Cano’s Improvement

As of last night, we have officially had a changing of the guard. After setting up camp at the top of the WAR leaderboards for most of the season, Justin Morneau has finally been displaced. Now it’s Robinson Cano leading all of Major League Baseball with +4.0 wins of value added, as the Yankees second baseman is carrying his teammates.

Offensively, not much has changed with Cano, as the surge in his numbers is basically tied to a higher than usual BABIP (.382) and his extra base hits flying over the wall instead of bouncing off of it. Last year, 36.7 percent of his hits were of the extra base variety, and he’s at 36 percent this year – the distribution of those XBH, however, have tilted toward home runs. It’s hard to say that either of those spikes represent a significant improvement, and not surprisingly, the ZIPS rest-of-season projection suspects that Cano will hit at basically his 2009 level for the rest of the year.

There exist other numbers, however, that suggest Cano has indeed turned himself into a better over all player. The big strides he has made have not been at the plate, but rather in the field. I saw Cano play quite a bit in 2002 when he was assigned to low-A Greensboro, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that he was a defensive disaster. His footwork was laughably bad, and while he showed athleticism, there were just no fundamentals that suggested he was even on the path to becoming a big league middle infielder.

He wasn’t much better by the time he got to the majors, in 2005, as he posted a -21.2 UZR in his rookie year. Despite hitting well for a second baseman, he gave back nearly all of his value by failing to convert outs behind his pitchers. Again, I figured it was only a matter of time until Cano was shifted to the outfield, where his athleticism could play well and his inability to react quickly would be of less importance.

To his credit though, Cano has put in a tremendous amount of work, turning himself into a competent defender. No, he’ll never win a gold glove, but his +2.3 UZR to date this season is no longer the kind of shocking number that makes people question the system itself. While a couple of months of UZR data isn’t large enough to make any conclusions, his UZR since the 2006 season is just -12.4, or about -3 runs per year.

Cano probably won’t continue to have 40 percent of his extra base hits fly over the wall, nor will he be able to keep his BABIP at .382. He can, however, continue to play a decent enough second base, and he should take pride in that fact, because he got there through sheer hard work. Even when the offensive numbers inevitably regress a bit, Cano will still be one of the game’s best second baseman, and that’s a testament to just how far he’s come as a player.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


128 Responses to “Cano’s Improvement”

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  1. Disco says:

    Hopefully he’s finally shaken off the lazy and carelessness stereotypes he was wrongfully given by many writers throughout his career.

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    • JH says:

      You mean the one’s he was given – subconsciously – because of his skin color? I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

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      • ILoveBaseball says:

        I think the “lazy stereotype” still applies here and that’s to some of his play and not his skin color.
        I’m a Yankees season ticket holder and my observation is he never runs hard to first. Outside of this he appears to play without a sense of urgency which I believe to be a style characteristic and not a real absence of “busting it”. He also does not seem to hustle, ever. These are just anecdotal observations but are not related to his skin color. Agree?

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      • Steve says:

        Against the Astros, Teixeira hit a squirter that wound up staying fair. He didn’t run hard to 1st and was easily thrown out. Had he run, it may have been a close play. No one said anything.

        When Paul O’Neill hit a popup that he was “angry” about, he’d toss his helmet and jog to first base.

        Consiously or not, there are a ton of players that don’t always hustle, yet are never called on it.

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      • ILoveBaseball says:

        The only Yankee I observe not running hard is Posada and with him it’s hard to know if he’s running hard or not. That being said it’s not impossible I have built-in prejudice but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Paul O’Neill not running hard because he’s “mad” is just as egregious as any other reason not injury related. There’s no way the Yankee announcers would have the guts to criticize Cano now. Just my observation.

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      • waynetolleson says:

        Cano’s reputation as being a lazy player had nothing to do with the color of his skin, his nationality, ethnicity, or anything. Cano simply had some bad habits. He was lackadaisical in the field, and often didn’t run hard out of the box.

        That’s just the fact of the matter. Now, I happen to think that Cano is one of those players who allows a batting slump to affect other areas of his game. He appeared to be at his laziest in 2008, when he had his worst season ever as a hitter, batting just .271 with a .715 OPS on the season.

        2008 was also the first year since 1993 that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs – there were no playoffs in ’94, and the Yanks probably would have made the playoffs that year. The team was struggling, and when a team struggles, you tend to notice every little ground ball that sneaks-through, every DP that isn’t turned, every instance where a hitter doesn’t bust it out of the batter’s box.

        The fact remains, however, that Cano wasn’t always hustling, didn’t always appear to be giving 100%. To make this an issue about race is, frankly, quite annoying.

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    • M.Keller says:

      It’s not so much that he was ever lazy, or didn’t huste- that’s just the way he plays. He has such tremendous athletic ability that he makes everything look easy.

      Also, why risk pulling a hammy running hard on a routine grounder? It’s fucking dumb.

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  2. nf says:

    I dunno if it’ll crash, it’s basically a BABIP correction from his awful BABIP with RISP last year.

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    • MikeD says:

      nf, that’s actually a good point. His BABIP with RISP was ridiculously low last year, which is why the stats community predicted a improvement in 2010 (they were right) so a regression toward the mean would pull his overall BABIP up. I’m not sure how much, but unless he stops hitting with runners in scoring postion again, his overall BABIP should not sink to last year’s level moving forward. The truth probably sits somewhere between his BABIP last year and this year.

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  3. Andy S. says:

    “No, he’ll never win a gold glove”

    Careful there, gold gloves are fickle.

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    • Steve says:

      yeah, i wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wins one this year, since offense can sometimes influence the way these things are voted on.

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    • drew says:

      Awesome offense and a low error count (only 1 so far this year). Looks to me like Cano is going to have a good shot at a Gold Glove.

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      • Bronnt says:

        And playing in New York certainly doesn’t hurt.

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      • Steve says:

        You do realize that the gold gloves are voted on by the coaches of the other teams, right? I’m not really seeing how the Red Sox coaching staff are biased into voting for NY players.

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      • Bronnt says:

        Steve, it doesn’t really matter, since the Yankees get tons of coverage. Managers and coaches quite obviously can’t catch every single game, and their judgments are certainly based on more than the 6 games that they see several players in person. Getting more exposure definitely makes a difference, which is why being solid hitters ends up making a difference. Players and coaches watch highlights the same as the rest of us, and you’re just going to see more highlights of Cano than of Adam Rosales.

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    • MikeD says:

      Yeah, I was going to call that one out myself. In fact, current course and speed, I would say Cano is the odds on favorite to win the Gold Glove this year. Voters love to award players who put up big offensive numbers. That’s how Jeter has won his gold gloves. And if Jeter can win Gold Gloves, then Cano certainly can to!

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  4. Chris says:

    Nice write up.

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  5. Matt says:

    “No, he’ll never win a gold glove”

    2 words: Rafael Palmeiro

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  6. Scully says:

    Franklin Guittierez… oh wait

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  7. Bim Bim says:

    No MEA CULPA for the most laughably bad, snarky, smart assy knowital prediction in the history of scouting? Cameron, you’re a total knob. And you suck at your job.

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  8. Bim Bim says:

    “I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day. That he still gets talked up as some kind of top prospect (not pointing at John here, by the way) amazes me.

    I’ve seen Cano play a lot, and I’m not even sure he’d be a productive Triple-A player. Let’s start with his defense; it’s brutal. He has terrible footwork and simply lacks any kind of instincts around the bag. There’s no way you want him playing up the middle. He might have the raw speed to not be awful in left field, but that’s about as kind as I can be regarding his glovework. Offensively, he’s a fastball hitter. He sits dead red on every pitch and waits for a mistake. Any good breaking ball or offspeed pitch will have him out in front. He’s mostly a gap hitter, lacking the power to drive the ball consistently over the wall. To add insult to injury, he’s also a terrible baserunner.

    In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee.”

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    • waynetolleson says:

      Did Dave Cameron really write that? Why does anyone pay attention to this guy? I mean, if he really thinks that the only difference between Cano in 2010 and other years is that he’s more lucky on his “balls in play,” I don’t know what to say.

      I’m a big fan of stats. They’re very interesting to pore-over, analyze, and dissect. However, you have to watch a player play the game. Robinson Cano has made major strides as a player the past few years. He has always had a great swing. It’s just that now, Cano is finally learning the strike zone and swinging at more strikes. He’s also a little stronger, which is why those doubles are turning into HR’s.

      His defense has improved greatly, too. It’s amazing that a guy who was so condescendingly convinced Cano would never produce more than a .620 OPS expects us to trust his almighty analysis now. Fact is Cano has a career .836 OPS, and it’s on the rise. And Cano’s defense has gone from being below-average to being average-to-above-average, which is fine given his offensive production.

      But I guess if you have blog on Fangraphs, you must be a genius.

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    • MikeD says:

      When did Cameron write that and has he ever addressed it since? It’s one thing to state an opinion, but if an analyst is going to be that convinced and that over-the-top on a player’s ability (or lack there of), then he needs to come back to it in the future for his own credibility.

      I guess it also shows why baseball development people/scouts can have an impact way beyond what the early numbers show.

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    • What’s wrong with the analysis?

      Cano was bad then.

      Cano has improved.

      Cano is not bad now.

      Now let’s get down to brass tacks:

      1). Who does Cameron owe anything (apologies, mea culpas, or what ever) to other than Robinson Cano? Certainly not any of us. Since it sounds like you didn’t have a high opinion of Cameron to begin with, then only the people who have believed in his analysis need to have a “crisis of faith” figured out.

      2). When are you going to point out all the things that are accurate that Cameron has predicted over the years? I’ll wait.

      In short, quit being dicks. People who post on blogs and in public forums open themselves up to criticism. This is nothing new. It also means that every jackass with a computer can offer their own Armchair Quarterback opinion several YEARS after the fact. Tell you what, you start sticking your neck out for criticism and see how much you like it when random Yankee fan gets a burr up his ass that Cameron didn’t proclaim every Yankee prospect as the next Hall of Famer.

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      • waynetolleson says:

        Cano was not bad, then. DAVE CAMERON was bad then. Dave Cameron didn’t have the slightest clue what he was talking about, and mad his typically snide, condescending analysis. He wanted to sho how much smarter he is than everybody, and in the process, he made himself look like a fool.

        I’m not suggesting Cameron owes anyone an apology. It’s just a lesson that maybe Dave Cameron doesn’t really know as much as he thinks he knows. Maybe all those people who, for years and years and years said Cano had the talent to win a batting title and hit 30 HR’s: maybe THOSE people actually had a clue what they’re talking about, and Dave Cameron doesn’t.

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      • “Maybe all those people who, for years and years and years said Cano had the talent to win a batting title and hit 30 HR’s: maybe THOSE people actually had a clue what they’re talking about”

        Name. One.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        If we’re going to talk about the “talent” or “potential” to do something, then we’re going to get in a whole mess of stuff.

        From what I gather, Cameron Maybin still has the talent to have a .300-30HR-30SB season.

        In my humble opinion, I consider Alfonso Soriano to be aming the most talented players in baseball. What he is able to do with his size, despite doing numerous things mechanically wrong, is just a tribute to his talent.

        Therein lies the trap of talking about talent to a degree.

        This is where I get to the point that I wished sports psychology was a more developed field of study.

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      • JimNYC says:

        In fairness to Dave, Cano was NEVER considered a big-time prospect when he was in the minors. He was brought up as a stopgap because Tony Womack was positively brutal, but nobody expected Cano to turn into anything special at that time. Up through 2004, Cano had hit .301 in a half-season at AA Trenton, and never higher than .280 at any other stop, with little power and no plate discipline. Other than that half-season at Trenton, the highest OPS he’d ever put up at any level — by far — was a .766 in most of a season in 2002 in A ball. He was then promoted to high-A for the rest of that season and put up a .276/.313/.377 line. So it’s not surprising that his minor league reports were less than glowing.

        That said, he turned a switch in 2005, and, yes, Typical Idiot Fan, people have been saying since then that he’s bound to win multiple batting titles if he puts in the effort. As to your request to “name one,” I’ll give you several, who’ve said it multiple times since 2005: Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson, Paul O’Neill, Ken Singleton (who’s always described him as “Rod Carew with power”), along with every broadcaster the Yankees have had for the last five years.

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      • nck says:

        Who the hell is saying Cameron owes anything to anyone. He just should find another line of work. Sports is NOW FULL of knos nothing, opinionated loudmouths who suck at what they do. He write what he thinks on the net and he is getting lambasted for being so pathetically wrong in this case. He is getting what he deserves. He will live with it, or I’ll give him a job as a fry cook……if he puts in a few weeks as a dishwasher first…….after he trains for 30 days…..after he takes an IQ test for the position, which I promise I will be lenient on……….and I wont’ make him cry….I promise. And his wife or girlfriend will leave him in a heart beat for Cano, no matter HOW lazy he is…….

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  9. Bim Bim says:

    I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day. That he still gets talked up as some kind of top prospect (not pointing at John here, by the way) amazes me.

    I’ve seen Cano play a lot, and I’m not even sure he’d be a productive Triple-A player. Let’s start with his defense; it’s brutal. He has terrible footwork and simply lacks any kind of instincts around the bag. There’s no way you want him playing up the middle. He might have the raw speed to not be awful in left field, but that’s about as kind as I can be regarding his glovework. Offensively, he’s a fastball hitter. He sits dead red on every pitch and waits for a mistake. Any good breaking ball or offspeed pitch will have him out in front. He’s mostly a gap hitter, lacking the power to drive the ball consistently over the wall. To add insult to injury, he’s also a terrible baserunner.

    In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee.

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    • Brett says:

      Hindsight. I’m sure you predicted the level of success that he has achieved these last 2 years? It’s a prediction, take it with a grain of salt. If you don’t then that is your problem not the person making the prediction.

      I really think fangraphs should turn off commenting for a few days. I have seen other sites do it when the vocal minority starts to degrade the comments section into what is happening here.

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  10. Bim Bim says:

    Here’s a gem: “I guess I should have nominated Cano in the most overrated prospect thread the other day. That he still gets talked up as some kind of top prospect (not pointing at John here, by the way) amazes me.

    I’ve seen Cano play a lot, and I’m not even sure he’d be a productive Triple-A player. Let’s start with his defense; it’s brutal. He has terrible footwork and simply lacks any kind of instincts around the bag. There’s no way you want him playing up the middle. He might have the raw speed to not be awful in left field, but that’s about as kind as I can be regarding his glovework. Offensively, he’s a fastball hitter. He sits dead red on every pitch and waits for a mistake. Any good breaking ball or offspeed pitch will have him out in front. He’s mostly a gap hitter, lacking the power to drive the ball consistently over the wall. To add insult to injury, he’s also a terrible baserunner.

    In his prime, I think he could hit .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense. Yipee.”

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  11. fothead says:

    Well I disagree about his defense not being gold-glove caliber. His arm combined with his quick release make his throwing second to none at second base. His range up the middle is incredible, and he turns the DP better than most. I think he is a legit gold-glover (as legit as the gold-glove can be which admittedly isn’t much) by a wide margin. The Yanks team BABIP against is tied for the best in baseball. If you consider Cano is probably the only one out of the starters that is improving defensively, I conclude that Cano has a big part of that, and the eye test does not contradict that at all. I’m a Yankee fan who’s watched nearly every inning Cano has played in the bigs, and he is now an elite defender.

    The lazy reputation he had previously had absolutely nothing to do with his skin color, that is such a tired claim. He was lazy. Very lazy. At least based on his play at times. He booted routine ground balls, was lazy on the bases both mentally and not running his hardest, and his aloof exterior didn’t help that at all. He’s shed that label for good reason, he’s addressed his shortcomings as has blossomed into one of the top 15 players in all of baseball.

    Also an interesting thing to consider about his early minor league days, he was converted to a 2B from 3B early in his career, so his horror-show defense was a young kid adjusting I think. It’s now coming full-circle.

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    • Steve says:

      Why is booting a routine ground ball a sign of being “lazy”?

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      • fothead says:

        Well mental laziness. Not being disciplined. Occasionally it happens to everyone, but Robby had issues with the easy plays, which to me shows a guy who’s head isn;t always in the game. But to his credit that has changed.

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  12. GWR says:

    Cano is leading all second basemen in DRS just ahead of Utley, in 2007 Cano lead second basemen in DRS and was fifth in UZR. the only thing that stopped he from getting a gold glove in 2007 was Polanco and his immaculate feilding percentage. this season Cano has committed only one error (a throwing error). This is the first time he has had and above average fielding percentage. I think Cano has a good chance of winning a golden, especially with all the web gems of the incredible throws he makes and he leads AL second basemen in putouts assists double plays and fielding percentage.

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  13. MetsKnicksRutgers says:

    Good god bim bim. No mea Culpa? What the he’ll did he mention it for then when he said he was wrong in 2002. Did Dave bang your sister or something?

    He was wrong about a prospect. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s been known to happen.

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  14. fothead says:

    Bim, I don’t know what games you’ve been watching this year, but you should get your eyesight checked.

    And even if I were to agree about his D, you really, really must be kidding about his bat. Even if he were just a mistake hitter, many great offensive players have been mistake hitters. Obviously you’ve watched alot of Arod. Same with Tex. Both mistake hitters. Look at his Pitch Type Values, above average against every type of pitch except cutters and splits this year. He’s been well above average against Sliders, curves and change ups for the better part of his career.

    Robby’s ability to turn on the inside pitch is the last step in his evolution as a hitter. He’s a legit 30 HR threat playing half his games in Yankee Stadium.

    And besides, how is Cano a “prospect”? This is his sixth MLB season! You’re nuts man.

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  15. fothead says:

    Oops, I guess you were quoting someone else Bim, my fault. SHoudl have read mroe clearly.

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    • MetsKnicksRutgers says:

      Supposedly that was Dave in…2002. I am petty sure many here can be called morons because they bought homes in 2000 and didn’t forecast the recession of 2008.

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    • nck says:

      Neither did mattingly, boggs, or Ramirez of florida……..what the hell does THAT have to do with anything…….being average in the minors and excelling in the pros if pretty common………so your point was????

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  16. Bim Bim says:

    It’s not that Cameron was wrong, it’s that he was, AND CONTINUE TO BE, such an insufferable p**ck in his writing. He should try a bit more humility.

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    • Brett says:

      Don’t read it then? The wonderful thing about the internet is you can choose what you consume. If you don’t like Dave Cameron THEN DON’T READ HIS POSTS. Find another blog that you enjoy and don’t look back.

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    • Jerry says:

      You mean like the humility and class you’ve put on display?

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    • joser says:

      There’s certainly someone who is, and continues to be, “an insufferable p**ck” in this thread. And it’s not Cameron.

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    • Nick says:

      Dude, I actually think Dave Cameron is one of the good guys. There are a lot of SABR heads that are straight up assholes who do math all day and quote equations like scripture. Dave is very knowledgeable, writes well, and made a mistake. Take issue with the moron who wrote the Ubaldo article for the sole purpose of starting controversy, citing SABR stats to back his claim up when he apparently is completely clueless the stats he was citing are predictive stats that say absolutely nothing about the actual results.

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      • nck says:

        MAYBE SO….but he is still…………………..DEAD WRONG. And why you make your living giving your opinion, being dead wrong is FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR worse than being a nice guy or bad guy, or anything else. So, he was THE WORSE HE COULD BE, about Cano…he could GET NO WORSE, THE PITS, THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL. So, I’ll give you hes a straight shooter,…..hes just a TOTALLY OFF BASE straight shooter…..dumb, in other words.

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  17. Bim Bim says:

    Cameron also pretends he is a scout. He’s no scout . He has no scouting ability whatsoever.

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    • James says:

      Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s something for you to say this now but it would have been another thing if you called him out when he wrote before.

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  18. Karen W. says:

    Cano will NEVER win a Gold Glove? Are you excepting bets on that statement? I need a new car.

    Cano did have a reputation for being lazy – based I believe on the fact that his head was never 100% in the game. Bowa used to get into it with him all of the time . . .

    As for the lazy rep – I simply don’t find that to be true anymore – his concentration has greatly improved over the years which has added to his defensive prowess and when a Yankee hater in love with himself and the skills he once possessed at second base (Joe Morgan) praises Cano on a regular basis one must take note.

    The one real hole in Cano’s game was his selectivity at the plate along with his inability to hit with RISP – both markedly improved this season.

    Cano deserves all of the props he is getting right now.

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  19. Franco says:

    Cano is riding on some luck this year, but FG still mocked national broadcaster calling him a battle title contender a month or so ago which was silly on their part. The guy is a lifetime 312 hitter. Most batting title winners are 300-320 hitters who run into some luck.

    Also I think rarely major league players are ever lazy. I think lazy has become a euphemism for being stupid/mental laziness/immature. Cano would make stupid baserunning and fielding mistakes which he’s cut back on with age.

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  20. Not David says:

    It may be time for FG to considering comment moderation.

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    • I voted “thumbs up” on that, but I wanted say that, sadly, comment moderation is probably required at this point. This tread and excellent write-up has been hijacked by someone quoting three separate times, something Mr. Cameron wrote eight years ago, not to mention numerous character assassinations. Its distasteful, unnecessary, and detracts from the site even though its no direct fault of the writers.

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      • Brett says:

        Or even turning off comments for a few days so some of these idiots go away.

        I love reading the comments when there is a lively discussion of the topic, but lately it seems that people want to dissect the author and not what wrote. Bringing up a prospect prediction from 8 years ago and pointing out that the author was wrong is hardly enough to discredit Dave.

        Dave seems to attract the crazies though…

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      • Dave attracts the crazies because he speaks his mind with no bullshit. For some reason, if you say something with flowers and butterflies then you can be wrong and everybody’s fine with that. But if you deadpan a criticism of someone, you’re a fucking villain.

        It proves humanity is stupid. How’s it go? 60% how you look, 30% how you sound, only 10% what you actually say?

        In writing, it’s about 90% sound, 10% say. So as long as you sound appealing, everything’s wine and roses.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Dave attracts the crazies because he speaks his mind with no bullshit.

        IMHO, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dave, attracts the crazies because of his tone, and his derision of things he doesn’t agree with.

        IMO, Dave is just one of those guys that goes against the grain just for the sake of going against the grain and upsetting the apple cart. I don’t know if it’s just his internet persona (or internet muscles as it’s sometimes called), or if it’s because he’s really a jerk, or if it’s because he’s unhappy as a person, or if he really is a down-the-nose talking straight shooter … and frankly I don’t care. I prefer to comment on WHAT is written not WHO wrote it or HOW they wrote it.

        Fangraphs, IMO, doesn’t need a Skip Bayless where the attention is directed away fro the issue and toward the author.

        That’s about as involved as I’ll get with the personal stuff. But, i did want to point out that it’s not because of being a “straight shooter”. People, generally, really like a straight shooter.

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      • “IMHO, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dave, attracts the crazies because of his tone, and his derision of things he doesn’t agree with.”

        That’s what I said. His tone is direct. He doesn’t sugarcoat facts. Some people like to interpret being brisk as being rude. Usually those people can’t handle the facts being presented, so instead of refuting the information given them, they attack the person.

        As for his derision, why would Dave, or anybody, care to listen to the opinions of cranks and pseudoscientists who provide very little empirical evidence or rationality in their responses or criticism? You think people who are completely out of their minds and irrational deserve respect?

        Respect is earned. It is not a right. Not all opinions are created equally and nobody has the right to an ignorant or uninformed opinion. Being derisive to these people is the only thing they deserve.

        Yeah, that’s right, I just defended elitism. Deal with it.

        “IMO, Dave is just one of those guys that goes against the grain just for the sake of going against the grain and upsetting the apple cart. I don’t know if it’s just his internet persona (or internet muscles as it’s sometimes called), or if it’s because he’s really a jerk, or if it’s because he’s unhappy as a person, or if he really is a down-the-nose talking straight shooter … and frankly I don’t care. I prefer to comment on WHAT is written not WHO wrote it or HOW they wrote it.

        That’s about as involved as I’ll get with the personal stuff.”

        You’re full of shit. How do you write that entire paragraph of character assassination and then say you only care about WHAT is written. You even admit that you’re doing it!

        God I hate people.

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  21. Disco says:

    RC’s lazy rep was always overstated. Yeah, he had mental lapses here and there, but outside A-Rod, he pretty much is the hardest working Yankee on the team. He ALWAYS takes optional BP, hired a trainer to get him into amazing shape, wanted Kevin Long to visit the DR to help, he ALWAYS takes BP with his dad in the DR, and he really cares. I know all the players train hard, but it seems like RC is non-stop with baseball.

    But he had a couple pictures taken of him at a club and plays with a smooth style so suddenly he was the careless player who needed to get his head in the game. It’s a moniker that was never fair to him.

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  22. Cool Breeze says:

    One of the keys to Cano’s improvement has been his plate discipline this year. Take a look at the stats… Improved BB% tells part of the story but the other is in the SO% increasing. Doesn’t necessarily sound good when strikeouts increase but it probably means he is getting into deeper counts (more two strike counts), and being more selective at the plate. Cano, in some interviews, has attributed his improvement this year to not swinging at as many bad pitches. The stats confirm that. He is better this year and is entering his prime. As for whether he can win a gold glove or not, I think he may. I don’t know if he will deserve it but he has a great arm and more range (or is better positioned), this year. We will see.

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    • nck says:

      Thank you. The reason for his improvement in a nutshell. Clear and concise. Just not glitzy enough I guess.

      And Pedroia is STILL ugly, still bald, still the brother of a child molester and STILL an AHOLE who put his entire family in danger and his fathers business in danger SIMPLY because of a short mans issue.

      But, he’s gritty. Short for hes bald, fat, slow, talentless and……………………………WHITE.

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  23. 86general says:

    Terrible article.

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  24. Gerry McDonald says:

    Cameron, you must be a total complete idiot.

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  25. CircleChange11 says:

    Do we know that Cano improved through sheer hard work or is that just the author’s assumption?

    I ask b/c we as fans often make “process assumptions” based on a change in results as if it were a cause-effect situation. Well, we do this with players we like. For those we don’t we find an alternative explanation.

    As a coach I’m interested in a link to info on how Cano’s practice and effort has changed. What is he doing to improve now that he hasn’t been doing in previous seasons?

    Oh and about the hustle thing, when Pujols grounds out, he jogs to first. For all the folks that complain about “hustle”, I’d like to follow them around all day and see just how hard they work.

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    • “Do we know that Cano improved through sheer hard work or is that just the author’s assumption?”

      No, you’re right. He was lazy and improved. Or a magical footwork fairy came down and gave him Hermes’ sandals.

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      • bflaff says:

        Are you a parody of someone?

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      • If I thought others were important enough to parody, then maybe!

        The name is an intentional mocking of the general fanbase as a whole. The casual fans, if you will. People like… oh, Bim Bim.

        Really, I just hate irrational bullshit masquerading as “opinion making”. Dave makes sound analysis and shows his work, but when he’s wrong, the maggots come out of the woodwork to make sure they get their kicks in. None of them owns up when Dave’s right, of course.

        It’s probably unfair to mock irrational cranks, but life sucks.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        No, you’re right. He was lazy and improved. Or a magical footwork fairy came down and gave him Hermes’ sandals.

        Dave said it was “sheer hard work”. I was asking how he knew that. Whether he had reports of Cano doing some different drills, working harder on conditioning, etc.

        How we do we know it is not “something else”. Hey, why not “luck”? Luck seems to be acceptable anytime else something happens which we cannot explain/predict.

        I said I was a coach. Surely you can see my interest in whether Cano’s improvements were due to “sheer hard work” or not. Or maybe you can’t.

        But, thanks for the non-humorous, smart-ass comments that did not add anything to the discussion. There’s not enough of those on the internet.

        I was hoping for imnformation on exactly HOW Cano improved, not that he improved, but the details regarding HOW.

        Honestly, at this point it’s looking more like author assumption than anything else. Given Cano’s environment and teammates, I’m doubtful he ever was lazy. Maybe unintelligent, maybe nonchalant, but I don’t see those guys allowing a teammate to bog down the team from being lazy.

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      • “How we do we know it is not “something else”. Hey, why not “luck”?”

        Hey! Here’s an idea: read Dave Cameron’s fucking article closely before saying stupid shit:

        “Offensively, not much has changed with Cano, as the surge in his numbers is basically tied to a higher than usual BABIP (.382) and his extra base hits flying over the wall instead of bouncing off of it. Last year, 36.7 percent of his hits were of the extra base variety, and he’s at 36 percent this year – the distribution of those XBH, however, have tilted toward home runs. It’s hard to say that either of those spikes represent a significant improvement, and not surprisingly, the ZIPS rest-of-season projection suspects that Cano will hit at basically his 2009 level for the rest of the year.”

        Second paragraph.

        And while you might have interest in knowing what Cano did as a coach, in order to better facilitate the learning of your own wards, there are better ways of asking the question other than going into the question with the assumption that the Author is talking out of his ass. The thing is, what is the alternative other than working harder to improve his game? What, specifically, he did is probably not relevant to anybody but you (since you asked). But if you can think of another way that a player can drastically improve their defense other than working at it, I’m sure we’d all like to know.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Hey! Here’s an idea: read Dave Cameron’s fucking article closely before saying stupid shit:

        Really?

        But if you can think of another way that a player can drastically improve their defense other than working at it, I’m sure we’d all like to know.

        Oh, I dunno … how about the same factors that come up EVERY time we’re talking about 2.5 month’s worth of performance: [1] sample size, [2] luck, [3] improvement, [4] stat inaccuries, [5] something else.

        In other words, without making assumptions or getting emotional involved, “How do we know it’s due to ‘sheer hard work’ and not just a sample size or variance/luck?” If it is due to hard work, I only asked what he is doing differntly know than he was before.

        Has Cano ever had 2.5 months previously where he’s played just as good of defense as he is now? Has he ever had 2.5 months worth of performance in the past where he is just as good as he is now?

        I admit, it does bother me when one states in a specific case that it is due to “sheer hard work” when evidence of the work isn’t linked to.

        I also find it strange that so many players have their best performance between the age of 27 and 29, and Cano is about to turn 28. I doubt guys start “working hard” on their 27th birthday, but not before.

        If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m a douche, I’m a douche. I can live with that. I’m not perfect.

        I was only asking for evidence of it being due to sheer hard work and not solmething else. I didn’t say it, I was only asking for support.

        I don’t buy into media’s reporting of a player’s hard work or not. They don’t have a clue. A player could be the laziest guy on the team but if he comes out on the field and “fake hustes” his way down the line on a pop up or something like that, they report his effort and work ethic. They don’t know. The guys that are working the hardest are most often doing it when no one else is around. But, that’s another discussion.

        Cano could of been a hard worker all along, only to have his airheadyness and nonchalance being misreported by the media as lazy, and you and I probably wouldn;t know the difference. In other words, Willie McGee wasn’t lazy, he was just absent-minded and emotionally immature.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        The point I am trying to make is that given Robby’s age and experience, our research tells us we should have expected a “peak year” out of him.

        The coach part of me is interested in this particular type of situation, because when it happens the stat-guys talk of “luck” or variance or something like that and the player talks about “seeing the ball really well” or “getting good jumps” or “making plays when it counts”. Who’s right? It matters to me, because I like to try and figure out what is different now. Why is the player seeing the ball better, getting better jumps, etc.

        For example, to link it to other threads … Why is Jason Bay’s power diminished? Why is Ubaldo leaving more guys on base? I’m certain UJ wouldn’t say it’s “just statistical luck”, but would probably say something like “making good pitches at the right time” or “throwing pitches that influence more ground balls” or “making good strikeout pitches when I have to”, that type of thing.

        If Cano is having an improved season due to sheer hard work, I am interested in both [1] how does the author know that (regardless of who the author is), and [2] what work is he doing now that he wasn;t then?

        It is not just to be a dick for the sake of making trouble.

        I just want to be clear.

        I also admit to be annoyed by the attribution of “lazy” to a player, especially when that attribution seemingly follows a certain type of player. Cano, Soriano, Hanley, Reyes, etc. You don’t read about Uggla being lazy, even though he doesn’t improve his defense or plate approach, etc. That is likely another discussion altogether. But, that’s part of what plays into my thinking.

        Cano has been good and very talented his whole career. It just seems to be a natural extension that he’d have his best seasons now, given his age and experience. Seems like that would be a good starting point into the examination of his performance.

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      • “I doubt guys start “working hard” on their 27th birthday, but not before.

        If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.”

        Where did Dave say he only started working hard now? What he said is that through hard work Cano has improved. Cano has undoubtedly been working hard to improve the whole time and it is now starting to see results. No, it’s not known what it was he was doing specifically to help him improve and it’s not really important. He’s obviously had to put some hard work in to improve. You don’t improve otherwise.

        And please note that Cameron is only talking about his defense in this case. He’s already made a case that Cano’s offensive numbers have some bugaboos in them; luck factors, New Yankee Stadium park factors, statistical anomalies, etc. He was only referring to how Cano has made himself a better defender at the same time as he’s having this offensive outburst.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        That’s a fair point.

        Perhaps as fault of my own, I interpreted the statement to infer that he wasn’t working hard before, when the actual case could be that he has consistently been working to improve (which would make sense).

        Players can also improve through experience as well. Those that don’t are often relegated to platoon slots or find themsleves in the minors or out of baseball.

        I guess I took previous baseball discussions that can be summed up as “if only Cano were as scrappy and hard playing as Pedroia” and applied them to this thread. It happens.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Dave said …

        To his credit though, Cano has put in a tremendous amount of work, turning himself into a competent defender.

        and

        He can, however, continue to play a decent enough second base, and he should take pride in that fact, because he got there through sheer hard work.

        It’s clear that I got off an a divergence of my own creation.

        As I have said before, the reader comments serve, in part, as ameans of keeping everyone in check … and in this case, I’m the one that needed “checked”.

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    • As for:

      “I also admit to be annoyed by the attribution of “lazy” to a player, especially when that attribution seemingly follows a certain type of player.”

      Ignore that. Cameron never said that. That was mentioned here in the thread.

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  26. ralphgmiami says:

    Robinson Cano still hasn’t reached his potential. He has potential to win a batting crown, drive in over 100 RBIs every year and win a gold glove. The problem with Cano is that there is nothing as a routine ground ball. It can be booted at any time. I see that Derek Jeter’s great work ethic is rubbing off on Cano. Cano has really improved and can still do better. I say that the Red Sox Dustin Pedroia will get fat and his range will diminish. This will be the opportunity for Cano to win gold gloves. Cano turns the double play well, has great range and a shortstop’s arm. AL pitchers are wising up to Pedroia and not throwing him the high fastball which he kills.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I see that Derek Jeter’s great work ethic is rubbing off on Cano.

      Is ther eno quality of Jeter that doesn’t rub off on teammates?

      His clutchiness finally rubbed off on ARod. Now, if his excellent hitting could rub off on Teixeira.

      Strange that Jeter’s leadership and qualities didn;t rub off on more players before ARod, Teix, CC, and AJ got there. I guess Jetes just decides to send out his awesomeness vibe sometimes and sometimes not.

      Strangely, Jeter’s influence awesomeness seems to strongly correspond with the overall quality/talent of the team. I wonder why that is.

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  27. SamYo says:

    Cano should start the ASG over Pedroia. This is coming from a Sox fan.

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    • Jon says:

      really the best player in baseball should start over a guy who is worth about half as much according to WAR?

      thats a crazy leap you made

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  28. Franco says:

    He may win a Gold Glove since they’ve been some shoddy awards in the past. But let’s dial back the fanboy optimism that he’s a great defender all of a sudden. He went from terrible to average-ish.

    And seriously, between threads like this and the Jimenez one, did FG get a shout out on ESPN or something this week?

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    • AndrewYF says:

      Averagish? Says who, UZR? Oh yes, because UZR is never wrong.

      DRS disagrees, it thinks Cano is one of the best defensive 2B-man in the game today. The only time it’s had him in the negative since 2006 was that flukish 2008 season where pretty much everything went wrong for the guy.

      Using your eyes, reports from other scouts, and a respected defensive metric that jives with those reports, I think we can conclude that Cano is better than ‘averag-ish’ in the field, and that UZR probably underrates him. It takes a person who is too invested in what they’ve said or heard previously to conclude otherwise.

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  29. SteveP says:

    Jeez, there’s a lot of comments on here and very few of them are actually discussing Cano. Cameron was wrong in his prediction for Cano, and that’s a shocker! I mean even the best scouts never make mistakes in evaluating prospects, right? I mean, how many well respected scouts said that Mariano Rivera would never amount to anything? A ton. What happened? They were wrong. Doesn’t mean they aren’t knowledgeable, it just means that projecting prospects is incredibly difficult. And to be honest, Cano’s minor league numbers were never all that impressive and never forecasted this type of performance. I’m not quite sure why he has adjusted so well to big league pitching, but he has, and as a Yankee fan I’m glad and that’s all I really care about.

    Oh, and one more thing about Yankee prospects… I think outside objective observers are more critical of them because of the Yankee hype machine. The Yankees really hype up their own prospects to the point of ridiculousness, and I believe some observers with no ties (real ties or rooting interests) try to counter balance that out with a more hardline stance. I mean Tyler Clippard was supposed to be the next Greg Maddux, Ian Kennedy was the next Mike Mussina, Austin Jackson was the next Willie Mays, and Jose Tabata was the next Roberto Clemente just to name a few. However, when the leave town the Yankees make sure to tell everyone why they will never work out. Clippard wasn’t very good, Kennedy was a basketcase with injury issues, Jackson had no power and a K problem, Tabata was immature and had off the field issues that would prevent him from becoming a star. The Yankees are really good at hyping up their prospects value until they have no more use for them, and then they spin it like that prospect was worthless so they look like geniuses. Not everybody buys into this though, and sometimes the dissenting voice is an unpopular opinion. It’s not always the right opinion, but that’s the nature of prospects anyway… who the hell really knows what they’ll become.

    Anyway, I’ve always liked Cano and I thought he’s gotten a bad rap for some of the “laziness” talk. For whatever reason, and I’m not sure what it is, he was treated differently than other players in the same situation. If he was joking around with Melky Cabrera on the bench, his head wasn’t in the game. However, if Derek Jeter was doing that he was taking a leadership role and bringing a loose and fun vibe to the team. I think part of it comes from the fact that, IMO, Cano has tremendous raw skills. He has a beautiful and effortless swing and he can make a rangy play look not all that difficult. To some, that looks like he isn’t trying. To me, it looks like he has more raw talent than some of his peers like say Dustin Pedroia who isn’t as athletically gifted but will make sure he gets dirty trying to make the play.

    As for Cano’s offense, I think someone else hit the nail on the head when they talked about his increased plate discipline. He still isn’t walking a ton, but he’s always had tremendous contact ability. In the past, he’d swing at a first pitch breaking ball in the dirt and ground out to short but this season he’ll take that pitch and then drive a fastball into the gap. I don’t think he’ll ever have a great walk rate, but I think if he does maintain that level of discpline he’ll continue to put up very very good offensive numbers.

    As for his defense, I’m not really quite sure what to make of it. UZR doesn’t like him (except for 2007) but other metrics do. Even eye-testers can’t agree. Some say he’s lazy and boots routine balls, others say he makes the game look effortless and his cannon arm allows him to make plays that no other second baseman can make. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. He’s not particularly fleet of foot but he’s very athletic and he does have a strong arm. I like UZR and all, but I’m more convinced by DRS on his defensive ability. He’s at least average if not better. And honestly does it really matter? Last season he was a -2.8 UZR (a little below average) and he was a 4.6 WAR player. This season he’s a 2.3 UZR (a little above average and he’s already a 4.0 WAR player, which is fantastic. Is he a superstar in the vein of Albert Pujols? Probably not. But is he one of the better players in the game? Yes. Is he one of the best second basemen in the game? Again yes. That’s a fact and it doesn’t really matter at this point what any analyst said about him 8 years ago.

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    • Steve says:

      wait, the YANKEES tell people that these prospects won’t work out after they trade them????

      Or do you mean, the crazy fans on the internet make it a point to say these things.

      I don’t recall hearing a word from the Yankee FO about any of these players. In fact, in the case of Jackson, the only things I recall is Cashman saying how much he loved Jackson and hated to trade him, but felt that Granderson was going to help them much sooner.

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      • SteveP says:

        Maybe my point wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean that the Yankees officials actually trash them, but the opinion the fans often get is that these prospects weren’t actually all that good to begin with. But while they’re with the Yankees, they’re regarded as the next big thing by the fans. Since this fangraphs thing is for the fans, I don’t think it’s wrong for an analyst to take a more hardline look at the prospect’s true potential. Whether that be knocking down an overhyped prospect or building up a departed one. I didn’t mean that Cashman himself necessarily builds them up while he has them and then trashes them on their way out the door.

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    • nck says:

      PUHLEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZEEEE….SHOW ME ONE, JUST ONE, ONE LESS THAN TWO, ARTICLES THAT STATED THAT THE YANKEES EVER, EVER, EVER, SAID CLIPPARD WAS THE SECOND COMING OF GRED MADDOX….you can’t and you wont. Saying he is the same STYLE as Maddox is NOT the same….AND I THINK YOU KNOW THIS…BECAUSE YOU ARE DUMB AS A ROCK IF YOU DON’T KNOW THAT.

      In fact, NOTHING you just wrote is true, so saying stfu would be a waste of time, because guys like you just like to hear themselves VOMIT. Hype IS NOT gross exaggeration, its stretching the truth to the max while STILL being “maybe” believable. That, that……SLOP you wrote is just that…..feces.

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  30. 86general says:

    I had a long comment…..but gave up too soon on it.

    I think many writers have an erroneous concept of the significance of statistics. This analysis presumes that Cano is exactly the same player, offensively, that he has ever been, and that his numeric improvement is a freak occurence; literally, more balls flying over the fence than hitting the fence.

    Maybe he’s actually better, so he’s hitting the ball harder. Maybe he’s changed his stroke slightly, to get a bit more lift. BABIP is only partly random; it is also affected by how hard and how solidly the batter hits the ball. He’s on pace to increase his BB total for a season 20% higher than his previous career high, which shows better plate discipline. UZR as a defensive metric is pretty crude, and fraught with error; Cano displays very good range, a strong arm, and is as good as anyone I’ve seen in the AL at turning a DP this season.

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    • SteveP says:

      You have a point, and I think the power increase may be real and not a statistical fluke. Dave does have a point about the BABIP though. Cano isn’t showing just a slight increase in BABIP, he’s showing a massive one. Now part of that increase can be due to what you said; hard work, everything coming together, improvement, etc, and part of it may be due to regression to the mean as in his RISP numbers evening out. Still, that leaves some room for BABIP “luck.” Either way, if you regress Cano’s BABIP to his career average, last season’s number, or give him some credit for improving he’s still having a fantastic season, and that’s really all that matters.

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  31. CircleChange11 says:

    Robinson Cano also just turned 28.

    Saw over at Tango’s site where “28″ was one of the most common ages of a player during their “peak year”.

    Is it possible that it is “just that” and not “sheer hard work” or the “Eye of the Tiger” or any other cliche?

    Maybe he’s finally just “putting everything together” at the same time, just like seniors (HS, college) often do. Skill, experience, and talent all come together at the same time. It seems to happen quite often in MLB right around the ages of 27-29.

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    • AndrewYF says:

      Cano doesn’t turn 28 until October, actually.

      But you’re right. These are Cano’s peak years. We shouldn’t be too surprised to see him improve on his career numbers.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        … and it’s not because players start “working hard” at age 27.

        People should realize, by now, that major leaguers don’t “outwork” minor leaguers or college players or other ML’ers. They “out-talent” them.

        I would not be surprised if there is an inverse relationship that exists between talent and effort, based on what I’ve witnessed from 30 years in baseball.

        When talent, effort, and desire exist at very high levels, you get something monumental. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often.

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  32. Troy says:

    The Typical Idiot Fan says:
    June 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    “Maybe all those people who, for years and years and years said Cano had the talent to win a batting title and hit 30 HR’s: maybe THOSE people actually had a clue what they’re talking about”

    Joe Torre and Don Mattingly each said that they viewed Cano as a middle of the line-up guy that would hit .300+ with 30-40 hrs. Torre said that is last year with the Yankees and reiterated it his first year in LA. Mattingly backed him up on those statements, by agreeing with him. Torre and Mattingly lived Robbie, but Torre was also quoted of saying that Russel Martin should bat .330 every year or something ridiculous. I haven’t heard much from Torre in a while.
    Also, every Yankee commentator for the past 4 years has been saying thing along the lines of “Cano has the potential to win a batting title” and “One of these years Cano is really gonna put it all together and have an MVP year.”

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    • Player public messages are worthless as analysis. Oh sure, they can say “A-Rod is an elite player” because it’s true. But even the shittiest ballplayer on the team will have positive and often exaggerated things said about them. Aside from Milton Bradley, how often do you hear anybody say “I don’t think Player X will ever be much more than a fourth outfielder. He just doesn’t have the talent for it.”

      They never say that. It’s always “he has the potential to do Great Thing A” or “He’s a gamer and I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime he does Great Thing B.” I’m not totally discrediting everything Mattingly, Torre, or any Yankee media personality says as garbage, but it should be taken with a grain of salt.

      And here’s a great question: when these “baseball minds” are wrong, do any of you go and call them out? I’m just asking.

      How’s about finding me someone neutral who does player analysis who said Cano was destined for batting titles and 30 home run power. A Baseball America guy. John Sickels. Someone from Baseball Prospectus. Anybody?

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  33. DOOD says:

    So you do not believe Joe Torre or Donnie Baseball are reliable enough sources when discussing Cano’s potential? Those two people I would like to believe know a thing or two about baseball and they were around Cano much more than any other Baseball America guy could have been. I rather listen to them gush about Cano’s potential rather than an “expert” who does not have nearly as much time to spend studying how the player plays or how he works to become better. The fact is that Joe and Donnie were right all along and these experts weren’t. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan was always a huge believer in Robinson Cano from the beginning and despite people writing him off as not knowing much about baseball (people who no doubt think they know everything) the fact is that he does know more about baseball than probably 90% of all “experts”.

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    • nck says:

      I hear you, but NEVER listen to guys, no matter how good they were, talking about someone who IS or HAS BEEN on their own team……its all BS..

      Thats the same reason why these radio “manager” shows are such a massive waste of time. Besides realizing the fact that all the players have STUPID, ANNOYING nicknames, this “interviews” are NOTHING but PR and good sportsmanship examples.

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  34. Sean L says:

    The one other criticism I have heard of Cano’s fielding, which is fair, is that he sometimes plays like he’s filming an And One mix tape. An easy groundball to his left becomes an occasion for him to pirouette and throw the ball between his legs. That, combined with the few balls he doesn’t go after and the occasional dropped pop-fly, accounts for his reputation as a lazy fielder.

    He seems to have toned down the show-boaty plays, and in all of the games I’ve seen this year, I haven’t seen him outright dog it after any ground balls. I think Cameron’s on in his analysis which, I might add, is usually pretty astute and well thought out. He doesn’t owe an apology to anyone, least of all Cano or Bim Bim. Cano’s had to overcome enough doubters that he shouldn’t care at this point, and Bim Bim is calling Cameron an insufferable prick in the same sentence that he’s asking him to have more humility.

    Keep up the good work, Dave. Let the haters hate.

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    • Captain says:

      i have watched about 95% of Cano’s games since he became a full time player and i have no idea where you just pulled that first paragraph out of. “showboat” plays? making plays look easy does not mean hes showboating. i cant think of one instance, and im sure most Yankee fans would agree, where Cano tried to get fancy on a play and made an error.

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      • Sean L says:

        Captain, I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. Perhaps showboating is the wrong word for it, but Cano has had a tendency to make plays look more difficult than necessary.

        Of course, I don’t have any evidence to support that claim, so it looks a bit off-base. But I do watch a lot of Yankee games, and the folks over at NoMaas (a Yankee blog) have made the same observation many times before.

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  35. DSFC says:

    All I care to say about Cano’s defense is this: he’s cut down on mistakes. Whether it’s hard work (and FWIW Bowa used to rave about how hard Cano worked on his defense when he was coaching for the Yanks), luck, concentration, whatever, he’s become much more reliable in the field. His range is average, and has always been average, but he makes up for it with the best arm at second in the AL and he’s very smooth turning two.. Lack of range will always keep him from being an elite defender, but he’s become above average in all other aspects of his defense.

    At the plate, not much has changed, really. He’s a bit more patient and selective, but he’ll never be confused with Swish. He attacks fastballs and doesn’t swing and miss often. Still prone to chasing bad pitches from time to time, but not as often as he used to. As has been noted, his BABIP this year is probably closer to his true mark than in the past two years. Of course he probably won’t continue on this pace (hell, who could?) but he’s a very dangerous hitter.

    And yes, he’s still the same horrendous baserunner that he’s always been. It’s shocking that the Yankees ever let him attempt steals anymore, given how bad he is at it. He apparently was tutored by Jorge Posada on the basepaths.

    Best 2B in the AL, and it’s not even close.

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  36. Rob in CT says:

    He may never deserve a GG, but he may win one. And who knows? Given how wrong so many people have been about him so far, maybe he will even get good enough with the glove to deserve a GG.

    As for rubbing Robinson’s success in Dave Cameron’s face, pretty much everybody missed on Cano. He’s in pretty good company there. Don’t like his style? Think he’s arrogant? Ok, fine. You’re far from alone. But spamming up a comment thread on Fangraphs to basically say “nya nya, you were wrong!” and getting all self-righteous about it just makes you a massive tool.

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  37. nck says:

    I stopped reading after you stupidly stated that Cano will certainly NEVER win a GG. I guess its true, ANYONE can be an expert on the net.

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  38. nck says:

    Oh, and I don’t give a Rodents behind about WHAT people think of Cano, as long as IT IS PUT TO REST, ONCE AND FOR ALL, that dustin pedroia (the great white hope) and Robinson Cano are NEVER put in the same sentance. THAT is a travesty. That comparison is like comparing Arod to Jeter at short, in their hayday……sorry, its MUCH, MUCH, worse.

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    • frank says:

      But…. but…. Pedroia won an MVP (nevermind that he wasn’t the most valuable player on his team that year yet alone the league).

      Pedroia is a fine, fine player… but when you combine his height with his home games at Fenway park, you have a perhaps favorable light cast on him. His wOBA is 50pts higher at home, his ISO 50 points higher, SLG 90points higher, OBA 37points higher, even his BABIP is 46 points higher… that’s for his career. Does he even come close to an Mvp in ’08 without the home/road splits he had?

      Hopefully this season makes the 2nd base discussion purely between Utley and Cano.

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  39. James says:

    you cant really compare pedrois and cano cause they play completely differently. pedroia bats second, walks in order to get on base and then steals bags to create runs. cano drives runs in. he hits line drives and has freakish power for a second basemen. hes athletically gifted. yeah he jogs to first, but so does everyone. and heaven forbid that a 25 year old second basemen has some defensive struggles..every player needs to work things out. cano is on the right side of 30, so whats with this immediate “assumption of regression”? what happens if he bats .350 with 32 hr and 110 rbi? youre telling me you cant see that happening? pedroia will continue to be a great player, and probably will make several more allstar teams, but he will be playing in the 5th because cano will be starting.

    oh and also, yes can has an oddly high BABIP but he also happens to be OPSing about 1.000 right now so like…how bout giving some credit where credit is due?

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  40. Gump says:

    I love how this article says “no, he will never win a gold glove”.

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