What Went Wrong: Robbie Cano with RISP


Over the next week or so, we’ll again break down what went wrong and what went right for the 2009 Yankees. The series this year will be much more enjoyable than the last.

Robbie Cano wondering where it all went wrong

In many ways, Robinson Cano‘s 2009 season was the finest of his career. He rebounded from a substandard 2008 campaign to hit .320-.352-.520, setting career highs in games played (161), hits (204), runs scored (103), doubles (48), homers (25), and OPS+ (129). His 331 total bases were fourth most in the league, just 13 behind right-side-of-the-infieldmate and league leader Mark Teixeira. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for Cano in 2009, as he struggled immensely when runners were in scoring position.

Robbie hit just .207-.242-.332 in those spots this season, easily the worst performance with RISP of his career. There were 247 individual runners in scoring position for Cano in 2009, yet he drove in just 55 of them (not including himself four times on homeruns), or 22.3%. For comparison’s sake, Teixeira drove in 70 of 257 runners in scoring position, or 27.2%. It’s only a 4.9% difference and that might not seem like much, but with 250+ chances, that’s more than a twelve run swing.

Ironically enough, Cano has all the tools you’d want to see in a guy batting in RBI situations. He’s got a gorgeous swing and makes contact so easily that he rarely strikes out (he struck out in just 9.9% of his plate appearances last year, ninth best in baseball). He hits the ball to all fields with authority, and he straight up murders fastballs (.328 AVG off them in 2009, 1.59 fastball runs above average per 100 pitches according to FanGraphs). Sure, you would like him to work the count a little better, but we saw earlier this morning that Cano excels at swinging early in the count. It’s in his DNA, he’s just not ever going to be a very patient hitter.

If there’s any good news in all of this, it’s that Cano had an unsustainably low .210 BABIP with RISP in 2009. His career BABIP is .324, so we’re talking about a huge difference here. Working backwards, Cano “unlucked” out of 17 hits with RISP this year because of his abnormally low BABIP (assuming he would have had his career BABIP in those spots), and those 17 extra hits would have pushed his batting line to a much more respectable .299-.328-.434 (assuming they all would have been singles) with men on second and/or third.

Cano admitted during the season that his struggles with RISP got to him, and you could clearly see that he was pressing in those spots as the season wore on. He’s human, it happens. The offseason is probably the best thing for him, because he gets to go home and clear his head, then come into camp with a fresh start next spring. His performance with runners in scoring position has nowhere to go but up, and that’s exciting.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Categories : Analysis


  1. Rose says:

    Imagine his numbers if he hit even slightly decent with runners in scoring position?? MVP Dustin Pedroia type numbers…

  2. jsbrendog says:

    cue the trade cano because he sucks/is lazy/etc in 3……2….

  3. Spaceman.Spiff says:

    /Carlos Baerga’d

    • jsbrendog says:

      he could become baerga any minute. it only take a second


    • I thought that was the funniest part of that thread, the idea that Robbie’s going to turn out just like Carlos Baerga.

      There’s a reason that Carlos Baerga started magically sucking at the age of 27, a reason not likely to be repeated by Robbie Cano:

      Carlos Baerga was traded to the Mets. That’s a psychological.death sentence. Baerga stopped hitting because he was probably too busy thinking of ways to kill himself.

      • Chris says:

        One of the great things about baseball is that you can almost always find an example to prove your point. If you think the Yankees should release A-Rod, just point out Jimmie Foxx’s collapse in his mid-30s.

        If you want the Yankees to trade Cano, just point out Carlos Baerga’s collapse. Don’t mention the fact that Baerga is the second most similar hitter to Cano through age 26.

        Just don’t mention the most similar hitter to Cano through age 26 (and 22-25 also): Joe Mauer.

    • Doug says:

      Depends. Is there a full moon?

  4. Fun/Sad fact:

    Robbie Cano’s 184 at-bats with RISP was the 5th highest in baseball… but his 198 total plate appearances with RISP was only 18th highest.

    He only had 14 plate appearances with RISP that didn’t end in either a hit, an out, an error, or a fielder’s choice. 92.9% of his PAs ended this way. Compare that to Tex: 174 out of 222 (78.3%).

    Mind bottling.

  5. vin says:

    Just to add on to the thought about Robi’s strikeout percentage…

    The AL average is 17.3%.

    Tex, Damon, Matsui, Jeter, Melky, and Cano were all better than league average.

    The guys who were above (worse than) league average, Posada, Swisher, and Alex, you can live with because of their ability to get on base and hit for power.

    Interestingly, the two youngest guys, Melky and Cano, had the lowest so% on the team. That bodes well for their futures.

    In fact, the Yanks had the second fewest SO in the AL (1 behind Baltimore). This despite leading MLB in total plate appearances.

    Their ability to put the ball in play, and hit both lefties and righties really helped make this offense a dominant force.

    Side note (that’s more on topic) – the Yanks had the 3rd best OPS with runners in scoring position, despite Robi’s struggles.

    • whozat says:

      Their ability to put the ball in playget on base and hit for power, and hit both lefties and righties really helped make this offense a dominant force.

      fixed that for you.

  6. Re: the ridiculous trade talk/Baerga comps:

    Cano’s #1 comp. on B-R: Joe Mauer. Cano = MVP in ’10. Maybe.

    • Don says:

      Look a little further down that list Matt and at the numbers a bit closer.

      • Don says:

        Plus you fail to mention the 70 point difference in OBP with Mauer, Mauer’s 13 more runs scored in close to 300 less abs, the 23 point difference in OPS+, and the fact Mauer walks more than he Ks.

        I love baseball reference, but that comparison doesnt jive.

      • You asked for it, you got it:

        Similar Batters Through Age 26
        1. Joe Mauer (941) – FUTURE HALL OF FAMER
        2. Carlos Baerga (937) – solid player who mysteriously fell off a cliff
        3. Edgardo Alfonzo (932) – All Star, great player
        4. Tony Lazzeri (927) * – HALL OF FAMER
        5. Yogi Berra (920) * – HALL OF FAMER
        6. Frankie Hayes (913) – Five time All-Star
        7. Joe Torre (911) – Borderline Hall of Famer
        8. Derek Jeter (908) – FUTURE HALL OF FAMER
        9. Travis Fryman (905)- RoY, five time All-Star
        10. Vern Stephens (905)- Seven time All-Star, five time top-10 MVP candidate

          • Don says:

            And Alfonzo is?

              • Don says:

                Who completely fell off a cliff at the age of 28, as did Baerga at 27.


                  Oh, and btw: If 1 mediocre player out of 10 is an outlier, guess what 2 out of 10 is? Yup, still and outlier.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Don’t you see? For every Carlos Baerga you can name, there are 5 comparable players that didn’t completely fall off a cliff. You are pointing to an outlier and trying to pass it off as the most likely outcome for Cano. Huge logical issues with your arguments man.

                • Don says:

                  I agree its an outlier.

                  However, I see far more Fryman, Baerga, and Alfonzo in this guy stats-wise than Joe Mauer, Yogi Berra, or Derek Jeter.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  And I see far more Ian Snell, Fausto Carmona, etc in Edwin Jackson stats-wise than Zack Greinke (who you brought up), Billingsley, or even Cain.

                • Mike Axisa says:

                  Of course, you’re comparing him to three of the greatest players who ever lived. No one expects Cano to be that good. We’re trying to say that he is an above avg big leaguer that isn’t worth pawning off because you have a bad feeling about him.

                  He could easily fall off a cliff. You know what? Because shit happens. It just does, and usually there’s nothing you can do about it. You make decisions based on the info you have at the time, and everything points to Cano being a productive player for many years.

                • Furthermore, absent any similarity between Cano and Baerga/Alfonso (who have utterly dissimilar injury histories, body types, or swing types, for that matter) the odds of Cano falling off a cliff at 27 or 28 are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH smaller than the odds of Orlando Hudson falling off a cliff at 32 or 33.

                • However, I see far more Fryman, Baerga, and Alfonzo in this guy stats-wise than Joe Mauer, Yogi Berra, or Derek Jeter.

                  I don’t give a shit if that’s what you see. You see things with your eyes, eyes that are prone to bias.

         sees things simply through raw, unbiased comparisons of actual production. If what you “see” disagrees with what “sees”, is probably right and your eyes are probably wrong.

                • Don says:

                  Lets have this conversation when this offseason is over.

                  For now its a useless argument since we have no idea what the Yanks are planning, nor how they feel about Cano as a player.

                • Don, you need to slow down and make your arguments much more carefully. You keep saying stuff because you’re going on your gut feelings but you just wind up saying things that people can attack for being inaccurate because you have an agenda and you’re not paying attention to the numbers.

                  Look… I’m sympathetic… I’m a huge Yankees fan and I root for everyone player on the team, but, in all honesty, Robinson Cano is not my favorite Yankee of all-time. I cringe when I watch him run the bases, and, as much as some people probably don’t want to admit this, his fielding is pretty awful (and probably won’t improve much in his prime before it gets even worse as he ages). I also don’t love guys whose value is tied to the degree Cano’s is to his batting average and who lack plate discipline and patience, and I worry about the possible repeat of 2008, which stings because other than the bat he doesn’t bring much to the table.

                  But, even after listing the deficiences in his game that I (and I assume you) don’t love, you have to also acknowledge that he’s one of the top offensive second basemen in the game, and he’s 27 years old. He has a ton of value to the Yankees, we don’t have any idea what he could actually bring back in the trade market, and moving him would mean you have to fill the second base hole you just created with an inferior player.

                  You can’t start with the premise that you don’t love the guy and conclude that the Yankees should move him and then try to find stats/comps that support you. Look at the numbers, look at the comps, think about the possible trade market, then make your decision. I think you’ll find that you’ll probably change your mind somewhat, and you certainly won’t get beaten up around here as much as you have been in this discussion.

                • Lets have this conversation when this offseason is over.


                  Or, you could just admit that all of your argument is just a hunch that disagrees with the overwhelming preponderance of the data, and that you’ve poorly evaluated the Yankees needs and wants and are just now realizing that your idea will never happen, not because “we don’t know what the Yankees are planning” but because it’s horrendously retarded and you’re beginning to realize that Brian Cashman isn’t nearly as dumb as you are and would never trade an all-star second baseman for a fringy starting pitcher who just now finally started pitching well (briefly) and whom we have no use for or need for since the Yankees already have numerous starting pitchers who are equal to or better than him, and that we also have no interest in trading away a stud 2B entering his prime just to replace him with a 32 year old injury prone Type A free agent who was occasionally benched for Ronnie Belliard down the stretch.

                  You could also say that… but you’re not going to.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Now that, is a run on sentence.

                • Don says:

                  Ive said it before, Ive worked in the game, its cliche I know in these circle, but Ive had conversations with plenty of scouts.

                  I know who the Yanks are big fans of, and who they are inclined to move. I dont bring this up out of thin air.

                  This not a defense because obviously I have no tangible proof, but that is where the genesis of my thoughts lie. Plus, as has been pointed out, Im not a fan of his game.

                  I used to be when he first came up, but then he wore on me – in a negative way.

                  Anyway, I thank Mr. Mondesi for a kind and well thought out response. I thought I could I have a civil discussion with fellow celebratory Yankees fans. However, I suppose that I shouldnt craft my arguments in between making calls at work.

                  I apologize for that. I appreciate all of your fervor, and at the end of day hope however it turns out, it turns out best for the Yanks.

                • Don says:

                  No lil tommie, I know THE guy.

                • :: facepalm ::

                  “Ive said it before, Ive worked in the game, its cliche I know in these circle, but Ive had conversations with plenty of scouts.

                  I know who the Yanks are big fans of, and who they are inclined to move. I dont bring this up out of thin air.”

                  You don’t bring it up out of thin air, yet you can’t substantiate it. You’re appealing to the “I know a guy” defense. You’re right and we’re wrong, and the proof is that you have inside information that we’re not privy to that you can’t explain or lay out or verify, we just need to take your word for it. That’s what that means.

                  Oh, and “lil” tommie… nice touch.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  Ive said it before, Ive worked in the game, its cliche I know in these circle, but Ive had conversations with plenty of scouts.

                  you said you worked in marketing or relations or something. i’m sure you and the scouts had such in depth convos

                  I know who the Yanks are big fans of, and who they are inclined to move. I dont bring this up out of thin air.

                  no. no you don’t. you are not brian cashman. you are not damon ooppenhiemer or anyone in the yankees front office or even in the yankees organization. you know how “your trade proposal sucks” well “you don’t know shit.”

                  This not a defense because obviously I have no tangible proof, but that is where the genesis of my thoughts lie. Plus, as has been pointed out, Im not a fan of his game.

                  my eyes tell me eh sucks, i don’t like him, so they should trade him. this is devoid of all rational thoguht and not once have you said who would play 2nd base instead or how they would be “better” than cano

                  I thought I could I have a civil discussion with fellow celebratory Yankees fans.

                  you can. you just have been all over the place, contradicted yourself and have not been rational or concisely stated a valid point with any evidence and when you have it has been disproven and you then contradict yourself by changing your argument.

            • A player who had a decently long and above average career?

              • A guy who, just like Robbie Cano, is a much better baseball player than Edwin Jackson?

              • Don says:

                So by that analysis, youd be happy with 1 more year of solid production out of Cano?

                • Where at all did I say that? Don’t put words into my mouth. Yeah, sure, Cano could fall off of a cliff production wise next year or the year after. That could happen to anyone in baseball. Anyone. However, aside from one crappy season in which he had a decent amount of crappy luck, Cano’s really shown know signs of falling off a cliff. In fact, he’s now entering the period of his career that should be his hitting-prime. There’s definitely a chance he falls off, but it’s highly, highly unlikely.

                • “know” should be “no.”

                  /waiting to go to SAT tutoring job.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  I’m not even mad at the point that Cano is overrated. I’m mad at his complete violations of basic logic that he uses to construe his point.

                • Nady Nation says:

                  So Matt, what you’re basically saying is that you just can’t predict baseball, right?

                • Don says:

                  Why dont you post your Philosophy degree Spaceman?

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Lol, so now basic logic = philosophy degree. Which I did double major in, but that’s besides the point.

                • Don says:
                  Why dont you post your Philosophy degree Spaceman?

                  … the last refuge of a man with no argument.

                • Don says:

                  What I find interesting on here is you continue to ignore the truth about Cano’s defense, career failures in the clutch, plate discipline, and lack of base running ability.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  No. I accept that he has flaws. What you seem to be unable to accept is that even with those flaws, his strengths make him a rare commodity at second base and a positive asset to our team that you seem to give him no credit for.

                  What I find interesting is that you somehow strongly forecast a “falling off the cliff” for Cano based on no real reasons.

                • I find it interesting that you’re engaging in the moving argument to attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that your alarmist concerns about Cano’s imminent decline have little-to-no basis in any reality and hinge entirely on one flawed leap of logic made only by you and not corroborated by anyone else.

                • vin says:

                  Base running ability? He was safe at 3rd, in case you forgot.

                • Cano’s defense: up and down. Some weeks he’s incredible, some weeks he’s awful. It happens. Defense fluctuates.

                  Cano’s plate discipline: I wish it was better. Everyone wishes it was better. However, his lack of strikeouts, high contact skills, and good power do a lot to make up for it.

                  The “clutch” stuff: In high leverage he has a .271 BABIP. His career BABIP is .321. So there’s probably two things going on here: a little bit of pressing and some weak contact along with a little bit of bad luck. Both things are easily, easily correctable.

                  Baserunning: Cano was 4th on the Yankees in EQBRR this season.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Whoa, whoa, whoa. tsjc, can I see your philosophy degree?

                • Don says:

                  I actually dont think his imminent decline is inevitable, is it possible sure it is as others have pointed out. That is baseball.

                  My point is that based on Cano’s limited overall skills as a player (doesnt run or field well), I dont see him improving as time goes on but rather declining.

                  At what rate? I dont know if its Carlos Baerga, Carlos Delgado, or Carlos Carrasco but I believe the Yanks can either trade Cano now or build a package around him for a player that will grow into a better player in the years to come.

                  Perhaps the Yanks have seen the max performance out of Cano and another team has an immediate need for him. The Yanks, with their deep resources and minor league system, can afford to take a risk on dealing a limited player like Cano for someone of greater ceiling in the years to come.

                  That is my point. Perhaps I did a poor job between yesterday and today of clarifying on a message board, but I thought like minded people could have a debate about baseball and not the layout of my argument.

                • Don says:

                  Real class act Tommie. Or whatever you call yourself.

                • “but I thought like minded people could have a debate about baseball and not the layout of my argument.”

                  But how you make your argument is just as important as what you’re arguing. If you’re not clearly writing what you want to say, your argument falls flat.

                  Remember, maybe you have the idea clearly in your head, but we’re not you. The point of writing is to convey the thought in your head clearly to a reader. If you fail to do that, your argument fails.

                • The Yanks, with their deep resources and minor league system, can afford to take a risk on dealing a limited player like Cano for someone of greater ceiling in the years to come.

                  That doesn’t mean we should, though.

                  Yes, Jackson is a young player with upside. Cano is also a young player with upside. The heart of your argument is, you think Jackson has more upside than Cano and thus should move Jackson for Cano now while we have the chance.

                  The problem with this idea is that it’s viewed in a vacuum. Even if you’re right, we still have more of a need for Cano than we do for Jackson. We are deep in starting pitching and shallow in middle infield prospects.

                  Trading Cano for Jackson creates a hole at 2B, a hole you plan on filling with Orlando Hudson. Even if Robbie Cano declines, he’s still going to be a much better 2B than Orlando Hudson is. And Hudson is just a stopgap; we’re going to need to find a new long-term solution at 2B if we deal away Cano, and that’s going to necessitate another trade down the road, because second basemen like Cano don’t hit free agency as frequently as pitchers like Edwin Jackson do.

                  And, trading Cano for Jackson creates a logjam at SP, as well. And even if Edwin Jackson keeps improving, he probably isn’t any better than the 5 starting pitchers we plan on using this coming season, and may not ever be better than them.

                  Your idea was kinda flawed even in a vacuum. When looked at in totality of the Yankees situation, both now and going forward, it’s flat out dumb.

                • Don says:

                  Sorry Joe, you are dead on.

                  I just dont have the time to carefully plot out arguments on a Yankees fan site, a site I respect and love.

                  I didnt think one had to, but now I do.

                • One has to, because otherwise how are we to understand your point? I’m not going to belabor this, because you obviously get it. I just want to make it clear. We’re not expecting Pulitzer level commentary. Just a level of clarity that lends itself to a continuing debate.

                • Just a level of clarity that lends itself to a continuing debate.

                  And a logical consistency that demands that you formally retract an argument that has been demonstrated to be flawed, rather than simply attempting to change the subject when it’s clear that your argument has lost.

        • If Jim Rice is a HOFer, Joe Torre is a HOFer. But, that’s a conversation for another day.

      • 1. I’m being incredibly sarcastic.
        2. The only comps. I don’t like on that list are Giles and Sanchez. Otherwise, they’re all good players who had solid careers.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      You guys are aware that the BR comps are just a fun toy, rather than predictive of a player’s career path, right?

  7. More Canó facts:

    His 104 plate appearances with RISP and two outs were the tied for the 4th most in all of baseball. He saw about 100 fewer pitches total in those situations than the other four guys at the top.

    Jorge Cantu: 110 PA, 461 pitches (4.19 PPA), .263/.336/.343 (.680)
    Shin-Soo Choo: 105 PA, 450 pitches, (4.29 PPA), .279/.410/465 (.875)
    Andre Ethier: 105 PA, 435 pitches, (4.14 PPA), .218/.352/.391 (.743)
    Dan Uggla: 104 PA, 429 pitches, (4.13 PPA), .244/.404/.378 (.782)
    Robbie Cano: 104 PA, 379 pitches, (3.64 PPA), .204/.250/.327 (.577)

  8. Tank Foster says:

    The BABIP tells most of the story, I think. He’ll be better next season.

    I don’t worry so much about the lack of walks as I do about him swinging at bad pitches. Well, I guess the two are inextricably related, but what I mean is I don’t think you have to be a Swisher or Abreu type who really goes for the walk and refuses to swing at pitches marginally out of the strike zone. I don’t have a problem with being aggressive. Robbie’s problem is – or this is how it looks, anyway – that he seems to commit too soon and ends up swinging at too many bad pitches. Jeter is an aggressive hitter, but gets his share of walks because he swings at fewer bad pitches.

    There must be a way to help hitters learn how to recognize the pitches and wait the extra few nanoseconds in order to make a correct decision on when to swing.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I know Beltran does this routine where he writes numbers on a bunch of tennis balls, loads them up in a pitching machine, then shoots them out at 100mph. The whole point is that while he stands in the box, he has to read the number on the ball.

      I thought that was very interesting, and obviously he’s a fantastic OBP guy.

      • Spaceman.Spiff says:

        Melvin does this routine where he writes numbers on the baseball in the moment he releases the pitch. Hopefully when we face the Mets in the World Series next year, this means that Beltran will automatically try to read the number on the ball, forgetting that he’s at bat in a real game.

        Kidding aside, that’s really cool and I can’t imagine being able to do that with a 45 mph pitch, much less a 100 mph pitch.

      • Having that machine available is actually written into his contract.

  9. Riddering says:

    The best part about the Yankees winning the World Series is looking back on problems likes these and remembering how serious and threatening they seemed.

    That being said, I’m not concerned about the future of Cano and RISP. If his numbers altogether had declined I’d be more concerned but the ability and hitting talent is there in the stats. And his 2nd half average showed improvement, even when he was pressing due to the spotlight on his RISP woes. (I don’t suppose any sites split second half hitting with RISP numbers?)

    • vin says:

      “If his numbers altogether had declined I’d be more concerned but the ability and hitting talent is there in the stats.”

      Exactly. The important thing is he still has all the tools to be one of the top all-around hitters in the game.

      Regarding hitting his poor hitting with RISP, the quesion is if its mental or is his approach wrong.

      I have no idea if he takes more or less pitches, swings at better or worse pitches, or just simply has bad luck with RISP. It’s hard to find the splits that answer those questions (except the first).

      Which forces us to go by our eyes and anecdotal evidence… which as we all know tends to be a faulty approach.

      For what little its worth, my eyes tell me that he’s less likely to drive the ball in those situations. Seems like he’s more focused on making contact and hitting the ball on the ground to the right side (less than 2 outs). He also seems to cut down on his swing in those circumstances, which turn his line drives into the deep alleys into playable line outs.

      Again, I could be completely wrong.

  10. themgmt says:

    I’m convinced it’s timing and not bad luck on balls in play. He looks off balance when the pitchers change their cadence with runners on base.

    It my be why Cano closed up his stance again later in the season when he said he was working on hitting with RISP

  11. Tank Foster says:

    And as usual there is this “fetish” with RISP numbers, as if the other numbers don’t matter. A graphic on Cano during the playoffs pointed out, I think, that he had the best BA with nobody on base or leading off an inning or something. Getting the leadoff runner on greatly increases the chances of scoring runs, and Robbie’s high slugging percentage means that he was on 2b alot of those times….to have as good overall numbers as Robbie and be so poor with RISP means he was insanely good in other situations, which can lead to runs scored, obviously. Batting higher in the order, he could have been at or near the league lead in runs scored.

    There aren’t many players in MLB who can make contact and hit line drives and hit with power like Cano. If he had a better batting eye and a titch more power he’d be Pujols or Manny or ARod. His “peripherals” make him look worse, but in terms of pure bat handling and eye-hand coordination, he’s among the 5 best in baseball.

    It’s guys like Cano who make me wish baseball were a little different. Getting on base is what counts, I know, but standing up there and working a walk is not – or shouldn’t be – what the game is about. It should be about who can hit the ball the best (for hitters), and who can make the most hitters miss or hit it crappy. It’s why I want all these changes made in the rules…..

  12. theyankeewarrior says:

    Does anyone else think that Robbie has excellent glove skills and an amazingly strong arm? Don’t these skills point to him continuing to improve in the field? The guy makes unreal plays out there all the time. I get frustrated when hes slumping and booting text-book grounders from time to time, but he is most certainly not a weakness at 2B. Hes a huge strength. And the reason any of this trade talk ever comes up is because we don’t have any other position players to discuss trading while we’re on here 25 hours a day all off season.

    • Tank Foster says:

      I agree. But one will get slapped around for saying that here because his UZR is near the bottom of the league. UZR sees him as costing the team runs, in all categories (turning DPs, range, and errors).

      If my feeling that he is very good is wrong, it’s probably because he has lots of gracefulness and a strong arm, so he looks slick, while in reality those are just the plays he makes; he flat misses lots of plays that other fielders would make.

      If my feeling that he is very good is correct, then UZR is wrong…I think the potential sources for UZR errors are substantial, mostly involving the stringersl’ judgements on the speed of the batted ball, the definition of the zone, and the “slop” in the system induced by the interaction of adjacent fielders, and the borders or overlaps of their zones.

      I think a red flag on UZR is the degree to which players seem to vary from year to year. Players’ defensive ability should be relatively stable, at least during the early and mid-portions of a career. The variation in UZR suggests the possibility that there is some sort of random, BABIP-like factor which is affecting UZR stats.

      • “I think a red flag on UZR is the degree to which players seem to vary from year to year.”

        This is a totally reasonable concern, but you can’t bring up that concern in this case and then ignore Cano’s UZR numbers for his career. UZR has been pretty consistent for him, he had one year of positive UZR that was an outlier and 4 seasons sandwiched around that one outlier that have showed him to be a subpar defensive second baseman. If you prefer to look at UZR over the course of numerous seasons in order to take the year-to-year volatility out of the equation, the conclusion to be drawn in Cano’s case is still that he’s not very good defensively.

        • Tank Foster says:

          I definitely might be wrong. That’s sound reasoning; I might have said “below average” rather than “not very good,” but that’s splitting hairs.

  13. themgmt says:

    To elaborate on ‘timing’, watch Cano’s movement at the plate with no one on base.. Particularly his front leg and hand movements. When there are runners on base and the pitcher comes to set, he goes into his normal routine loading up but when the pitcher doesn’t throw right away (i.e. looking to a bag or just holding the ball) Cano just hangs there. When the pitcher finally does deliver towards the plate it seems like Cano rushes through his normal swing mechanics. I think he was better at it when he had the open stance but I think closing his stance was an attempt to make his routine shorter and more consistent.

    There’s probably a happy medium somewhere in there.

  14. Bo says:

    He’s a 2b who hits 300 and drives in 100. Not to mention playing GG caliber defense.

    But if hes not short, white, and get his uni dirty every play he must be lazy and not care. Him and A-Rod will never please the fans.

    • Tank Foster says:

      I take it you don’t believe in UZR then? Because by UZR, he’s a below average 2b with the glove, every year of his career except one. The short, caucasian, dirty-shirted guy is – by UZR anyway – one of the best in the league every year. See my comment above where I say I think Cano is good defensively, but as of yet the numbers don’t agree with what you and I think.

  15. DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

    “Teixeira drove in 70 of 257 runners in scoring position, or 27.2%. It’s only a 4.9% difference and that might not seem like much, but with 250+ chances, that’s more than a twelve run swing.”

    I find this very interesting. These are stats I find to be very worthwhile and dig up info that might not be so obvious to somebody watching them. It does seem like it would be a bigger difference that that. This info does support something I noticed about Tex though.

    Good work. This one made me think and rethink. What is that smoke I smell?

  16. Frank Fernandez says:

    Cano’s supporters/defenders can’t make a case for batting him higher than 6th in the order. Tells you how meaningful that .320 batting average is.

  17. Tank Foster says:

    Frank, if Cano batted cleanup for the Yankees he’d drive in 110 runs a year. You’re nuts.

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