Year one with the New York Mets was a rough one for Robinson Cano. Let’s look into why it was so bad.
Let’s not coat anything with sugar when discussing Robinson Cano. His 2019 season with the New York Mets was a rough one. Yeah, he statistically didn’t have nearly as bad of a year as someone like Chris Davis. Nevertheless, the season was a massive disappointment for a guy who will continue to take up a large portion of the payroll and give us what many believe will be downgraded seasons for the next few years.
Cano’s lack of hustle made him even harder to embrace. There’s something about a guy who doesn’t seem to care about winning that gets a city to turn on you.
It’s pretty hard to know for sure exactly why Cano was so bad in 2019. I’m hoping a look at some of his splits can help give us a little more insight.
Struggles Against Lefties
Cano faced lefties 118 times this past season and only slashed .215/.280/.290 against them. This should come as a bit of a surprise. Lifetime, he has hit them at a rate of .281/.332/.428.
Getting beat up this often versus southpaws put a huge dent in his season numbers. He’s almost unplayable against left-handed pitchers.
Foolishly, I believed in the preseason that Cano could help balance out the lineup even with a left-handed stick. Well, I was more than wrong. I won’t get fooled again.
Disappearing Act in the Summer Months
In May, June, and July, Cano hit between .200-.230 in each. He combined to swat just one home run in May and June before at least finding his power surge in July with five long balls. Three of them came in a single game versus the Miami Marlins.
These three months are often beneficial to hitters. The summer heat helps the ball fly a little further and scare pitchers a little more.
Unfortunately, Cano didn’t take advantage of this time of the year. When he actually did miss all but four games in August, his literal disappearing act went unnoticed.
Spot in the Lineup
The Mets have no choice. Cano has to drop in the lineup next season if he continues to struggle. We saw them put him third in the lineup 58 times in year one. The result was a pitiful line of .229/.273/.359.
As a cleanup hitter, Cano hit .250/278/.488. He was even better batting fifth with a line of .365/.461/.603. The facts are right there. Cano benefited far more hitting lower in the lineup.
The insistence by Mickey Callaway, Brodie Van Wagenen, and anyone else who has say in the lineup to place him third did little to help the veteran second baseman. Both he and the team suffered because of such a massive hole in the everyday lineup.
Runners in Scoring Position
Cano completed 2019 with only 39 RBI. As a guy who accumulated nearly all of his at-bats hitting in the middle of a pretty potent lineup, this is embarrassing.
A major reason for this was Cano’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position. He slashed .210/.280/.321 with runners on second and/or third. He added just six doubles and one home run in these opportunities.
The Mets brought Cano to town to drive in runs. In year one, he did little to help the cause.
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A little more heart, a lot more hustle, and even more luck than both could help Cano produce plenty more for the Mets in 2020. I’m not so sure there’s a bullish person out there who believes he’s anything more than a fading ex-star.