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Entries in Robinson Cano (22)

Friday
Aug262011

A Grand Night in the Bronx

Eat your heart out, Murderers' Row. Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each hit a grand slam in last night's 22-9 thrashing of the Oakland Athletics, making the Yankees the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a game.

Cano ripped a low-and-inside splitter from Rich Harden over the right field fence in the fifth inning:

  

That's a bad location for Harden, considering that Cano typically crushes pitches low and at the knees:

Cano's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

The Yankees second baseman is slugging .778 on pitches thrown down and in, which ranks in the top 10 among MLB hitters.

One inning later, Martin hit an opposite-field shot on a high 96 MPH fastball thrown by Fautino De Los Santos:

  

As was the case with Cano, Martin's blast came on a pitch thrown to one of his hot spots in the zone:

Martin's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Martin's granny is that he went the opposite way. Just four of the righty batter's 69 career home runs had been hit to the opposite field prior to last night, yet his grand slam was his second opposite-field homer of the night (he also took Harden deep in the fourth frame).

Granderson made history in the eighth, golfing a low 94 MPH Bruce Billings fastball to right-center field:

 

Ranking second in the majors in home runs and slugging percentage, Granderson is scorching pitches thrown just about anywhere in 2011...

Granderson's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

...but he's killing fastballs like no one else. Granderson has a major league-best .771 slugging percentage and 24 homers against heaters. Mark Teixeira ranks a distant second in homers vs. fastballs, with 19.

Wednesday
Aug102011

Cano vs. Pedroia

Both Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano are having very good seasons.  Even though Pedroia struggled in the first two months of the season, batting just .240 with a .332 SLG, he's turned it around and is now batting .310 with a .477 SLG.  Even when he was struggling, the Red Sox second baseman was walking quite a bit, keeping his OBP around .350.  Once the power kicked in, his overall numbers took off.

Meanwhile, the Home Run Derby champion has been fairly consistent all year for the New York Yankees.  He ranks in the 90th percentile in both doubles and triples this season, however he's struggled to get on base overall with a .343 OBP, the lowest it's been since 2008.

Here's a look at how the two match up:

2011 Season
AVGOBPSLGwOBAOPS+
Robinson Cano.295.343.503.362125
Dustin Pedroia.310.403.477.386139
(Click to enlarge)

Pedroia has surpassed Cano in wOBA in the past couple months as his power numbers have risen. Through the first three months of the season, Cano held a 5 point edge in wOBA over Pedroia. This was all despite his lackluster walk rate of 4.5%, which ranked him in the bottom 8% of the league. However, through June 30th, Cano's .501 SLG% was 102 points higher than Pedroia's. Since that time, Pedroia has slugged a whopping .633, and his .388 batting average in that span ranks first in the majors.

2011 vs. LHP
AVGOBPSLGwOBAK%BB%HR%
Robinson Cano.314.358.482.36211.3%4.6%2.9%
Dustin Pedroia.417.523.642.5008.7%18.8%4.2%

2011 vs. RHP
AVGOBPSLGwOBAK%BB%HR%
Robinson Cano.286.336.513.36214.8%5.5%4.6%
Dustin Pedroia.271.355.416.34111.3%11.8%3.0%

As expected, Pedroia holds the edge against left-handed pitching this season. His .523 OBP ranks first in the majors and his .417 average ranks third. However, it's important to note that Pedroia currently holds a ridiculously high .437 BAbip(Batting Average on Balls In Play) against lefties. Only two other players in the American League with more than 100 PA against lefties have a BAbip over .400: Michael Young of the Texas Rangers with a .408 BAbip in 128 PA versus lefties, and Michael Bourjos of the L.A. Angels with a .418 BAbip in 118 PA. Pedroia's BAbip vs. LHP was .288 in 2009 and .266 in his injury shortened 2010 season; his career BAbip versus southpaws is .323. A correction in the next couple months could start to rein in those numbers.

Pedroia has also made good use of the short wall in left field at Fenway, particularly against lefties. In 78 plate appearances, his line is .455/.526/.742 with a .482 BAbip. In his previous three seasons combined at home versus lefties, Pedroia has .335 BAbip. While Fenway does tend to inflate BAbip, it's more than likely that Pedroia has benefited from a little luck as well.

Robinson Cano has fared as expected against righties; his 4.6% home run rate is about a 44% increase over his previous three year average. And his 3 triples off lefties this season matches his combined total from 2009-10. His walk rate, however, is down from 8.8% in 2010 to 5.5%. Meanwhile, his 14.8% strike out rate is a 47% increase from 2010 when he struck out in 10.1% of his PA versus RHP. Contributing to this problem has been Cano's propensity to swing at more pitches out of the zone. His current 37.4% chase percentage versus RHP ranks in the bottom 8% of the league.

Struggles and surges aside, the Yankees and Red Sox will look to their second baseman to help lock down a playoff spot down the stretch. And with both teams vying for top honors in the AL East, the production they get from their respective second baseman could be the difference maker.

Tuesday
Jul122011

Cano Versus Halladay

One potential match-up to watch this evening pits Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees versus Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the PITCHf/x era, 2008-2011, Cano posted a slash line of .303/.346/.494, good for a weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .361.  Cano collects hits through a wide swath of the strike zone.

Robinson Cano, hits, 2008-2011.Cano doesn't hit location as much as he hits movement, or lack thereof:

Robinson Cano, movement on hits, 2008-2011.Balls that pass near the intersection of the major axes indicate that the ball traveled as expected; there was no extra spin to deflect the ball left, right, up or down.

Halladay held Robinson to a .158/.179/.184 slash line and a .166 wOBA in 39 PA during this period.  Roy tends to work him inside:

Robinson Cano vs. Roy Halladay, pitch frequency, 2008-2011.Roy does a decent job of avoiding the middle of the plate.  Most of his pitches are inside or outside, and as we see from above, Cano does not get hits on inside pitches.  Where Halladay really beats, however, is on movement.

Robinson Cano vs. Roy Halladay, pitch movement, 2008-2011.Very few of Roy's pitches come in straight. Almost all of them dip, move in on Cano, or both.  Halladay's mastery of movement and location make Cano and easy target for outs.