Saturday, April 17, 2010

Robinson Cano: MVP?

It's way too early for calling off the 2010 season and handing Robinson Cano the AL MVP trophy. However, when you watch Cano this season, there is a big difference to what he did before and how he is playing now.

Since the second half of last year, Cano has been absolutely crushing the ball—batting .343 and slugging the ball a a rate higher than he ever has during his career.

His K rate is down. His homers are up. But perhaps the most telling statistic is BABIP, or Batting Averages of Balls in Play. Since the second half of last season, Cano's BABIP has jumped over 30 points, meaning he not only hits the ball, but knows how and where to hit it, a sure sign of maturation.

Cano will always be a free swinger, walks and patience will never be his calling card. But at the plate, Cano has a better idea of how to work a pitcher. No, he's not Nick Johnson, with a fabulous eye of what's a strike or not, but he has developed his eye enough to hit the ball where he needs to.His ground ball ratio has plummeted and his fly ball ratio has conversely increased. And of those fly balls, his HR.FB ratio has jumped as well.

Overall he's making contact more, and the contact he's making are those of the better kind—hits rather than groundouts or cans of corn.

It is interesting to note that no one predicted anything close to an MVP for Cano this year—in fact some predicted a below average season for him as he moved up in the order to 5.  Of course, that could all come to fruition—it is April 17th, however, the maturation and growth of Cano since the All-Star game of last year show that this could be the year Robinson Cano takes on the mantle of his great name.

1 comment:

Pete S said...

He's just getting better and now is the right time for him to hit in the 5 hole because he's also stronger.

Who cares if he doesn't walk? If I'm a pitcher I think harder about pitching around A-Rod if I have a guy behind him who is aggressive, makes contact and, as you pointed out P-Cat, puts the ball in play. I for one do not want a high OBP in the 5 hole unless he has a high slugging percentage.

It's also worth mentioning that he is an excellent fielder despite having a habit of blowing easy plays earlier in his career. I think the same maturation process will only make him a better fielder now and in the future.