"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

All Growed Up

John Harper has a piece in the Daily News about Robinson Cano:

“If ever we had to count on Robinson Cano,” hitting coach Kevin Long said Tuesday, “it’s this year. That’s not a pressure statement, because I think he’s ready.

“He’s already a big part of our offense, but now we want him to be one of the elite guys in our lineup, where a pitcher says, ‘Man, I do not want to see this guy up here right now.'”

…”We chart chase percentages for each of our hitters, and Robby chased 11% of pitches out of the strike zone, which was the highest on the team. Most guys are around 5 or 6%. And Robby’s chases go up with runners in scoring position.”

If Cano has a good season, if he improves with runners on base, the Yanks sure are going to be tough. Meanwhile, over at Bats, Ben Shpigel writes about Cano’s fielding.

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1 Sliced Bread   ~  Feb 24, 2010 8:43 am

Going into the 2008 season I predicted Cano would be the AL MVP.
I was very wrong.

Going into the 2010 season I predict Cano will be the AL MVP.
This is the year I get it right.

2 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 8:55 am

[1] Well, I just hope you are not as wrong this year as you were in 2008!

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 24, 2010 9:18 am

oh I sure am looking forward to this

@robneyer: What's wrong with the Yankees? Mark Teixeira! Yeah, I know that's crazy talk. But hear me out in the blog later this morning

4 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:01 am

Geez, I'm surprised anyone is looking for Cano to "turn the corner" or "take it to the next level". I think it's pretty clear that's not going to happen. Eh, you could do a lot worse for a second baseman, but waiting for the full blossom of Robbie Cano will lead to frustration. He is what he is.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:14 am

When I can watch a full 9 inning game, Cano will often do something that makes think "best 2nd Baseman in the AL" AND something that makes me think "trade him for a bag of donuts immeditely after this inning."

6 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:17 am

It's pretty obvious the organization doesn't care about production out of their second basemen. That's why they groomed Robbie Cano to swing at all those pitches out of the strike zone with runners in scoring position. They're better off concentrating their efforts on putting an end to unnecessary hydrolysis.

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:20 am

[4] I think he's still young and raw enough to improve his game, become more consistent, selective, etc. He has the talent to carry a team for weeks at a time. If he does that, and keeps playing the field steadily, and showing flashes of brilliance, he could be a bonafide MVP candidate. I wouldn't throw up my hands at this point and say he is what he is. At his age, there's still plenty of room for improvement.

8 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:28 am

[7] Consistency is the issue; that's where he can make the greatest improvement. But it is pretty unusual for free swingers to suddenly become more selective (or at least that's what I've been led to believe). His walk rate has been pretty stable, his K rate has been pretty stable (maybe a slight improvement), his #p/pa has been pretty stable (though better his last three years than his first two). I just don't see how he can be more consistent at the plate unless he develops more patience and is less reliant on BA, and yet I see little evidence to indicate improvement in patience.

Finally, he's 27 this year. Is there really that much more room for improvement given his age?

9 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:34 am

[8] The sad part is, if he does make that kind of marked improvement, some people are going to likely wonder what's wrong with him (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more...)

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:41 am

[8] I wouldn't say he's too old to improve his approach. 27 is too old to make subtle adjustments, and learn to be more selective?

11 a.O   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:43 am

So Robbie is goingto halve his chases this year? I'm skeptical, but I sure hope so.

12 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:46 am

[1] Its not popular to say this here, but I think Cano is just too lazy to ever become MVP. You would think someone that has a rep for being lazy would at some point stop jogging up the first baseline (I'll never, ever forget the game where he lost a foot race to TODD JONES) but it really doesn't seem to bother him.

13 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:47 am

Cano is a guy where people tend to dwell on the things he doesn't do well rather than the things he does. This is a 27 year old 2B who has the ability to, and has, hit upwards of .315 with power.

Obviously there are holes in his game, but I'd be willing to be that there are plenty of other teams that would love to have the problem of sticking him in the lineup everyday.

14 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 24, 2010 10:53 am

[8] Yes.

Some recent research done at Baseball Prospectus (completely free!) shows that not all hitters peak at the same time; a lot depends on how old they are when they start. Not exactly a hard and fast rule, but in general, the younger the hitter gets started and stays around, the later they peak. Someone like Cano, who debuted at age 22, is more likely to peak at 29, 30, or even 31 than at 27.

15 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 11:07 am

[14] Interesting. So maybe he has a couple of more years to develop and peak, which relates to...

[10] ...I'm not saying 27 is too old to make improvements. I am saying, though, that as I understand it, patience is not something that players generally develop over time, let alone develop relatively late in their development. What free swinger can you (the generic you) think of who, after very stable walk/k/pitches-per-AB numbers for five or six years, suddenly made marked improvements in patience? What 30-walk-per-year guys changed their game at age 27 or 28 or 29?

I can think of maybe one off the top of my head, Sammy Sosa, and his improved walk rates probably had more to do with being pitched around than because of improved patience.

16 RIYank   ~  Feb 24, 2010 11:30 am

[6] Hydrolysis?


(Sound of another one of Chyll Will's remarks zooming over RIYank's head.)

17 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2010 11:49 am

[16] I'm not fro Chicago, but it sure is windy around here... >;)

I was referring to something I wrote in Bruce Markusen's post last week in regard to Sir Rob Ney-Sayer when he inadvertently set off the latest iteration of Banter community satire... in case any of you were wondering, this is where it started (respect to Sliced, of course!)

18 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 12:10 pm

[7] He's young-ish, but he shouldn't be raw anymore. I don't consider him to be, after five full seasons. doesn't that make him a veteran? Anyway after all that time, I think he is who he is.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 24, 2010 12:35 pm

Whether or not Cano has room for improvement at age-27 (I think he certainly does), as a very good player. In fact, if he had the same year as he did last season for the next 10, he'll go down as one of the top 2B of all time. In other words, Cano doesn't really need to improve. He just needs to maintain his current level.

As for being lazy, Cano is a better player than Dusty McScrappy, so I think that label is another case of preconceived notions about how players look.

20 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 12:56 pm

[19] Yes, if he has ten more 2009s he will be an all time great. But I remain skeptical he can do that given his reliance on BA. Maybe 2008 was a blip, or maybe the up and down of the last few years is what we should expect. Time will tell.

In any case, lazy or not (and you know that I don't bother with such evaluations) he is already a fine player and clearly an asset to the team. I don't know if he will ever warrant an MVP, but the team will almost certainly benefit from his presence in the lineup for the next several years.

21 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 12:59 pm

If Cano has ten more 2009s, he will go down as an all-time great cherry picker, absolutely.

22 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 24, 2010 1:06 pm

[19] you and I are on the same page, I'd love to hear the argument that he isn't the best 2B in the division

23 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2010 1:16 pm

[21] Thanks! From now on, I'm going to refer to him after good plays as "Robbie-flavored Cano!" >;)

24 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 1:18 pm

[19] As for being lazy, Cano is a better player than Dusty McScrappy, so I think that label is another case of preconceived notions about how players look.

Just because he's better doesn't mean he's not lazy. I'm not saying he is lazy, but I don't see how the above refutes the notion.

I think Cano's problem is he's a dope. I suppose it's possible something will click for him but I'm not holding my breath.

25 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 1:26 pm

[24] But William's larger point stands: whether he is or is not lazy (or a dope, for that matter) is irrelevant. He was one of the best 2B in league last year regardless. I'll take .320/.352/.520/.871/129 from 2B any day of the week and twice on Sunday, no matter how dumb or lazy he is.

26 a.O   ~  Feb 24, 2010 1:54 pm

I think he's the best 2B in the AL, but I admit I am a little biased.

It strikes me that it is not irrelevant that he is a dope (assuming that's true), because that can be the cause of some critical mistakes. Anyone remember the ALCS game where he inexplicably failed to put his foot on third base (unlike Posada, who was also at third) and should have been out? If the right call had been made, it could have been huge. I'm not sure a smart player makes that kind of mistake.

27 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 3:34 pm

[25] How is it irrelevant? If I see someone who doesn't seem to be filling their potential - for whatever reason - it's frustrating . Therefore it's relevant.

28 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 4:03 pm

[27] Ah, you're talking about "potential." I'm talking about results. I don't pretend to know what a player's potential is, and thus refrain from passing judgment on why the player seemingly fails to fulfill it. Instead, I look at what they do. So, a player who, for example, hits .877 OPS playing 2B is an asset. I could care less how he gets there (within the rules of course), whether he is lazy or stupid or smart or overachieving or scrappy or smooth or awkward or whatever.

29 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 4:20 pm

[28] I'm not talking about "potential". I'm talking about potential. However I am also talking about results, which in the case of Cano are not up to his potential. I hear tell he chases a lot of balls out of the strike zone, and even more with men on base.

30 monkeypants   ~  Feb 24, 2010 4:28 pm

[29] How do you *know* his results are not up to his potential? Because he is a free swinger? Perhaps the very fact that he chases balls out of the zone is part of what makes him hit generally well: that is, his aggressive approach might bring benefits but also has drawbacks. Or in other words, perhaps is "is what he is" and more or less is playing up to his potential. In the end, we simply can never know a player's true potential, whether he overachieved or underachieved or performed exactly in line with his abilities.

31 The Hawk   ~  Feb 24, 2010 4:31 pm

[30] I'm not just talking about one person, I'm talking about everybody. I'm talking about form. I'm talking about content. I'm talking about interrelationships. I'm talking about god, the devil, hell, heaven. Do you understand? Finally?

32 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2010 6:52 pm

Hey, Team!

I'm not sure that the issue is about Robby developing patience or learning how not to be a free-swinger: the issue is being the person with risp that he is without risp.

In other words, I'd think "all" he needs to do is learn to relax in big spots like he does in small ones so that his talent does the work. He chases because he gets jumpy, not because he's a free-swinger. He's a free-swinger without risp and hits, what, .400 or whatever?

Suggests to me that he doesn't really have to change his game in any way or draw more walks to be successful. He just has to learn to slow it down in big spots.

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