Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Robinson Cano has started his Mets career hitting just .182/.237/.327 with two homers in 13 games (59 plate appearances). Cano is 36 years old, owed a lot of money over the next five seasons, and coming off a PED suspesnsion. Even though the sample size is incredibly small, it's time to worry. Right?
Not so fast.
Here's three reasons why...
The advanced numbers tell a promising story
While Cano hasn't looked great at the plate -- he has struck out 22 percent of the time and his soft hit rate is 19 percent (which would be the second-worst of his career) -- many of the advanced numbers show that his struggles are likely temporary.
- Cano's hard hit rate is 33.3 percent, which is nearly in line with his career hard-hit rate of 33.6 percent.
- Cano's BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a ridiculously low .200, which is 119 points lower than his career average.
- Cano's line drive percentage is 19.5 percent, which is close to his 21.1 percent career average.
- Cano is hitting way more balls in the air than usual (41.5 percent, while is career average is 30.5 percent) and hitting way fewer balls on the ground (39 percent, while his career average is 48.4 percent). Assuming this isn't due to a huge change in Cano's approach, once his rates even out -- along with better luck on balls in play -- his numbers should start to trend back to normal.
His swing rates are nearly identical to 2018
Cano is striking out more, but he really isn't expanding the zone much more than he did in 2018. Last season, Cano swung at 33.4 percent of the pitches he saw that were outside the strike zone. This season, he is swinging at 35.4 percent. Last season, Cano swung at 68.3 percent of the pitches he saw inside the strike zone. This season, he is swinging at 72 percent -- right in line with his career average of 72.2 percent.
As far as the total number of pitches he has swung at, Cano has offered at 50.8 percent of all pitches he has seen in 2019. His career rate is 51.2 percent.
So, unless Cano's bat speed has dropped off considerably between 2018 and 2019, it's fair to think that his strikeouts will go down and his overall productivity will improve dramatically as the season goes on.
He is already starting to come out of it
Cano isn't lighting the world on fire, but he is showing signs. He had a well-struck RBI double on Friday night in Atlanta against the Braves, drew two walks on April 10, had a hit and a walk on April 9, and homered on April 6.
While it's fair to point out that Cano is coming off a PED suspension, it should also be noted that he excelled in 2018 after returning from that suspension, hitting .303/.374/.471 with 10 homers and 22 doubles in 80 games for the Mariners.
The Mets might need to worry down the line about Cano, as he enters his late-30s and is still under contract. But now is not that time for that worrying.