Robinson Cano and his Rough 2015 Season
By Ric Dickens
May 8, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) hits an RBI double to tie the score at 3-3 against the Oakland Athletics in the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Lack of Plate Coverage:
This goes right along with his spray chart that I just touched on, as the spray chart is the byproduct of his lack of plate coverage. For those who don’t know what I mean or why plate coverage is important, let me explain. Plate coverage is vital to being a good hitter, because if you’re able to cover the whole plate, you become a much tougher hitter to pitch to. For example, if a hitter is only able to “cover” the inside part of the plate, then opposing teams will pitch this hitter away in order to routinely get him out. But, Cano has always been an exceptional hitter, and has never had a place in the strike zone to attack him. So I went to Fangraphs again to see if this still holds true, and what I found was rather disheartening.
Above is a comparison between Robinson Cano’s 2014 heatmap (on the top) and his 2015 heatmap (on the bottom), showcasing his AVG/P. For those who don’t know, AVG/P is a statistic that keeps track of their average on all pitches, no matter if the batter takes the pitch, or if he swings and puts it in play. I personally am a huge fan of this statistic, because it shows what pitches hitters are taking or missing and which pitches in which part of the zone they are going after and hitting.
So while analyzing Robinson Cano’s AVG/P from last year to this year, it looks to be very apparent that his plate coverage has gone way down. In 2014, he was hot in all areas of the srikezone, and unless you can hit your spot up and away, he was probably going to make you pay. This year though, he has many more “holes” in his swing, especially as you move away from the left handed hitting Cano. Because of this lack of plate discipline on pitches away from him, it backs up his spray chat and proves that what I thought isn’t a fluke. Cano is having trouble with the outside part of the plate, and he is finally giving pitchers a place to attack him.
Next: Slump or Decline