Robbie Cano’s ‘Down’ Year

Through all of the talk about the starting rotation, the bullpen, and the struggles of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, the other pieces of the team have kind of been lost in the shuffle. Robinson Cano is one of these pieces and this is mostly because he’s not having an overly good year or an overly bad year, but kind of in the middle. His numbers have certainly digressed from his break out year last season, but why?

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Let me just say this first: I do not think that Robbie is having a bad year at all. He is hitting .295/.343/.501 with 16 homers and 70 RBI’s. You can take an even closer look and still see he has very good numbers as he has posted a .366 wOBA and a .206 ISO. I am just saying that he is definitely capable of more, as he showed us in 2010.

The reason for the decline in production is without a doubt his plate discipline. His BB% is down almost 3% from last season while his K% is up 2.5%. If you take an even closer look, Cano is also swinging at 4% more pitches out of the strike zone and 2% more pitches in general which is forcing pitchers to throw him less strikes. Although, you don’t need the numbers to tell you that he is swinging at bad pitches. If you’ve been watching the games, you can tell that that his plate discipline has taken a step back.

If Robbie were able to find a way to swing at less pitches out of the strike zone, it would make pitchers throw him more pitches closer to the strike zone and he would be able to make better contact and drive that average up. I would personally just like to start with him taking better at bats and gradually start taking more walks. After that, things would start to take off. I know it’s a lot harder than I made it sound, but still.

The only reason I’m writing this is because I was kind of hoping that while Alex Rodriguez was hurt, Cano would step up and start to hit a little better and almost carry the offense, but he hasn’t. I don’t think it’s because of the Home Run Derby, like some people think, but rather he just hasn’t found it yet. He hasn’t gone on that tear to drive up his numbers and I’m sure A-Rod coming back will help him. I realize Robbie’s not having a bad year, but he could take it to the next level, and I think he has to.


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