Although he swings left-handed, New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano has no issues facing southpaws. In fact, he was one of the best lefty swingers versus left-handed pitchers in 2018.
In an attempt to find where Brandon Nimmo stacks up against other left-handed hitters when facing left-handed pitchers, I stumbled onto something great. Although I did confirm Nimmo’s numbers versus southpaws were about average for lefty swingers, I did discover one member of the New York Mets is at the top of several categories.
After sorting through a list on ESPN.com of left-handed hitters versus left-handed pitchers, I found Robinson Cano’s name at the top in OBP when looking at guys who reached 100 at-bats. His batting average is only a few points behind National League MVP Christian Yelich, with the slugging percentage as the one trailing the most.
In 2018, Cano slashed .333/.411/.481 against left-handed pitchers. He added a pair of home runs and walked almost as much as he struck out (13/15).
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Impressed by Cano, I dove a little deeper into his career versus left-handed pitchers. Last season was cut short due to the PED suspension so we don’t get the full sample size. However, his career totals of hitting .284/.334/.433 have caught my eye favorably. This sample of over 3000 plate appearances is enough to make me believe he’ll have no problem facing lefties in 2019 as a member of the Mets.
This is wonderful news for the orange and blue as the Mets finished 2018 tied for the lowest batting average versus lefties at .224. I’ll credit Nimmo with helping to lift their OBP to .300, which ranks 25th overall.
Cano is a professional hitter and a guy who seems capable of handling any pitcher teams throw at him. Perhaps adding him to the team was as much about winning now as it was about teaching the young lefty-swingers how to go up against a difficult situation. He’s a balanced player with enough experience to avoid getting fooled.
The one knock against Nimmo last year was his inability to match up well against lefties. The .234/.351/.391 batting line is evidence of this. Some guidance from Cano could help improve these numbers moving forward. It would be great if Cano is willing to work with his teammates. Each of the young left-handed swingers could benefit from a few lessons with him.
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At the very least the Mets seem to have improved their odds against lefties in 2019. As a team often cited for having too many left-handed hitters in their lineup, having Cano can make them better.