Robinson Cano and his Rough 2015 Season
Jun 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) reacts to grounding out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning while Tampa Bay Rays catcher Bobby Wilson (46) looks on at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Decline in Hitting to All Fields:
You’ll have to forgive me because I can’t watch the Mariners’ as much as I would like living in Texas, but when I was in Houston I was absolutely shocked to see the extreme shift the Astros put on with Robby Cano. I’ve come to find that this is a common occurrence, and I was absolutely shocked. When I think of Robinson Cano, I think of a professional hitter who can hit to all fields, and hit to all fields with power. But, a recent look at his spray charts, and an alarming trend can be spotted.
Looking at Robinson Cano’s spray chart from Frangraphs that showcases all his hits from 2014 (the one on the left) and then 2015 (the one on the right) it becomes apparent to me why the shift was on. In 2014, Cano showed the ability to hit for average to all fields. You don’t see any tendencies (meaning he hits the ball in the same area/spot), and he was able to shoot balls into gaps anywhere he desired. But this year, you are seeing him time and time again rolling over with his right hand, causing those week groundouts to the right side.
Is he a complete pull hitter like a David Ortiz or someone like that? Absolutely not, as you can still see some ability for him to take it the other way in his spray chat. But, his pull percentage so far this year (meaning the percentage of balls that he hits into right field) is at 38.9%, which is just slightly above his 37.5% career average. What is alarming though is that his opposite field percentage is at a horrendous 19.9%, a career low for him and well below his career average of 26.7%.
Cano needs to find a way to use the opposite field to his advantage again, as it will keep teams from playing him to pull, and allow some of those balls that he hits into the shift, to find holes and go in for base hits.
Next: Lack of Plate Coverage