"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Don’t Call it a Comeback


Over at SNY, Tom Boorstein takes a look at Robbie Cano:

Cano has always relied on a high batting average. Let his 2008 serve as a reminder to those who scoff at the value of walks. Batting averages fluctuate much more from season to season than on-base percentages. Some people — Joe DiMaggio and Ichiro Suzuki for instance — rely on a consistently unusually high batting average to provide upper-tier offense. (Of course, Ichiro isn’t half the player DiMaggio was. Just look at the power, but that’s a story for another day.) Others — Garret Anderson for example — get way too much praise for their ability to hit for a high average. Those players do so at the expense of their patience. And when the hits don’t fall, those players lose almost all their value.

This is why hitting streaks are overrated. Yes, it takes skill to get base hits. But patient hitters don’t usually end up with long streaks. That’s because their walks cut down on their chances to get hits.

What does that have to do with Cano and 2009? He needs to make sure his on-base percentage is more than 50 points higher than his average. Everyone worries about changing a hitter’s approach. “He’s aggressive,” coaches and announcers will say. “We like that.” What teams should like is “productive.” Aggressive is just a euphemism for impatient.

Cano’s average should return to a more respectable level next season. But unless it soars well over .300, he’s not going to be much more than an average hitter. At second base, that’s still worth something, but the Yankees’ aging lineup needs the few youngsters like Cano to step it up.

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 21, 2008 11:59 am

(With apologies to Naughty by Nature)

You down with OBP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with OBP (Every last homie)
You down with OBP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who's down with OBP (All the homies)

2 Eggs   ~  Nov 21, 2008 12:12 pm

I disagree that aggressive is a euphamism for impatient. I think it's a euphamism for aggressive!

When I played, I had to be patient. I had little skill and not much confidence. I would choose to attach on certain counts, in certain situations, when everyone was sucking, etc. Cano just thinks, "this is the pitch" every pitch. Maybe for him, passing the baton by working a walk is shirking his duties cause he's capable of more. He infuriates me sometimes, but that walk-ethic is hard to teach. It goes right to the core of who you are as a player.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 21, 2008 12:53 pm



My favorite euphemism is still "scrappy" which is the all purpose way to say you're not very good at something. You can be a scrappy hitter, a scrappy runner or a scrappy defender.

You'll notice Derek Jeter, for example, was never described as a scrappy hitter. Torii Hunter is not a scrappy defender. Jose Reyes is not a "scrappy" baserunner.

Bubba Crosby, on the other hand, was so scrappy at everything he reached the rarely attained level of "Spunky"

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 21, 2008 12:57 pm

I just did a little research and I'm wondering if the 2008 version of Cano wasn't battling a night vision problem:

BA by year (day/night)
2005: (.283/.303)
2006: (.388/.317)
2007: (.262/.329)
2008: (.295/.259)

Some more #s to chew on:

BA by year (hitting first pitch):
2005: .307
2006: .423
2007: .424
2008: .290

6 Raf   ~  Nov 21, 2008 2:32 pm

Personally, I think the Jays have enough arms to make up for the departure of Burnett, but if they're willing to sign him for 5 years, more power to them :)

7 Bama Yankee   ~  Nov 21, 2008 3:47 pm

Nice job again on the show, Alex. Just one thing, you need to get a better wardrobe department. I mean, seriously, how many shows are they going to put you guys in the same clothes... ;-)

8 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 21, 2008 9:50 pm

[5] I hope you're right, but no whoo-hoos until the ink is dry...

I would not be unhappy if Tex ends up in the NL, would you?

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 21, 2008 11:42 pm

This is a facinating article. Check out all the 'values', but especially Tex, CC and Robbie. Anybody know anything about this guy? Are his evaluations real-world worthy?

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver