggest mistake was letting Orlado Hudson slip away and then could have used Cano for a Center Fielder ( how about Matt Kemp) This Kids a stiff

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Facepalm.

      facepalm1

      • http://statspeak.net dan

        Not fair. You can post pictures? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!!?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The Man.

          You’re Homey.

      • jsbrendog

        this is much better tha the one ive bee using.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      Canó >>>>>>>>> Hudson.

      And you don’t sell low on Canó. After last season there is NO way they could have done Kemp for Canó straight up.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Orlando Hudson’s biggest mistake was letting the N in his name slip away….Orlado is a stupid name.

      • Tampa Yankee

        IETC

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Orlado is a stupid name.

        WAIT, JOEY JO-JO, COME BACK!!!

        • cult of basebaal

          no, that’s the worst name you’ve ever heard …

    • Drew

      Wow.

    • http://statspeak.net dan

      Not sure if this is a joke or not. For your sake, I hope it is.

    • jsbrendog

      oaktag.

    • JP

      Um, at the moment, he’s the best player on the team.

      • JP

        I take that back. Damon is. But Robbie is second. Sad, when you think of it…

  • Andy

    I am surprized you didn’t mention that Cano’s history suggests he heats up as the weather heats up, at least the past two years he started slowly and then tore it up starting in the summer.

    • jsbrendog

      so he is cold blooded and as his blood warms so does his hitting ability? Cashman needs to get hsi head out of his ass and get a heat lamp and sunning rock in that clubhouse now.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Well, he’s Dominican.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        And lazy. He’ll play better when he feels like it.

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yeah that’s kinda the punchline of my comment, but thanks for explaining it. lol

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Oh Lol. My bad <_<

            • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              You may live, this time.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                I don’t know if you saw this or not, mi amigo, but Raúl Mondesi’s “Ron Mexico” name is Victor Tonga.

                Priceless.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Haha that’s awesome, I must have glossed over that conversation.

                  Margaret Thatcher’s is Asia Bhutan.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Oooh, she gets two geographic placenames. Awesome.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Are you ready for this? Go buy a hat and get ready to hold the f$%& onto it.

                  Robinson Cano’s Ron Mexico name is…

                  “Maximillian Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”.

                  BOOM, THAT JUST HAPPENED. IS YOUR MIND BLOWN?

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Shut up (…checking)… MY MIND IS BLOWN. lmao

                • jsbrendog

                  where can one find such a name? i will proceed there once my mind has been rebuilt from having been blown.

                • jsbrendog

                  nm. dont google that for me. i did it meself.

                  and mark teixeira = bubba united states

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Amazing.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                  Andy in Sunny Daytona = Jesse Jersey.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  ARod = Lex Israel. (That’s why nobody likes him, he’s a Jew.)
                  Gardner = Erik Estonia. (Fitting, Estonia is pretty small and worthless.)

                  I demand an all Ron Mexico starting lineup in the gamethread.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                  Jesus Montero = Adonis Maldives.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “That’s why nobody likes him everybody overreacts to his comments and is mean to him when he comments here, he’s a Jew.”

                  (fixed)

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Crank That Kosha Boy

  • dkidd

    i know cano struggles with the bases loaded, but are his career stats with RISP really that bad?

  • Jim

    Have cano’s pitches per at va slipped during this slump?

  • BklynJT

    I think there is a correlation between Cano’s defense and the defensive 1B playing for the Yankees. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Cano’s worse year was when Giambi was full season at first base.

    2007, Cano’s defense improves… Doug Mientkiewicz at first.
    2008, Cano’s defense drops… Giambi at first.
    2009, Cano’s defense improves… Teixiera at first.

    • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H

      ehhhh, I see the point you are making, but I don’t think it’s that black and white. Cano seemed to “lax” in the field last year.

      This year in the field and at the plate he seems a lot more focused (as with Melky as well, see: yesterday’s Melky article).

      • BklynJT

        Watching the game, it does look like Cano is more focused. Statistically, one of the ways Cano’s defensive is calculated is by the number of balls he gets to for the “defined” zone of a 2b.

        I think how/where Cano’ positions himself is largely a result of the defense of his fellow first baseman, and I can see that having an affect on the number of balls Cano get’s to compared to what he “should” of gotten to.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Beware of confusing correlation and causation.

      • BklynJT

        I understand the difference… I can’t say for sure that there is a direct causal affect, but I do think there is a correlation.

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Well of course there is a correlation. I don’t mean to be snarky – but that’s clear just because Cano happened to have a down year the one year Giambi was the primary first baseman. The point is there is absolutely no evidence that Giambi’s increased playing time at 1B was a cause of Cano’s defensive problems.

          • BklynJT

            1. You didn’t mean to, but you definitely achieved it
            2. I know there is no evidence, that’s why I said I can’t say for sure that there is a direct causal affect. But I do believe, although I have no evidence, that Giambi’s crappy defense affected Cano’s defensive numbers

            • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Well you know what you do when you assume things.

              Cano also had a bad offensive season in 2008. I think it’s much more likely that he was just going through a real bad stretch and it affected his defense, don’t you think? Giambi only started 112 games at 1B last year, it’s not like he was out there putting his defensive voodoo on Cano every day.

              • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                PS: I really just pointed out the obvious, it’s not like I crapped on you or anything. (In response to “You didn’t mean to, but you definitely achieved it.”) Relax.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  CATFIGHT!!!!!

                  (meow)

              • BklynJT

                I agree that his scrubbyness at the plate had an affect on his defensive performance. My point is that the statistical measurement of Cano’s defense, based on UZR and such, was negatively affected by Giambi being the first baseman, mainly because he may have been playing out of normal position to help compensate for Giambi’s lack of range.

                P.S. Just cause you whipped out the “Relax” card, doesn’t mean I wasn’t relaxed in the first place. I was just also pointing out the obvious (In reference to “I don’t mean to be snarky”)

    • JP

      Innnnnnnn-teresting.

      If you have a lousy 1b with no range, there should be more grounders that the 2b can get…increasing his range factor, and presumably making him a better fielder, statistically. On the other hand, if the 1b is like Giambi and can’t throw, Cano might lose several putouts per season, hurting his defensive rating.

      Of course, I don’t know if the correlation you mention above had anything to do with range factor or 2b PO.

    • cult of basebaal

      except that Robinson was fantastic in the 1st half of 2008 in the field, even though he struggled at the plate.

      then there was about a 40 game stretch where he was noticeably, visibly, horrifically bad (e.g. the game in MIN where the GW grounder trickled right past him and he didn’t both to knock it down to prevent the run for scoring.) that culminated in him being benched for attitude/effort issues.

      afterwards, he returned to the rate level he had before the bad stretch.

      SG over at RLYW has the breakdown if you’d like the numbers.

      So, last year wasn’t having giambi or not at 1st, since JG was there when Robinson was a nearly elite 2nd baseman on D and there when he was so horribly bad in 40 games he ended up rating as a below average 2nd baseman for the year.

    • George G

      Interesting coincidence this season… as soon as Melky won the starting sport from Gardner and was back to being the full time player, that’s when Cano’s numbers fell off the table.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        So are you inferring that Cano sucks when Melky starts? That’s a pretty crazy correlation.

  • Klemy

    I maintain the Bobby Abreau Nightlife Experience was too much for him to handle!

    • jsbrendog

      what about the giambi swigging straight form the jack daniels bottle in vegas night life?

      • Klemy

        Let’s face it, that wasn’t working for Giambi either!

    • Klemy

      So much so that I added a letter to his last name and ruine dmy joke. grrrr

    • Drew

      Who?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I maintain the Bobby Abreau Nightlife Experience was too much for him to handle.

      PA LA TUMBA!!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PumCTyofJbI

  • Chris

    People seem to forget that he put up a .342/.365/.525 line as a 23 year old in 2006. While we shouldn’t expect him to hit .378 for the entire year, it’s certainly possible. It’s also very likely that he will have at least one season as good or better than his 2006 season.

    • JP

      On the contrary, NOBODY has forgotten that. It is precisely why everyone is so disappointed in him now.

  • Tank the Frank (formerly just “Frank”)

    Cano had 4 walks in his first 4 games. He’s had 3 walks in 28 games since.

    I think it’s safe to say that both Long and Cano came out with a game plan to change his stance a bit and be more patient at the plate. And so far it’s worked. But once Cano started hitting and became more comfortable, they allowed him to open his stance back up a bit, and now his walks are borderline non-existant.

    I’m not sure if there’s a correlation there… but it’s interesting.

    And, yes, I know Cano will never be a high OBP player, but that first week was a tease.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Interesting…

    • JP

      Good observation. And if you ask me, every time he gets under intense pressure, he’ll tend to revert to his impatient form.

      He needs to get back to the patience/square stance, if ya ask me.

  • Axl

    I actually think Robinson Cano is hitting under or just over .200 with RISP to be honest.

    Then again, the whole team does that on purpose. 6th in the league in runs scored…dead last hitting with RISP at around .244 or something…

    Doesn’t really matter where Robinson Cano projects to be honest…how do project a team of a bunch of streaky players? Melky hitting like .300? Teixeira hitting under .200?

    Who knows how everything is going to end up…it’s like the Twilight Zone right now…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      It’s .186. It took me literally 14 seconds to look that up (I timed myself) from a fresh browser.

      • Tank the Frank (formerly just “Frank”)

        It took me literally 14 seconds to look that up from a fresh browser. I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON ME FINGERS!!

    • JP

      A defining moment this season was the game where he was up with the bases loaded…against Boston? Forget the pitcher, but he had a chance to come up big with the hit, and he struck out, I think.

      I like him, and I still think he’s a potential star. He can hit the 97 mph fastball, and he can hit lefties. He can hit with power to any field.

      But thus far, he seems to be a doofus at the plate when he is in a pressure situation.

      I hope he’s not one of these guys who remains a rookie forever.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I find it hard to believe that in a sport where fulltime starting players can have 700 plate appearances in a year, one PA against one pitcher in one game in Boston can be a “defining moment.”.

        For every “defining moment” there’s hundreds more identical “defining moments”. They generally cancel each other out and become a wash.

        • JP

          LOL…A/K/A you are the Language Police. Nothing, I mean nothing that is slightly exaggerated, no comment with inappropriate hyperbole, no unvalid connotation of anything escapes your eagle eye.

          So forget the “defining moment” stuff. Did it not pi$$ you off that he didn’t come up big there?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Did it not pi$$ you off that he didn’t come up big there?

            Yes, it did. But, frankly, I didn’t remember the instances off the top of my head until you brought them up, because I don’t hold on to individual plate appearance missed opportunities like that, because I know they’re likely to be counterbalanced by better ones later.

            So, yeah, it saddens me when Robbie doesn’t come through with the bases loaded, but I don’t get much long-lasting angst over it, no.

            Shit happens.

            • jsbrendog

              wipe it off

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                Rub some dirt on it.

  • mtrico

    I am not one who drinks the Robinson Can Kool-Aid. I expect that he will hit in the .280s with an on base pct. of about .315. He has walked a grand total of once in his last 19 games. That early season plate discipline has quickly disappeared, and with Cano, once that’s gone it’s not that difficult to get him out, particularly in a big spot. Yes, Cano has his streaks where he is going well, and that sweet swing can fool you into thinking he is a great hitter, but if you think that his consistent long term success is necessary for the Yankees to succeed as a team this season, then I am afraid we will all be very disappointed.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      You’re entitled to your opinion, Mr. Mike Tirico.

      BTW, your ESPN Radio show sucks. Total snoozefest.

      • mtrico

        That radio show does suck, but not as bad as Robinson Cano in a big spot. (For example, twice with the bases loaded late in the game against Boston this season.) Plus, although Tirico looks a bit overweight, I’m reasonably certain that he would hustle down the line harder than Cano.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          See my above comment to JP. Two AB’s against Boston do not a season make.

          • mtrico

            True, but I cite them as specific examples of where he has failed in a big spot. The first AB in the 9th at Boston was particularly terrible. Outside pitch (although maybe still a strike) early in the count, and what does he do? Let it go? Hit it the opposite way? No, tries to pull it, rolls over on it, doesn’t run hard and hits into a double play. We score zero tack on runs and lose the game.

            That is far from the only time. I see it all too often with Cano. He simply throws at bats away by swinging at bad pitches and putting them in play, particularly in big spots. Sure, he may develop plate discipline and become a great hitter, but at this point, he is not even close. Sweet swing? Yes. Can get hot and look like a hitting machine for short periods? Absolutely. Built for long term success? Not at this point.

            As a Yankees fan, it kills me to say it, but I would take Pedroia over him any day of the week, and would not even think twice about it.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              That is far from the only time. I see it all too often with Cano.

              He’s failed in the clutch before. He’s also come through in the clutch before. You tend to remember the missed opportunities more than the made ones.

              Unless, that is, you have a predisposition towards liking a player, like Jeter, for example, where we tend to remember the successes and forget the failures.

              • jsbrendog

                michael jordan missed multiple of game winning shots in the 80’s before he finally made one.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Fun Fact: The second Bulls threepeat dynasty had 3 of the 5 worst three-point shooters in NBA history (sorted either by lowest career percentage or by total missed threes):

                  Michael Jordan
                  Scottie Pippen
                  Ron Harper

                  A threeway brick factory.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Thanks.

    • Tank the Frank (formerly just “Frank”)

      Boo. Cano’s career stats dictate he’ll be better than that.

      He’s notorious for heating up in the summer/later in the season. He CAN be a great hitter. Poor hitters don’t hit .345.

      Cano 2006:
      June – .398 .432 .566 .998
      August – 351 .373 .598 .970
      Sept/Oct – 377 .387 .667 1.053

      Cano 2007:
      July – .385 .420 .633 1.053
      August – 301 .385 .583 .967
      Sept/Oct – 333 .374 .481 .855

      Cano 2008:
      Well, he hit well in basically every month except his slow April really killed him. – 151 .211 .236 .446

      I think it’s safe to say we can expect great things from Cano in the future this season and many to come.

      • mtrico

        Or perhaps pitchers have figured out that he is impatient, and will chase pitches out of the zone, so they will continue to make those pitches and he will continue to make outs. I think everyone realizes that Cano has the POTENTIAL to be a great hitter, but the more I watch him, the less and less I believe that Cano has the mental disciplne to be a great hitter. Some guys like Vlad can swing at bad pitches and still get great results. Robbie however, is not that type of hitter. He needs better plate discipline, or pitchers will continue to allow him to get himself out. In my opinion, it’s really that simple.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          And this would be a big problem if Cano himself hadn’t admitted it was something he was working on.

          As long as Cano isn’t over anxious at the plate, follows Ted Williams’ 1st rule of hitting (get a good pitch to hit), I think we should all be confident he’ll be a .300+ hitter with power.

          • mtrico

            I know he is “working on it,” but some guys have plate discipline and intelligence as a hitter and some just don’t. At this point in his career I am sure that Cano does not possess the former, and I am doubtful that he has the latter.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              He is 26 years old. He’s not even in his prime yet. He’s shown an ability to hit at a very high level for multiple seasons. If pitchers were going to have “figured him out” I think they would have done that in 2007 after the crazy hitting display he put on at the end of 2006. Pitchers make adjustments, then hitters make adjustments. It’s cyclical.

              He may lack baseball IQ, I won’t quibble with that. But he has shown an aptitude for hitting in his career. He is not a finished product at 26, and to me, it would be shortsighted to think that he can’t improve on the one skill he needs to improve upon to be an elite hitter.

              • mtrico

                No doubt he CAN improve. The assumption by many here that he WILL improve, is to me, a bit too presumptuous.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Did you know the sky was falling?

      Not be glib (I guess I was), but Cano was has only really been TERRIBLE once in his career, the 1st half of last year. After that he was productive, maybe not as good as he was the previous 2 years, but definitely a productive member of the team. So because he was terrible for the 1st half of last year and he has come down to earth recently that he will stink?

      I know plate discipline is very important, and Cano is downright nasty when he displays it. But the dude is 26 years old, has a sweet as hell swing, has admitted to be working on his discipline, and has been playing damn good defense!

      I’m not ready to throw him in the crapper after a cold streak in May after he was one of the only reasons the Yankees scored as many runs as they did (with Swisher, Damon, and Melky).

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Not be glib (I guess I was)…

        Mattingly’s Love Child = Matt Lauer

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Is that a good or bad thing? I laughed either way.

      • Mike HC

        Is everyone here so sure that Cano is only 26. I have less than absolutely no evidence on this, but I just get the feeling he is older. Anyone else think this, or am I alone here??

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Wow, that’s pretty skeptic.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          His father played minor league baseball, so he’s probably pretty well documented. I would assume if he was older some scouts would have figured that out a long time ago.

          • Mike HC

            I did not know that his father played minor league baseball. With all the games I have watched and Yankee blogs/articles (i really only read this one starting about 2 months ago) I have read, I am surprised I have not heard this before. I sure as hell heard that he was named after Jackie Robinson about a million times. I obviously can be very wrong about the age thing, but Cano seems to play the game very gingerly, for lack of a better word. Reminds me of Bobby Abreu, who I called Mr. Ginger. Everything he did looked to be very careful and thought out.

            • Mike HC

              I should say that Cano does look more spry this year than he did last year. Maybe he was just being lazy last year.

              • Mattingly’s Love Child

                Lazy or distracted with his poor hitting

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              His father signed with the Yankees in 1980 (Jose Cano), and pitched professionaly in the US and Japan(even appearing with the Astros in 1989).

              Cano does not play defense or run in a very fluid manner. I’ll give you that. His swing is as fluid as they come though. But I don’t think moving rigid or smooth defines the age of a player. Abreu played that way since he came up in the majors.

              • Mike HC

                There is no doubt that my little theory is backed up by no credible evidence. It can easily be ripped to shreds. It is just a (probably irrational) feeling I have.

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  I hope it is irrational, because if it’s not, I’ve wasted the last 30min defending Cano’s ability to improve as a hitter! Oh yeah, and the Yankees would have gotten swindled with that contract extension….

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          I think you need to ask Angel Berroa. Angel was around when Robbie was born.

          /
          Abraham’d

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            You’re doing it wrong.

            “I think you need to ask Angel Berroa. Angel was around when Robbie Colonel Ruppert was born.
            /
            Abraham’d”

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Better.

            • jsbrendog

              Angel Berroa was around when colonel sanders perfected the secret kfc recipe. he even helped

              ::include picture of colonel sanders in black and white to drive home the horrible joke::

              /abraham’d

    • YankeeScribe

      Sadly, I agree. I think Cano will disappoint AGAIN this year

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    I just want to note that CitiField is pretty empty. Nobody notices.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      It was pretty packed earlier.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        And… Not that this matters at all, but it looks more full than Yankee Stadium was when Melky hit that extra inning homer to win a weekday afternoon extra-inning game.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Really? Doesn’t to me.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Eh, opinion call. I was at that Melky game, I thought the stadium was pretty empty by the end of the game. The Mets do have the advantage of playing a division rival on a gorgeous day, though.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      “I just want to note that CitiField is pretty empty. Nobody notices cares.”

      They’re the Mets.

      http://www.sadtrombone.com

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      It’s also the 12th inning.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        In middle of the afternoon. Who is leaving at that point?

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          Simple answer, Met’s fans.

  • Tank the Frank (formerly just “Frank”)

    Jeter not in the lineup again today. Sorry… but worth noting.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      He’s a 34 year old shortstop with a barking oblique. He’s probably going to be out of the lineup for damn near a week.

      In retrospect, perhaps its good fortune that we didn’t DFA Berroa when ARod came back…

    • JP

      Guess we’ll have to settle for a couple of slick DPs and a base hit from the minor league replacement. Oh well, maybe we can still gut out a win.

  • Mike HC

    The article hit the nail on the head. Cano’s offense is hot and cold, and as long he stays a free swinger, it will continue that way. It would be a fools game trying to predict exactly what his production will be for the rest of the year. The key is for him to play consistent defense. If he can be a plus defender, then anything offensively from our second baseman is great. Even better if he is on a hot streak.

  • George G

    Interesting coincidence this season… as soon as Melky won the starting sport from Gardner and was back to being the full time player, that’s when Cano’s numbers fell off the table.

    • JP

      Coincidence? Or…Melky wins the job back, and the two players revel in their collective “young Yankee starter” sense of self-importance (as opposed to the fear under which maybe they began the year), and mediocrity slowly takes hold.

      I have to shut up now. I’m not doing ANY work today.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      So how are these two things related? Cano is happy for his friend on not disciplined as much at the plate? It’s not like they haven’t been on the same team all season, if they were going to party after games they probably already were….
      And Melky’s production has been pretty strong still…

      So I don’t get where this is going….

      • JP

        I don’t know if it’s going anywhere. Just sayin’….just horsing around with the coincidence…

        But if I _were_ serious about it…[I don’t believe any of this, BTW, I like Cano, but just to play along]…

        I’d suggest that maybe Cano lacks something mentally – mental discipline, maybe, or he thinks he’s already a complete player and doesn’t have to work and grind everything out. He’s scared all of the offseason that he’s going to lose his high paying job as a Yankee, so he works hard. Compounding the fear is that his close friend actually DID lose his job, making Robbie’s fears seem even more real and potential.

        So, he works hard. He has lots of success. This makes him relax. Then, he sees Melky back in the lineup, and that source of anxiety is now gone, too.

        And so Cano slides back into his old patterns, and the shine goes off his hitting.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          I hate to say this, and I’m probably opening up a whole can of worms here, but people would not read this kind of stuff into Robbie’s slumps if he was white. I’m not saying you are racist or anything, I’m just saying that it seems like the general commentary on Robbie and his work ethic has on some level something to do with him being Latino.

          • Mike HC

            He is just not a gritty gamer like dustin pedroia is.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            ding ding ding ding ding

          • JP

            Yeah, you are saying I’m racist. But I didn’t say anything, in any post, about him being latino. It seems to me that you are showing the racist tendencies, tying a comment about his work ethic to his skin color.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              No I’m not. Let me clarify- you didn’t start this stuff about his work ethic, it has been out there for a while now, and I think it has plenty to do with most of the press and people who publicly discuss the sport in this town being white. His coaches always say that he works his tail off.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              t seems to me that you are showing the racist tendencies, tying a comment about his work ethic to his skin color.

              No, JP, he’s pointing out that there is a penumbra of public opinion regarding Cano that his issues are tied to his “work ethic”, a meme that you echoed. And it’s a meme that’s much more closely associated with black and latino players than it is with white players.

              He’s not calling you a racist, he’s accusing you of parroting the racist language, concepts, or memes of society. There’s a difference, and an important one. Often, we as Americans, without malice or ill intent, absorb the flawed and racist ideas of general society, and it muddles our ability to see things clearly.

              Robbie may indeed have work ethic issues. It’s just curious the frequency that this is cited as his issue. Could be nothing, but it fits an uncomfortable pattern.

          • mtrico

            Um, no.

          • jsbrendog

            while we joke about this all the time, unfortunately, it is probably at least somewhat true, if not moreso. However, peeps be ig’nant (not calling anyone specific, esp the two of you ig’nant, far from it. just over generalizing and saying a lot of people are)

            now you know

            bee boo boo boooooooooo

            ::shooting star::

          • JP

            and I said “I don’t believe any of this,” and there is the matter of lack of plate discipline, which is something objective we know about him, which is a perfectly, non-racist, logical bit of data about him which might lead a rational person to think he might also be sloppy in his work ethic.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              What exactly does plate discipline have to do with work ethic, any more so than the rest of your game?

              • JP

                If you are undisciplined in one aspect of your life, maybe you are undisciplined in others. If you have a mental lapse and forget to concentrate at the plate, maybe you have mental lapses and forget to do whatever a ballplayer needs to do to be prepared every day.

                Look Moshe, I said “I don’t believe any of this,” I was merely having fun with the comments someone made about Robbie starting out red hot, and cooling off significantly when Melky got back into the lineup. Why you have to drag racism into it is beyond me. What does it have to do with baseball, anyway?

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  See TSJC’s point right under this for why I’m bringing race into it. And to act like race has nothing to do with baseball is silly.

                • JP

                  So what, specifically, does racism have to do with a discussion of Robbie Cano’s pattern of offense this season…specifically, his starting with 4 walks in 4 games, and 1 walk since then? Nothing at all. Until you brought it up.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Except that it has a lot to do with the constant questioning of his work ethic, which you brought up. You seem to be taking offense when I really meant none towards you. As TSJC said, this is a meme about Cano that we constantly hear, and I am wondering whether the basis for it is faulty. It doesn’t speak to your feelings on race or Cano.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I think all Moshe was asking was, if Robbie Cano was Bob Cannon, a white guy from Indiana, but was the exact same player prone to hot and cold streaks, I wonder if the public opinion of him would be that he was just “streaky” due to natural randomness as opposed to streaky due to lack of “discipline” or “work ethic”?

              It’s a fair question.

              • JP

                A fair question, maybe, but what does it have to do with baseball? I see a baseball player, I don’t see a Latino player.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  And that’s great. But a lot of the commentary we hear about these players comes from older white men, and like it or not, they help shape our views on these players. I’m willing to bet some of the white guys born in the 50’s who talk about this sport cant shake the specific stereotypes that stick to certain races.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  A fair question, maybe, but what does it have to do with baseball? I see a baseball player, I don’t see a Latino player.

                  It has something to do with baseball when people start using the buzzwords used to denigrate blacks and latinos, like “Sure, they’re talented but they don’t work hard”.

                  You may think you don’t “see” Cano’s Latino heritage, but you’re speaking about him in the same ways other people have spoken about Latino ballplayers. Maybe it’s an innocent accident, or maybe you’ve been socialized better than you think you have.

                • JP

                  Your argument is relative–it can just as easily apply to your position. You suggest that people project their latent racism into their observation and evaluation of a Latino ball player. ARen’t you doing the same thing–projecting your idea that much of the country (or the whaite baseball fan community, or whatever…) is racist onto peoples’ comments about ballplayers?

                  Or, to use your language, you may think you see latent racism in the comments about a latino player’s work ethic, but you’re simply parroting the same racism/discrimination dogma that has been preached in the US for the last 4 decades. We are all presumed racists, wherever the concept can be invoked, with no requirement for anyone to prove anything. Guilty until proven innocent.

                  Sorry, I know racism exists. It exists at all levels of society, and exists in every possible direction. But it is wrong to invoke it casually. It is slanderous. The irresponsible use of the concept stirs up the same sort of hatred that actual racism does.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Sorry, I know racism exists. It exists at all levels of society, and exists in every possible direction. But it is wrong to invoke it casually. It is slanderous. The irresponsible use of the concept stirs up the same sort of hatred that actual racism does.

                  Agreed.

                  I didn’t invoke it casually. I believe I did a good job of invoking my concerns with care and precision.

                • Mike HC

                  You did. You made your point very rationally and it is not completely off base. I just think that nobody here was being racist, or unknowingly racist, yet your comments implied that they were. You might be talking about other people in general, but it does not seem that way.

          • Mike HC

            I think the other factor at play is how certain players react to slumps. Paul O’Neill would get more upset at himself than any fan possible could when he was slumping. Fans like to see that. Cano continues to laugh and have a good time even when he is slumping. Different things work for different people. Maybe constantly dwelling on the failure would have a negative impact on Cano, whereas it would have a positive impact on other players. Everybody handles failure differently.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              I think that is definitely part of the dialogue with Cano. People don’t like to see him handle failure so well. But they don’t know him, or what it takes for him to be a good major league hitter. He could cry himself to sleep every night that he doesn’t get 2 hits, but that’s not public knowledge. All we know is that he smiles and jokes, and seems to keep things loose in the dugout.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Paul O’Neill would get more upset at himself than any fan possible could when he was slumping. Fans like to see that. Cano continues to laugh and have a good time even when he is slumping.

              And again, while you may be right, it’s possible that fans like to see O’Neill’s passion during his streaks because he’s white and dislike seeing Cano’s calmness/laughter during his streaks because he’s not white.

              There is that very distinct and real possibility. I’d say that’s a gigantic contributing factor.

            • JP

              Sure you’re not being a racist there, Mike? I mean, come on, the lauging, smiling, latino guy? Puhleeze.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                See what I’m talking about?

                Racist language is often veiled, unsaid things at the fringes of what we’re saying. Our stereotypes affect us in very subtle ways.

                • Mike HC

                  So, saying that Cano clearly laughs and is always having a good time danching with teammates in the dugout, is veiled racism. That is really stretching it. It is an observation of one particular player. Swisher is always lauging and dancing too. Is that veiled racism of white guys?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  No, that’s precisely the point, Mike. Other players smile and dance, like Swisher, and nobody casts aspersions on Swisher’s work ethic. Meaning, there’s a sort of double standard where Cano smiling and dancing is somehow bad or indicative of some deficiency of discipline or work ethic or intensity or blah, but Swisher dancing is just him being a goofball.

                  Latinos aren’t really allowed to be goofballs, they’re “undisciplined”.

              • Mike HC

                Um … Do you watch Cano play. He is always laughing and having a good time. I’m not sure how that is racist. That is an individual characteristic. Plenty of white guys play free and loose, for ex, Jason Giambi, Barry Zito, the Weaver Brothers, i can go on forever. There are also plenty of Dominicans who took the game very seriously all the time, like Ozzie Guillen, Albert Pujols etc…

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  You’re right, Mike, it shouldn’t make a difference.

                  But people treat them differently.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Dicey subject, and I agree with you. I think he takes a lot of criticism for the mental aspect of his game and his motivation, and he probably wouldn’t take so much of that criticism if he was white.

            But on the flip side, while I think some people get more agida about Cano based on some bigotry, I think we also have to be careful not to paint ALL criticism Cano like that. He IS an inconsistent/streaky player, both offensively and defensively, and he DOES have poor plate discipline. Those things exist and are borne out by the numbers. People’s reactions to those things may be colored by bigotry, but it’s not like his plate discipline is really not so bad but people think it is because he’s Dominican.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Of course, those things are all true. But they are true about plenty of players, and it rarely gets chalked up to poor work ethic. Cano seems to get an inordinate amount of “he isnt trying” and “he doesnt have the mental makeup” thrown his way.

              • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Totally agree… That’s what my comment said, isn’t it? (Just making sure it’s not unclear.)

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Good point. Yes it was clear, and I sort of skimmed over your first paragraph. My bad.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Cool, thanks. Just making sure I don’t hate Dominicans, cause that would suck.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Lol. Seriously, I really didn’t think my initial post was accusatory. It was more of a observation on the fact that this has become a constant refrain regarding Cano.

                • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Moshe – Check this out:

                  http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/05/conservatives-against-being-against-racism.php

                  (DISCLAIMER: I’m not accusing anyone here of ANYTHING, I just thought this was an interesting blog-post and it’s somewhat related to the topic we’re discussing, and I thought Moshe might want to read it.)

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Thanks, Mondesi, it was a good read. That was why I was a bit apprehensive to make the initial point- eventually, most discussions about race become less about the actual issue and more about whether people are being dubbed racially insensitive unfairly. But I think this went better than I expected. It’s a touchy subject, to be sure.

                • JP

                  I really didn’t think my initial post was accusatory. It was more of a observation on the fact that this has become a constant refrain regarding Cano.

                  I don’t know how you can have one without the other, Moshe. You want to have the satisfaction of pointing out the possible racial injustice toward Cano, by calling attention to someone’s statements. Then, you wish to be absolved of the responsbility of having called that person a racist. You’re saying, basically, “I’m not saying YOU are a racist, but lots of racist people say things like that!” LIke Mike said below, it is really difficult to defend oneself against an accusation of being unknowingly racist, and it’s unfair to have to do so, especially when the comments had no literal tinge of racism, whatsoever.

                  I didn’t write “Cano has a poor work ethic, typical of Latino players.” (In fact, my initial comments didn’t even mention work ethic, I merely suggested he could be falling back into old habits…again something was inovked that wasn’t specifically said…). There is a difference between pointing out someone’s lack of plate discipline and generalizing toward his entire work ethic, let alone the work ethic of all Latinos. But just the spectre of a comment about something related to Robbie’s work ethic makes someone responsible for the racist statements and motives of every other person on earth?

                  I think it has been too easy for people to call out racism, and not be held responsible for doing it. If someone wants to claim the moral high ground and go around pointing out what they think is bad behavior, they should be ready to deal with the accused defending themselves.

              • JP

                You can’t prove that…got any data to back up that “rarely” part? How do you know it isn’t your own racial bias that “hears” things like this relative to a latino player, but not relative to a white player? You are doing nothing more than projecting your ideas about people’s collective racism onto their comments about baseball players. I can’t prove there isn’t racism, but you can’t point to a comment about someone like Cano and blithely conclude it’s racism.

                • Mike HC

                  I agree with JP here. Many people are racist. There is no doubt. But I don’t think anyone on this board has shown any veiled racism. Every critique written here about Cano has been legitimate, and saying it is veiled racism when critiquing a Latino player is nonsense. Posada got upset at Swisher when Swish celebrated pitching a scoreless inning. Was Posada showing veiled racism towards white players? These are individual characteristics that are being pointed out. Turning the debate into a question of whether someone is being racist while not even knowing it, is a cop out. How can a person defend themselves when you claim they are being unknowingly being racist? Just like it is ridiculous to claim that you are unknowingly being racist for pointing out that someone else is being racist. It is never ending and it is part of the larger problem that everything is shaded by race.

            • jsbrendog

              right, its because he is cold blooded and cannot hit untl the temperature rises above 75 degrees consistently. again, cashman WTF get him a heat lamp. worst gm ever

          • thurdonpaul

            i want to see every Yankee run hard at all times, whether they are green purple black latino or white, color means nothing to me, i want guys that hustle and play hard

  • S.P.

    Personally, I don’t think Cano is ever going to improve offensively. He might have had a good start this year, but he is still doing what he does best which is not being selective at the plate. To truly become a better player Cano needs plate discipline. His sweet swing will only get him so far. It’s frustrating to watch, you’re lucky if you get a 3-pitch AB from him. I thought things were gonna turn around when his walks increased at the beginning of the year, but aside from the first two weeks of the season, it’s the same old Cano. How many walks has he had in the last 3 weeks? Somebody take a look at his BA or OBP with runners on base… I don’t know the number but I’m pretty sure it’s not good at all. In my opinion, I think the Yanks should trade Cano, sell high and let some other team deal with his “aggressiveness.” It’s hard to force a player to change his ways but if I were a coach, I’d fine him for every crappy AB which is generally 3 out of 4 times per game. But again, that probably wouldn’t do anything for him anyway.

    • Mike HC

      You write as if Cano has never been a productive player. Last year was a down year compared to every other year he has played in the big leagues. “The same old Cano” is not such a bad thing. In fact, “the same old Cano,” is pretty darn good.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “In my opinion, I think the Yanks should trade Cano, sell high and let some other team deal with his “aggressiveness.””

      Selling now would be selling low, though.

  • JP

    One thing that hasn’t been tried with Robbie is changing his spot in the lineup. Maybe batting him 2nd, 3rd or 4th, instead of 6th would give him more chances with players on base.

    I know the thinking is you don’t want to put undue pressure on him, but maybe being under pressure more often will help him learn to deal with it. Maybe moving Texiera to 5th or 6th for a little while wouldn’t hurt, either.

    • Mike HC

      Why are we talking about Cano like he is not playing well? The guy is gitting.313 with a .506 slugging percentage. He just has to keep doing what he is doing.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Agreed.

      • JP

        I was talking about the fact that he’s hitting .313 or whatever it is, but is below .200 with RISP.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Just my layman’s opinion, but I think moving Tex down the order is counterproductive. Probably creates more self-awareness and self-doubt than it alleviates.

      He’s started slow every single year of his big league career and always worked himself back into being a mashing OPS machine on his own in May and June. Without being moved down the order.

      Leave Tex at 3, please. ARod behind him will continue to improve and that will be all the help he needs.

    • Matt-Pitt

      Move Teix to the 8 spot

      /
      Torre’d

      • Mike HC

        hahah, as much as I love Torre, that was funny

  • mtrico

    Down below .300 now. Just sayin’.