Sep
27

Cano remains productive amid slump

By

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The last two days are just what Robinson Cano has needed. For months he’d seen his numbers steadily fall from his peak of .321/.382/.587 on July 16th. After going 0 for 4 on Monday Cano’s numbers had declined to .293/.362/.519 — good by any measure, great when compared to other second basemen*. Those numbers even compare favorably to Cano’s 2010 season. But after a torrid couple of months, we’d come to expect a bit more out of Cano.

*The average AL 2B hits .249/.310/.372.

Since that peak period in mid-July, Cano has hit .264/.345/.436 in 281 PA. That’s more than a third of the season, though those are just arbitrary end points. He has had some super productive stretches inside that 281 PA sample; from July 31 through August 16, for instance, he hit .321/.429/.547 in 63 PA. He also started off September not so horribly, hitting .275/.383/.550 from the first through the 12th. But that means he also had some pretty poor stretches in that period.

Yet even in those unproductive periods he has managed to keep his overall numbers in decent shape. For instance, from August 17th through the 31st he hit .245/.327/.469. During that stretch he walked six times (one intentional), good for an 11 percent walk rate. From the 13th through the 24th he was particularly bad, going 8 for 45 with just two extra base hits, but he again walked six times, good for an 11.75 percent walk rate. Even when he’s played poorly this year, Cano has remained somewhat productive for doing what he’s failed to do for most of his career: work a walk.

After a hot start in 2011 — .320/.340/.630 through May 1 — Cano slowed down considerably. In his next 143 PA he hit .237/.294/.405, walking just six times in that span. In September 2010, when he had a shot to steal the MVP with Josh Hamilton on the shelf, he hit .262/.304/.346 in 115 PA. That was just a 5 percent walk rate. Combined with the complete lack of power, it led to a considerable drop in his numbers and his removal from serious consideration for MVP. We needn’t even explore his pre-2010 career to find slumps where he not only hit for a low average, but also didn’t walk. Before 2010 Cano hardly walked at all: a mere 4.2 percent rate through 3036 PA.

One of Cano’s biggest changes in 2010 was his walk rate, which jumped to 8.2 percent. Of course, with his new spot in the middle of the order he was also intentionally walked far more often. That year pitchers passed on him 14 times; his previous career high was five, in 2007. Still, he did see his unintentional walk rate rise from 4.2 percent in 2009 to 6.2 percent in 2010. But in 2011 that dropped all the way to 4 percent. This year, while he’s been intentionally walked 10 times, he still has a 7.5 percent unintentional walk rate. It has helped keep him reasonably productive even when he’s not hitting for average or power.

For the first five years of his career, Cano was a guy who could hit with the best of them, but whose slumps hurt the team for stretches. When he slumped he did nothing productive; he didn’t hit for average or power, and he didn’t get on base. Even in 2010 and 2011 he still had trouble with taking passes amid slumps. Perhaps now, as he approaches age 30, Cano’s game has matured a bit. Even when he has slumped this year he’s managed to take walks and keep his numbers out of the gutter amid slumps. It doesn’t completely make up for the disappointment in his declining numbers since mid-July, but it’s certainly something positive he contributed amid that decline.

Categories : Offense
  • jjyank

    …..great…he can walk sometimes now…..throw him a parade….

    …..give him a raise…..

    • Joe F

      Higher OBP = more potential runs.

      • jjyank

        I know that, I was making fun of our boy stuart a.

        • Joe F

          Haven’t met him yet. I’m still a new guy!

          • jjyank

            Lucky you.

          • MannyGeee

            “Haven’t met him yet.”

            we all envy your position.

        • Slugger27

          that was actually pretty good.

    • The Guns of Navarone

      great… he walks a couple times… when he can’t hit… let’s give an 8 year contract to the guy with 82 RBI… throw him a parade…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      His legions of plantain-lipped sycophants will do nothing but defend him.

      giradri is stupid

      This guy is edgy!

      His WAR is an unelite 6/2, therefore he sucks.

      Did I miss anything?

      • handtius

        boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.

        maybe it’s a tumor.

        done.

      • jjyank

        Cashman failed.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          That goes without saying.

          • jjyank

            Cano’s slumps are CRIMINAL! CRIMINAL!

            • Robinson Tilapia

              FALLACY.

    • Anthony

      Haha I love this thread.

  • JoeyA

    So, what Joe is saying is…10/200?

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    And now two for Joe today.

    Between Mike’s reminiscing Twitter post last night, and Joe’s revival today, something’s up with the RAB.

    Something good.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Any second now, TSJC will emerge covered in dirty diaper.

      • handtius

        miss that dude.

      • MannyGeee

        The revival of TSJC will be the only way the Yankees make the World Series. Yeah I said it

    • Joe F

      Mike has twitter? I must get him to follow me.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        All three owners have really good Twitter accounts. I highly recommend them.

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

          “All three owners have really good Twitter accounts.”

          That is a questionable judgment at best.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Take the compliment.

            • Rivera Venue Blues

              No, no, no. He agrees that his own Twitter is really good. He’s questioning your judgment on the other two.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                I love Axisa’s Twitter.

          • Joe F

            I’ve known about yours for a while.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      I’m think I started it. I looked myself up from 2009. I was the first.

      (I’m not 100% sure of this, but at any rate I was unaware of any reminiscing before me).

  • The Guns of Navarone

    I’m too busy at work to look this up but I would be interested to see if you could split up his plate discipline and swing numbers by month. I feel like Cano swings at absolutely everything when he’s slumping and gets himself out more often than having the pitcher make a good pitch. So I would be interested to see if the increased walk rates during hitting slumps is actually the result of increased plate discipline or simply a random fluctuation.

    • Now Batting

      Wow…mock the post then ask him to make a follow up post

    • MannyGeee

      I think Clemente once siad the only way to get out of a slump was to start hitting and you wont hit anything with the bat on your shoulder… or something to that respect.

  • Darren

    Honestly, the people who give Cano shit for not taking enough walks don’t know the first thing about baseball. Seriously. You might think you do because you read Moneyball, but you don’t. Cano is one of the best players of his generation. He is on pace to be an all time Yankee great and a first ballot Hall of Famer. try and appreciate the elite tools like his top tier power and amazing glovework and most importantly, pound for pound the best arm you’ve ever seen.

    • Kosmo

      thanks Darren for exactly echoing my sentiments.

      • Darren

        You’re welcome!

    • Slugger27

      the best arm ive ever seen…….. pound for pound?

      ?

      • The Guns of Navarone

        Robinson Cano = Julio Cesar Chavez

      • Darren

        Meaning, it’s certainly the best infielder’s arm I’ve ever seen. Hard to directly judge him against outfielder’s arms, but if an outfielder had a comparative arm to Cano’s, he’d be able to throw absolute lasers from the outfield wall to the plate.

        I can’t think of a more impressive tool/talent in MLB right now than Cano’s quickness in throwing the ball to first (especially across his body) or to home on a relay throw.

        • MannyGeee

          Pound for Pound doesnt even remotely mean that! FWIW I agree with your sentiment, just not with your analrapy.

          • Darren

            Sure it does! It means that while a decent but not amazing heavyweight could kick the ass of the middle weight champ because of the inequality in weight classes, the middle weight might still be a better fighter when judged against his own natural competiton because he is more skilled.

            • Slugger27

              well, that’s what the term pound for pound means sure… that doesn’t mean the analogy makes any sense in this context.

              we can all agree cano has a great arm, lets just drop it.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      You didn’t really back this opinion up with facts.

      • Darren

        .300+ average
        3,000 hits
        600 doubles
        300 home runs
        1500 RBI
        WRC+ of 121

        From the best defensive second baseman in the game.

        Stupid UZR only gives him 6.1 this year (STAT FAIL).

        Sorry, I don’t know how you have a stat that mesasures
        AWESOME ARM STRENGTH FROM THE BASEBALL GODS!!!

        6.2 WAR this year, which undervalues him, in my expert opinion.

        • Rocky Road Redemption

          I’m confused with how this relates to your post.

          • Darren

            You asked me to back up my opinion with fact.

            I took Cano’s current numbers and roughly extrapolated them to arrive at his estimated his career totals, which show him to be an historically great, Hall of Fame player.

            Basically, I’m saying, stop complaining about the equivalent of Whitey Ford’s bad pickoff move.

            [Disclaimer: Whitey had a great pickoff move, but if he
            had a bad one, you shouldn't complain about it.]

            • Rocky Road Redemption

              Extrapolating his numbers and assuming they’ll hold true for a career doesn’t really work in real life, because we have no idea if he’s going to fall off a cliff (as middle infielders tend to do) or get injured (as baseball players tend to do).

              Your point about walks is well made because Cano is a great player anyway, but saying he’s one of the greatest players of his generation is something we just don’t know.

  • Kosmo

    pitchers have been pitching Cano down and away while changing speeds. Cano tries to pull the ball to much which might account for his high GIDP totals this year. If he took the down and away pitches to the opposite field more, which he´s quite capable of doing, pitchers would have to readjust.

    • robert heenan

      no, cano is doing nothing wrong he is the greatest ever don’t ever suggest he’s doing something wrong what are you a troll

      • jjyank

        So many words…..so little punctuation.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Tell me, Brain, what WAS your screen name last week?

    • pat

      Wasn’t there an article saying how he’s been using the whole field this year more than ever?

  • robert heenan

    Cano learned how to walk, good for him, my four year-old learned how to walk years ago.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      ..give hm a raise..throw a parade…

    • WhittakerWalt

      Wow.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        His four year-old pitched out of the bullpen for the Astros yesterday.

        • WhittakerWalt

          Does the 4-year old routinely hit 25-30 home runs and play GG defense? Because that would be cool.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Yeah, but his dad’s screen handle is a tribute to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, whose motto was “win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”

            • WhittakerWalt

              And now he doesn’t have a lower jaw. Look where it got him.

  • Cliff

    So now we have two posts written within a week, one saying Cano is slumping due to his lack of selectivity and plate discipline, and the other praising him for his new-found plate discipline amidst his slump…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Written by different people.

      Sites, publications, etc., often presents different points of view. That’s not a bad thing.

  • Frank Messer

    I agree – he lets his slumps last too long to warrant drowing him in so much cash. Is there a measurement of whether the pain his slumps casue the team outweight the joy his hot streaks bring everyone?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Ask White.

      • Darren

        took me a minute but then…lol

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Righetti’s no-hitter was on Yankee Classics this morning. I miss those voices.

          • Darren

            me too. Those two guys (and Scooter) really were a perfect team. I watched the last two innings this morning and it was amazing how good they were. Calm, good pipes, descriptive, fair, knowledgeable, etc.

            The only team that came close in the last 20 years is Kaat/Singleton.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Eric Schultz

    Cano’s dropoff against lefties this year is pretty startling, I’m not sure what that can be attributed to.

  • RetroRob

    He’s too good a hitter to be so streaky, yet it’s all related to his plate discipline.

    If he gets hot now through October, none of this will be remembered. Mostly.

    • Bababoey to y’all!

      Cano will never win a batting championship because he has such prolonged slumps. I also don’t see any of that killer instinct that you see in guys like our Captain or Tex. WOuld Billy martin or Lou Linella put up with his lack of Hustle on every hit like the Capt?

      I have to admit I sometimes think that maybe I’d prefer a guy like Padroia but that’s going to far, lol. The thing is he isn’t smooth like Cano but he is a gritty player who will do what ever it takes. Hes the opposite of Cano. But honestly, I really enjoy watching Cano play in the field and when hes hitting, well. Yanks fans should feel lucky to get to watch him play. Unfortunately he has quirks that ruin it and its not the Yankee way to not hustle.