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Entries in Robinson Cano (22)

Tuesday
Jul122011

Robinson Cano and the Long Ball

New York Yankee Robinson Cano put on quite a show last night as he outdueled Adrian Gonzalez (BOS) in the final round of the HR Derby, winning it with 32 total HRs.  His 12 homers in the final round set a record for the derby.

Playing for the Yankees, a team that has big sluggers like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, Cano's power sometimes gets short shrift.  But after last night, it will be hard for anyone to ignore his long ball proclivity.

Cano seemed more than comfortable having his father, Jose Cano, throw to him last night.  While BP pitchers usually soft toss fastballs one after another, one wonders if Cano could have produced even more HRs last night if he was facing sliders.

Since 2009, Robinson Cano has hit more HRs off sliders than any AL batter with 21, and second behind fellow HR Derby contestant and former derby winner Prince Fielder (MIL), who has 23.  Those 21 homers tie the number he has hit off fastballs in that same span of time.  His 8.0 HR% on sliders (highest among any pitches he has seen since 2009) ranks 5th in baseball behind Jason Giambi (9.1%), Russell Branyan (9.0%), Prince Fielder (8.3%), and Hideki Matsui (8.3%).

Since the 2010 All-Star Break, Cano has hit 11 HRs off sliders, best in the league.  He has a 27.5% HR/FB rate on sliders, ranking him in the top 4% of the league.    And his 11.0 HR% on sliders in that time is best among all major league hitters, even Jose Bautista (10.4 HR%).

If Cano is looking to top last night's performance in next year's home run derby, perhaps Jose will break out the slider in Kansas City.

Monday
Jul112011

Breaking Down Team Ortiz's Dingers

Tonight at 8 p.m. E.T., eight of the game's most prolific sluggers will take their cuts in the 2011 Home Run Derby at Chase Field. For the first time, each league has a captain who handpicked three other teammates for the contest. National League captain and 2009 Derby champ Prince Fielder selected Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp and Rickie Weeks. American League honcho David Ortiz, who won last year's derby, called on Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez.

Here's a quick breakdown of Team Ortiz, which offers a mix of pull power and all-fields thump.

Jose Bautista

Where he hits 'em: The leader in the home run clubhouse at the break with 31, Bautista is all about the pull power. Twenty-four of his shots have been ripped into the left field stands this season, with four clearing the center field fence and three going the other way. Believe it or not, that's actually a more even dinger distribution than in 2010, when Bautista pulled 47 of his 54 homers.

HR pitch location: As noted last week, opponents are trying to keep the ball away from Bautista, with little success. Take a look at the pitch location of Bautista's shots this season:

Bautista has hit 12 homers apiece on pitches located down the middle and on the outside corner of the zone. Inside, middle, outside...if Bautista has a weakness, pitchers haven't found it yet.

Pitch type breakdown: Sixteen of Bautista's home runs have come on fastballs/sinkers. He has gone deep six times on sliders, while also hitting three changeups, curveballs and cutters apiece.

Robinson Cano

Where he hits 'em: Playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, a venue that smiles upon left-handed hitters, Cano has pulled all 15 of his home runs this season. That pull-happy tendency might serve the second baseman well on Monday night: Chase Field gives lefty power hitters a 14 percent boost compared to a neutral park, according to StatCorner.

HR pitch location: Cano likes the ball on the inside third of the plate, particularly low-and-inside pitches that he can golf into the cheap seats:

Eight of Cano's homers have come on pitches thrown inside.

Pitch type breakdown: Six of Cano's round-trippers have come on sliders, four on fastballs/sinkers, two apiece on changeups and sinkers and one on a curveball.

Adrian Gonzalez

Where he hits 'em: In contrast to Bautista and Cano, Gonzalez is an all-fields slugger. Seven of his home runs have gone to the pull side, with two going to center field and eight the opposite way.

HR pitch location: As you might expect given his opposite-field slugging, Gonzalez does most of his damage on pitches on the outside corner:

Nine of Gonzalez's home runs have come on pitches located on the outside third.

Pitch type breakdown: Eleven of his homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, with four coming on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.

David Ortiz

Where he hits 'em: Papi has pulled 12 of his home runs in 2011. He has three blasts to center, and four to the opposite field.

HR pitch location: Ortiz has taken advantage of pitchers who have left the ball over the fat part of the plate:

Ten of his home runs have been on pitches thrown over the middle of the plate.

Pitch type breakdown: Ortiz is making much more contact on fastballs this season, and it's loud contact, too. Fifteen of Ortiz's homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, two on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.

Thursday
Nov112010

Cano's Power

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long worked with Cano this season to improve his ability to turn on the inside pitch.  Here are his SLG% heat maps for the last 3 seasons.

Robinson Cano SLG% 2008Robinson Cano SLG% 2009Robinson Cano SLG% 2010You can see that Cano improved significantly on pitches inside in 2010.

Cano has also put more distance under his fly balls in each of the last 3 years.

Robinson Cano FB Distance 2008Robinson Cano FB Distance 2009Robinson Cano FB Distance 2010The Yankees have a number of veteran hitters that are in their decline years.  Jeter, who is sure to sign soon, had an awful 2010.  Alex Rodriguez's power has been in the decline since 2007.  While some of his problems in the last two seasons were probably due to his hip injury, he's not likely returning to his mid decade MVP form. 

At 28, Robinson Cano still has some of his best hitting years ahead of him, something this aging Yankees lineup will need.