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

by Bill Chuck on October 15, 2012

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.

You can see the visual of Cano’s pitches in my version of this article on BaseballAnalytics.org.

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.

You can see the visual of Cano’s slider trouble in my version of this article on BaseballAnalytics.org.

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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