June 9, 2007


Robinson Cano Redux (Marc Normandin, 6/09/07, Baseball Prospectus)

In 2006, Cano should have hit roughly .298/.321/.481, which is still a quality offensive season, but not anything like his actual line. His .363 BABIP was to blame for this, but given his line drive rate of 19.9% you get the adjusted line above. Looking into his numbers a little deeper, we find that his hit percentage on groundballs jumped considerably in 2006 (30.4%), and has dropped back down to 2005 levels this year (24.7% for ‘05, 23.1% for 2007). Basically, his groundballs had eyes, and they’ve lost them this season, much like in 2005. This accounts for the drop in production from 2006, but what about the drop from 2005’s numbers? After all, he’s hitting just .268/.308/.420 in 2007.

Cano has not been unlucky with his BABIP so far; his .315 figure is above the league average and 33 points higher than you would expect given his low 16.2% line drive rate. He has hits on 85.7% of his liners this season, 13% higher than last year. This accounts for the high BABIP, even with the low line drive rate. [...]

Regardless of adjustment, I’m of the mind that Cano is a .290/.320/.475 type hitter as he currently stands. He may develop further and improve his game–he’s still just 24 years old–but as previously stated, it will be improvements from his 2005 line, and not the anomaly of 2006.

A very nearly .800 OPS is fine for a 2b, but combined with his inconsistent defense it means you look for a replacement.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2007 12:26 PM

Well, maybe, but I still think Cano's slow start -- which is consistent with his earlier starts -- is causing people to underestimate him. For example, his OPS split in May and June last year was .641/.998 This season it's .720/.952 (going into today when he had a monster 3 for 5, with 2 doubles.)

One thing to note this season is that he's begun to improve his plate discipline, increasing substantially his p/pa and bb/pa. He's still got a long way to go, but I think at this pt it's ridiculous to think the separation btwn ba and obp will only be 30 pts -- it's about 40 now and will climb if he keeps improving.

I see him as a likely .315/.365/.500 hitter this season, and he should be able to hold steady and perhaps increase his walk rate and therefore obp over the coming years.

Which is to say that he'll likely be a closer to .900 ops than .800 for the bulk of his long career in a Yankee uniform.

The one shocking thing is that he's a monster on the road for his career -- .900 ops -- and a shadow at home -- .750 I've no explanation for that. Any ideas?

As for the defense he's already one of the best fielding 2nd basemen in the league, it's just a question of contistency so that the botched double play that likely would've meant a Yankee sweep of the hapless Sawx last weekend doesn't occur again.

Meanwhile . . .

Was that Pedroia riding that filly to victory at Belmont this afternoon?

And hey, thought you might like to see your boy Bowden's line tonight for Portland:

3 ip, 10h, 8er, 1bb, 2k. Ouch!!!!

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 9, 2007 8:59 PM

Notice that Pedroia's not in the lineup tonight at 'Zona! Couldn't get back from Belmont in time!

Oh, Lester's line for the Pawsawx tonight:

2.2 ip, 5h, 3 er, 3bb, 3k

8 baserunners in less than 3 ip? That's the Lester Yankee fans came to know and love last season!

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 9, 2007 9:17 PM

Against a righty sinkerballer you always stack the lineup with lefties. There's no room for Lester yet, so you let him rehab until he's 100%. No use bringing up a guy who can only go six and will chew up your bullpen, unless you're desperate....

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 10:40 PM

young players frequently have an extreme split between home and road, though some do better at home and some on the road. It appears to be psychological. It's hardly surprising that a youngster would play tight at the Stadium. As he settles in he could be every bit the player Willie Randolph was--good, not great, but enough on a winning team.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 10:51 PM