Open Thread: Cano follow-up

2010 Draft: Baseball America's latest top 50 rankings
Yankees sign Josh Romanski

This morning I planned to write about the three Robinson Cano plate appearances from last night in which he drew a walk. I knew there would be a few interesting tidbits — for starters, that it’s not the first time in his career that he’s done it — but what I didn’t expect to find was a trend in his swings for the year. It appears that he’s been laying off pitches outside the zone when it’s delivered low and inside. This was not only something I saw last night, but, according to Cano’s charts from the year, something that has happened all season.

I wondered if this was something that has happened just this season, or if Cano has always been selective on pitches in this location. I don’t have the skills at this point to run a study like this, but two people I work with at FanGraphs, Jeff Zimmerman and Dave Allen, were kind enough to supply some research for me. These are all in the form of heat maps, which are self-explanatory. First up is Jeff, who supplied Cano’s swing data, both from 2007 through 2009, and then a separate chart for this season.

That’s 2007 through 2009. It appears that, at least against right-handers, Cano has done a good job of laying off the low and inside pitch. He fared a bit worse against lefties, as you can see that greenish brownish streak off the plate low and inside, where it is a bit more green against righties. How does that compare to 2010?

Cano has done a bit better against lefties this year on the low and inside pitch. In fact, it looks like he has a pretty good command of the strike zone at this point. He performs a bit worse against righties, especially when the pitch is more low than inside, but that’s something we’ve come to expect from Cano.

Finally, I wondered if Cano should be laying off the low inside pitch. This is where Dave Allen played a large role. He sent a chart, complete with FanGraphs background, showing Cano’s run values. Sure enough, he’s green low and in. Then again, he’s green in the middle of the plate, too, so I’m not sure how much that tells us. Still, it’s worth a look.

Again, thanks to Jeff and Dave for supplying these heat maps. I wish I could produce this type of stuff myself.

With that, this is your open thread for the evening. Talk about whatever right up until game time, when we’ll gear up for a game thread.

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2010 Draft: Baseball America's latest top 50 rankings
Yankees sign Josh Romanski
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    Can you think of a bigger epic baseball managerial fail in recent memory than sending Zambrano to the bullpen?

    To counter that, here’s some epic awesome

    The 7th position in the Yankees lineup is hitting .404/.491/.638 (via Twitter), and, via Mike, just one of the last five starters against the Yankees have made it out of the fifth inning.

    • Jose

      Isn’t he owed something like $55 million for the rest of his contract? How can you keep that in the bullpen?

    • http://richardiurilli.wordpress.com/ Richard Iurilli

      Has everybody in the Cubs’ front office lost their collective minds? What a stupid move.

    • bexarama

      the Cubs are such a mess. They’re obviously a big market team but they have so many awful contracts… makes you realize that no, it’s not all about just throwing money around.

    • Accent Shallow

      Zambrano even pitched well last night — 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 3 BB, 9 K. Sure, it took him 120 pitches, but he’s settling in there. Keeping Carlos Silva (!!!) in the rotation over him is straight crazy. Keeping Tom Gorzelanny in the roation over him is worse.

  • http://richardiurilli.wordpress.com/ Richard Iurilli

    Ian Kennedy and Drew Stubbs for Adam LaRoche and Mark Lowe. Who wins?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      The former.

  • bexarama

    So I’m looking at the new UZR calculations and they’re amusing for several reasons, most of which I said on the Open Thread. But hey, Teixeira’s a plus defender now!

    Also, for those of you that have mlb.tv or EI, I propose a question: worst broadcasting team? I vote for the Mariners.

    • http://richardiurilli.wordpress.com/ Richard Iurilli

      Is Jeff Blowers still part of the Mariner broadcast team? He should make more predictions.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      ChiSox

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        +everything ever

      • bexarama

        I think Hawk is hilarious. I’m the only one, though. He’s definitely embarrassing.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Move to Chicago and watch ChiSox broadcasts regularly instead of just once in a while. You’ll get very familiar with the mute button on your remote, trust me.

          • bexarama

            This is a fair statement.

      • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

        Fair and balanced…something the ChiSox announcers are not.

    • Salty Buggah

      I was looking at those this morning while bored in class. Thames’ UZR/150 is unbelievably bad. Jeter’s and Cano’s are pretty damn too (near -40 IIRC). On the bright side, both A-Rod’s and Granderson’s are studly.

      Unfortunately and fortunately, it’s obviously all from a SSS.

  • Brad Toughy

    Boston.com has some great pictures from the Iceland volcano.

    http://bit.ly/cEsUf2

    • Jose

      My lungs hurt from just looking at all that particulate matter.

    • poster

      Those are some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen.

    • bexarama

      Wow. Awesome.

    • Charlie

      those are sick. i dont really understand where the lightning is coming from though, its kinda just floating in the air with the smoke

  • Justin Beaver

    So the ‘Pitchers-who-did-not-get-past-the-5th-inning’ is up to how many?

    Hope Sheets adds another one to that.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      You might also add the pitchers that could not get out of the fifth inning

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    Zambrano to the bullpen? What the fuck?! If he’s the closer, maybe that salvages my fantasy team (since Jason Frasor was demoted) in saves.

    But really, in terms of “real” baseball—what an unbelievably stupid thing to do.

    How pissy are Chicago fans that Selig wouldn’t allow Mark Cuban to purchase the team?

    • bexarama

      He’s not gonna close, I don’t think.

      They had planned to move one of the starters to the bullpen when Lilly came back. Everyone assumed it’d be Silva. They were not correct apparently.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        He’s scheduled to be a set-up man for Marmol, but since Marmol is pretty erratic maybe that could work?

        Again, it’s completely fucking insane. They need to get Sweet Lou and Jim Hendry out of there.

        Fire sale whatever they can.

    • Mike HC

      Decisions like this is why the Cubs have had such an underachieving team even with the high payroll. It says it all about the decision makers. They have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

  • bart

    I dont mind stats.. and I find a good deal of the basic stats to be useful but, heat maps?? I’m getting to the point where, I see a post like this and immediately move on to the next. I cant be the ONLY ONE who feels this way….. can I?

    • whozat

      …so, you hate understanding how things happen and why they happen the way they do?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      I can’t possibly imagine a scenario in which the above are not incredibly interesting. What is so offensive about them?

    • Moshe Mandel

      It’s just a more advanced version of the strike zone with blue and red boxes that have been on video games forever. I don’t see the problem.

    • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      You’re probably not the only one, but you’re pretty clearly in the minority.

      • Jose

        To be honest I’m not a huge fan of them. I’m better with concrete numbers than visualizations. Graphs were never my thing.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Do you disregard the posts and want Joe to stop posting them?

          • Jose

            No. I know that other people like them, so why stop? It’s just a personal preference due to my visualizing abilities that shouldn’t have an impact on anyone else.

            • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Right… So, like pete said below, that’s different than what bart said, above.

              • Jose

                Yup. I got it now. It was willful ignorance he was talking about.

            • jim p

              I’m more aural (and verbal) than visual. I just end up shaking my head trying to get what the heat graphs portray. Much prefer a gridded with numbers/percentages for a presentation. But like you say, that’s a minority take, I’m sure.

              I mean, green is go, red is no go, and orange and purple are…?

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

          that’s different from whining about their existence.

          • Jose

            I see now where he said he just moves on. Yeah, I try to understand them even if they aren’t my favorite.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

              yeah. It takes me longer to understand visualizations than raw numbers, but Joe took the time to explain them pretty thoroughly, so even without the graphs the post was, I thought, very interesting, especially for an open thread. There was no need to just come on an discredit Joe’s/Jeff’s/Dave’s work. If you don’t want to read it, don’t, but you don’t need to then go tell everyone that you didn’t read it. That’s just unnecessary.

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                I’d have preferred you expressed whatever that block of text is with something a bit more visually appealing — perhaps a montage of magazine cut-outs.

                You know, ’cause I didn’t read what you wrote.

                (Side note: Hey, Pete!)

    • Mike HC

      It is just an easy way to show you how often Cano swings at pitches in different areas. If you want to do that analysis, using a heat map, or a similar map of the strike zone, is really the only way to do it effectively. RAB is not using heat maps to show you regular everyday stuff. It is for more in depth analysis.

  • Jose

    Some facts about the offense:
    -4-7 lineup positions all have an OPS over 1.000
    -OPS with RISP is .867
    -OPS with runner on third and 2 outs is .962
    -OPS when the team is behind is .890

    This team gets runners home, even when there are two outs. When they are behind they still grind it out offensively.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      That’s insane.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Joe, a question on heat maps–what exactly does each color mean?

    • whozat

      In the top charts, redder means swinging more often, and it’s a continuum down to purple, which means swinging less.

      In the bottom chart, I believe that redder means more positive offensive contribution down to blue which means negative contribution. I’m not sure if that chart is only pitches he swung at or not.

      • Jose

        Yeah, the top 4 graphs are based on swing percentage. 1.0 being 100%.

        The bottom chart redder actually means less offensive contribution and blue means more positive contribution. The colors appear backwards from what I would think they should be.

        I could be wrong though, please someone correct me if I am.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Awesome, thanks whozat.

  • Zack

    Texas has 4 runs off of Beckett already. I’d love to see Vlad get 2 more SBs off of Boston catching tonight.

  • bexarama

    Damn, 4-0 Rangers in the second. Ace-iest ace that ever aced not doing too well. Don’t blow it today, Texas >:(

    • bexarama

      Alert! Roy Halladay almost just gave up a home run!!!! (though Shane Victorino caught it before it went over the wall)

      • Brad Toughy

        I suppose Halladay enjoys having Victorino patrolling CF for him rather than Vernon Wells.

  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    …This is what I get for drafting Beckett and Lester.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      Your fault.

  • dkidd

    i want to like tom seaver, but whenever he visits the fsny booth he sounds like a blowhard

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      whenever he talks in general he bothers me. He’s like Gossage and Ryan that way. I greatly admire their performances as players, but they need to shut the hell up about some things. I like listening to Seaver talk about strategy, but when former pitchers can’t seem to get a grasp on why the game has changed and just assume that everyone up and decided to start doing it wrong really pisses me off.

  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    Well Viz is back to being Viz.
    7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K

    • Salty Buggah

      I doubt the reports about him hitting 98 are true but if so, damn.

      Trade was still worth it.

    • pat

      Vizcaino who?

      Jose Ramirez 7 IP, 1r, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K

      • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

        I’ll call it now he’ll be the best pitching prospect for the Yanks by the end of this year.

        /NotsoBoldPrediction’d

  • Brad Toughy

    Roy Halladay faced 963 batters in 2009 and went to a 3-0 count only 16 times!

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      FACT: Roy Halladay faced 963 batters in 2009 and only allowed 3 of them to score. The rest of them were just disobedient. FACT.

      • First Time Poster

        And the three he let score were kinda like paying taxes to the baseball government… sadly, the baseball God had to pay a total of 13 <-Mo.

  • Jim S

    I like Jason Heyward as much as the next guy, but holy cow. The constant fawning over him doing the little things right is driving me up a wall.

    It’s times like this that make me despise a lot of the media we live with. A fantastic young ballplayer, and they’re making me want to STOP seeing him on national TV. Or at the very least stop hearing about him.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      young player lives up to hype, no matter how small the sample size: he’s the natural.
      young player fails to live up to hype, no matter how small the sample size: he’s a bust.

      There is no such thing as an ordinary young player. Unless he plays for KC or Houston or some other team that ESPN doesn’t care about.

  • First Time Poster

    I didn’t make this connection, but I forget where it was I’d seen it. Look up Nell Carter on google and think of David Ortiz.

    • Poopy Pants

      Oh c’mon! Gimme a Break!

  • Salty Buggah

    Damn Fenway. Damn it for last night and for what just happened.

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

      Really, the Rangers just suck. There’s no excuse for walking Darnell McDonald to lead off an inning. 92 wins, my ass.

      • Salty Buggah

        That’s true. Walking McDonald is just awful. Their pitching against top teams seems atrocious so far.

        While the Rangers are stinking it up, that Drew GS, McDonald HR, and McDonald walk-off single were Fenway specials, though maybe McDonald’s HR was somewhat legit.

      • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

        I wonder who will come out on top in that division. I thought Rangers but I have no clue now. Granted it’s still early but I wonder who will suck the least.

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

          Oakland. They have the pitching and just enough offense to win it. Don’t count out the Angels either. The Rangers are a third- or fourth-place team.

          • poster

            If you’re right, PECOTA nailed this one when nobody else even considered the possibility. As much as we ridiculed PECOTA, if Oakland does win the division we have to tip our hats to them, because they were seriously like the ONLY ones I saw (computer or human) picking Oakland.

          • bexarama

            They have the pitching but I don’t see them having the offense. I was on the Texas bandwagon but they look so bad so far.

  • A.D.

    So much for the Rangers lead

    • Dirty Pena

      What did you think would happen with Matt Harrison? There’s no use fretting about Red Sox comebacks- with the Blue Jays and Orioles coming up, it’s gonna be happening a lot.

  • First Time Poster

    Still gotta love Beckett getting smacked around like a cheap hooker… the ugliest of all cheap hookers.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    I’ll have Lilly coming off of the DL this weekend. Whom should I drop to replace him? Sadly, it’s likely to be IPK. Dammit.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Unless I just drop Mike Gonzalez instead.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Drop Zambrano for him.

      /lame’d

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Haha, if only.

        My pitchers: Carpenter, Weaver, F. Cordero, K. Gregg, B. Anderson, Arroyo, IPK, J. Sanchez (<3), Zito, Oswalt, Buchholz, M. Gonzalez, and Lilly. I only have two bench position players so I'm thinking it's gonna have to be Kennedy.

  • Salty Buggah

    Joe West strikes again (though it wasn’t nearly as bad as last time):

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/node/25453

  • Salty Buggah

    Darnell effin McDonald. Gotta be shitting me.

    • First Time Poster/Long Time Lurker

      He’s what the Red Sox were missing all this time…

    • Zack

      Can we put him in the package for Adrian Gonzalez?

      /fan not realizing he’s 31

      • Alex S

        I like the phrasing of that sentence. “THE package for A-Gonz”

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Don’t worry; in a week or so, he’ll remember he’s Darnell McDonald and crash back down to the real world.

  • Alex S

    Yovani Gallardo: 9 k’s through 4 innings. oh yea

  • Charlie

    Wow. Quote from Piniella on the Zambrano shit.

    “You look at these box scores every day around baseball and these games, especially in the National League, they’re won in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth innings,” said Piniella, in his fourth season as the Cubs’ manager. “There are few blowouts early. There’s some obviously but not [a lot].

    “Look, this makes all the sense in the world.”

    Its amazing he can actually believe that. Just awful

    • Alex S

      we should immediately move all of out SP’s to the bullpen and demote all of our relievers to the rotation

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Yeah, Lou! That’s why relievers lead the league in wins every year.

      Wait what?

    • bexarama

      WTF

      to be fair, it does seem, at least early on, like there are a lot of blown saves by various bullpens but I bet if I went through every game the large majority of games would be won by, you know, the starters.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Wow. This dude calling the ESPN game cannot read a fly ball.

    • Jim S

      At least 4-5 times tonight they’ve talked about fly balls that would have left other parks. I agreed with them on one. Every other time the ball didn’t even reach the warning track.

  • Rey22

    Is anyone even remotely surprised at Roy Halladay’s absolute domination of the NL?

    • Rey22

      66 pitches and 6Ks through 6 shutout innings against the Braves.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      No, not at all. I’ll be more surprised each time he gives up a run.

      • bexarama

        that.

        • dkidd

          i’m sure this has been discussed at length, but is there a short answer for why the nl has been so much worse for so many years?

      • Rey22

        He loads the bases with one out just for shits and giggles. Then he decided he wanted a nap, and that’s it, DP, inning over.

  • ultimate913

    Wow. Rangers just cant get a break. Now Lee is expected to make his debut on the 30th against them. They better hope that he isn’t last years Lee.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Yay Melky w/the catch.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Strike one to Glaus was in the same location as ball one.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      And strike three was a mile off of the plate. Way to help him out, Troy.

      Do it, Heyward.

  • Jimmer

    When does Andrew McCutchen become a free agent?

    For me, this will be the most exciting day since the release of Shakespeare in Love in theaters

    • ultimate913

      5 more seasons(including this one), I think.

  • dkidd

    over/under for halladay’s era this year?

    • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

      2.75

      • dkidd

        i know citizen’s bank is a bankbox, but i’ll take the under

        • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

          He had a 3.00 FIP last year though. His ballpark won’t help him though the NL would help. I’ll go under 2.75 but barely.

      • Rey22

        I’ll take the under by like .50 and throw in a Cy Young for good measure. I think he’ll outdo Lincecum, especially in Wins (Which unfortunately still matter way more than they should to voters.)

        • bexarama

          a 2.25 ERA in CBP would be INSANE. Like, would I be completely 100% shocked if it happened? No. But … that’s crazy.

          I’ll take the push on that 2.75 ERA

          • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

            I’ll take the push on that 2.75 ERA

            Boo this woman!

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      When you say over/under, you have to set it at something.

  • bexarama

    Wow the Cubs are so bad

  • Tommy S

    Hey Mondesi,check your fantasy team, I sent you a trade request.

  • dkidd

    lol josh beckett

    • bexarama

      this is only a massive tease for when Frank Francisco blows it ;_;

  • First Time Poster

    101 pitches through 8. Still, would have been furious if Jesus was traded.

  • First Time Poster

    Also, leaving Halladay to hit in the top of the 9th with a man on third and two out… good/bad move by the Philly skippe?

    • First Time Poster

      scratch that, 1 out.

    • bexarama

      I’m not so sure he was leading him in to hit as much as he doesn’t trust that Philly bullpen after their epic fail last night

      • First Time Poster

        Ouch, didn’t see this one. And McLouth for that matter?! I know he had a good year but he’s hitting well below the infamous Mendoza line.

        • bexarama

          Wasn’t so much the walk-off HR as the back-to-back HRs with two out in the ninth, I’d think. Yeesh

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    (Insert earthquake joke here)

  • bexarama

    I am SO GLAD Roy Halladay is no longer in the AL

  • First Time Poster

    Imagine what the media would do if Glaus gets on, and Heyward hits a game-tying homer.

    • bexarama

      exactly what they did yesterday ;)

  • First Time Poster

    Over/under 21 wins for Doc if he were with the Yanks this year?

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Under.

    • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

      Push.

  • First Time Poster

    7IP 6H 7R 5BB 4K 1HR = True Ace

  • V

    Is tsjc here today? NFL draft question.