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Where Are Robinson Cano's Home Runs?


Robinson Cano is really good at baseball, and what makes him so good is that he's shown throughout his career that he is nearly a complete hitter, outside of his desire to not walk, ever. He has a 5.2 BB% for his career, which is really low. But I digress.

At the plate, Cano has exceptional gap power, as he's averaged 45 doubles per year over the last three years while failing to top 40 doubles only once. He already has eight doubles this season, putting him on pace for well over 60 doubles on the season. He also has great home run power for a middle infielder, as he's hit 25, 29, and 28 homers in each of the last three seasons, respectively. But through Cano's 91 plate appearances on the young season, Cano has only dished out one souvenir.

In taking a look at some of Cano's batted ball numbers on fangraphs, there were a few numbers that caught my attention. First, Cano is beating the hell out of the ball into the ground. He's hit grounders over 55% of the time, about 10% higher than his averages between 2010 and 2011. Currently, his groundball per flyball ratio is 2.41, way above his career 1.52 mark. Naturally, when so many of the balls you make contact on are hit into the dirt, home runs will not be easy to come by.

There's also something else that I found quite interesting - that Cano is seeing a lot more fastballs than he has in recent years, and for the first time in a long time, he's not handling them well. Over the last two seasons, Cano saw fastballs 57% and 56% of the time, respectively. In those two seasons, Cano was well above average at hitting them, coming in at 15 and 11 runs above average in 2010 and 2011. For his career, Cano rates 51.1 runs above average when facing fastballs, but this season, despite seeing an increase to 65% in the pitch that he loves to face the most, he is a below average hitter against them, coming in at -1.1 runs.

I'm quite positive that Cano will be able to turn this around, as he's had far too much success against fastballs for me to think he won't be able to start hitting them again. Eventually, he'll start lifting the ball more, more fans will receive souvenirs, and balance will be restored. He's simply far too good for this to continue.