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Entries in Robinson Cano (22)

Thursday
Nov082012

Hot Spots for '12 AL MVP Finalists

The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced finalists for its awards on Wednesday, including American League MVP. Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton or Mike Trout will get the hardware next Thursday on MLB Network. Here's a quick look at each candidate's heat map during the 2012 season. Unlike on election night, there's a lot of red here.

Adrian Beltre

Beltre mashed middle pitches -- his .786 slugging percentage on offerings thrown to the horizontal middle of the plate ranked second among qualified batters (Adam LaRoche was first):

Miguel Cabrera

Miggy, meanwhile, was the game's most dangerous hitter when pitchers tried to bust him inside. Cabrera slugged .673 against inside pitchers, slightly edging out Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper:

Robinson Cano

Cano had two major hot spots: down and in, and high and way. He slugged .614 versus down-and-in pitches (nearly 180 points above the MLB average) and .698 on high-and-away stuff (290 points above the MLB average).

 

Josh Hamilton

Hamilton's hot spot was, well, everywhere:

He ranked in the top 10 in slugging against inside, middle, and away pitches. Hamilton's prowess against in-zone pitches (he slugged .817 against pitches thrown in the zone, best in the majors and 123 points above runner-up Ryan Braun) explains why pitchers so rarely challenged him. Hamilton saw the lowest percentage on in-zone pitches (35.1%) of any qualified hitter. Prince Fielder ranked a distant second at 40.7%.

Mike Trout

Unless pitchers went high-and-inside or painted low and away, Trout made them pay. The 21-year-old was especially deadly against pitches thrown to the horizontal middle of the zone, ranking fourth among hitters with a .758 slugging percentage:

 

Friday
Oct192012

Yankees Hitters in October: An Autopsy

The New York Yankees' season ended last night when Prince Fielder snagged Jayson Nix's pop-up at the lip of the infield grass, completing the Tigers' four-game ALCS sweep. The sad part? Nix's one-hundred-foot floater was one of the Bombers' better ABs -- hey, at least he made contact!

New York led the American League in both on-base percentage and slugging during the regular season, but the club's offense no-showed in October. Here's a post-mortem on the Yankees' bats:

  • Collectively, the Yankees batted .187, got on base at a .254 clip and slugged .303. Ichiro was the only Bomber to tally double-digit hits (11), and Raul Ibanez was the only guy to go deep more than once (he hit three HR).
  • New York's trademark plate patience disappeared in October. The Yankees chased 32.4% of pitches thrown out of the strike zone during the playoffs, up from 27.3% during the regular season. Teams have been jumpier overall in the playoffs while facing higher quality pitching (the chase rate has increased from 28.4% during the regular season to 30.4%), but that's still a major jump in swinging at junk for the Yankees.
  • The club's biggest hackers were the hitless Eric Chavez (43.6% chase rate) and Robinson Cano (41.5%), who went 3-for-40. Chavez went after pitches thrown a foot outside, while Cano extended the zone down to his shoe tops:

Chavez's swing rate by pitch location

 

Cano's swing rate by pitch location

 

  • Curtis Granderson whiffed 43.5% of the time that he swung, far north of his already-high 29.7% miss rate during the regular season. He struck out 16 times, four more than any other postseason hitter.
  • The second-most whiff-tastic hitter? Alex Rodriguez. Despite being plastered to the bench for much of the ALDS, A-Rod struck out 12 times during the postseason. He whiffed 37.9% of the time that he swung (27.1% during the regular season).
  • Robinson Cano didn't record a single hit against a breaking or off-speed pitch, going 0-for-23 against curves, sliders and changeups. Pitchers buried Cano with soft stuff thrown low and away:

Location of breaking and off-speed pitches thrown to Cano during the playoffs

  • Russell Martin's hitting woes weren't due to poor plate discipline -- he just couldn't connect on pitches thrown over the plate. Martin saw a strike 55.6% of the time, second-highest among playoff hitters with at least 30 plate appearances (Jon Jay is first, at 56.2%).
  • Nick Swisher passed on some meatballs. He swung just half of the time that he got a pitch thrown middle-middle over the plate, down from about 76% of the time during the regular season. The average swing rate on middle-middle pitches is about 75% during the playoffs, and it was 72% during the regular season.
Monday
Oct152012

Nine to Know: Breaking down Robinson Cano's postseason breakdown

It's hard to believe that Robinson Cano, in the last nine games of the Yankees regular season, went 24-for-39 for a .615 average. If you add that to his 2-for-32 .063 in the seven games of the postseason, you still have a .366 batting average which is not a bad average but I think the Yankees and Yankee Universe are seeking a little balance from Cano. They are also expecting him to hustle down the first base line and turn the double plays that he should be able to do. But that's another story. Let's focus on Cano at the plate.

Nine to Know: Looking under-the-hood at Cano's struggling postseason.

1. Pitchers are killing Cano by owning the outside half of the plate.

On pitches on the outer-half of the plate, Cano is 1-for-27. Before you try to get a handle on the fact that the only hit Cano has had on pitches on the outer half of the plate was an opposite field double against the Orioles' Jim Johnson in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the ALDS, think about the fact that 22 of Cano's of the last 27 of Cano's at-bats have resulted with outs on pitches on the outer half of the plate.

2. Cano is seeing 3.82 pitches per at bat. He saw 3.53 during the regular season so aggression, or lack of it, is not an issue.

3. Or is it? Cano in the postseason has a called strike percentage of 35.1 as opposed to 25.3% during the regular season.

4. Pitchers are pounding Cano with fastballs. During the regular season, 47.8% of Cano's pitches were fastballs, but in the postseason it's been 62.3%. During the regular season, Cano hit .294 off the fastball but in the postseason, only .143. BUT...

5. It's the slider that really killing Cano because he's clearly not picking it up.

Cano is 0-for-9 against the slider with eight groundouts and one pop-up. Cano hit .274 against the slider during the regular season.

6. Hard to believe but in this slump, Cano is not striking out a lot. This postseason, Curtis Granderson has struck out 14 times, Alex Rodriguez 12 times, Derek Jeter 10 times, Nick Swisher eight times, and Cano only four times.

7. BUT, no one has swung at more pitches than Cano who has swung at 69 and missed 11 times. BTW: Granderson has swung and missed on 23 pitches, A-Rod has swung and missed on 21 pitches, Swisher has swung on missed on 18 pitches.

8. Between swinging strikes and pitches he put into play, Cano totals 89 swings. But of those 89 swings, he has chased 28 pitches that were out of the zone, the most on the team.

9. So what do all those swings mean? It means that Cano has had 18 at bats with two strikes on him and he's 0-18 for on those at bats. Pitchers will always have the advantage once they get two strikes. Even during the regular season, Cano was 61-for-281 (.217) with two strikes on him but he had 426 plate appearances during the regular season in which he did not have two strikes on him.

So as you watch Cano in Detroit, let's see if a night away enables him to exhibit a little more control chasing the outside pitch, picking up the slider, and avoiding two strike situations. If he succeeds, you will see the hits start coming.

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