Dayan Viciedo, Alex Liddi, Eric Sogard, Seth Smith, and Alejandro De Aza—just a few players in the American League who have more runs batted in than Robinson Cano (4) through the first month of the 2012 season. I picked those five players because I have honestly never heard their names spoken, written, or even shrilled by Timmy Kurkjian in his Baseball Tonight segment (which I actually find fairly entertaining). As a side, Baseball Tonight is the only watchable program other than live sports currently on ESPN, which is a far cry from it’s glory days when I would make sure to wake up early enough to watch a full episode of SportsCenter and some Saved by the Bell reruns before I had to catch the bus to school.
But getting to Cano; the fact that those five previously mentioned nobodies have more RBIs than Robbie speaks to a larger issue. Robinson Cano has flat out sucked so far this season, and his ineptitude at the plate has had a negative effect on the rest of the lineup. Cano’s slow start is not the main reason Alex Rodriguez is batting .269, that Mark Teixeira is slugging 33 points lower (.371) than Derek Jeter’s batting average (.404), or that Russell Martin has 11 total hits this season. But Cano is the type of hitter who can make other players around him better simply because opposing pitchers are preoccupied with the thought of pitching to him.
Cano’s 25 hits this season—not a bad month on the surface—does not tell the whole story of his bad start. He has only walked 8 times and seems to be swinging and missing more often than usual. His averages with runners on base (.173) and runners in scoring position (.125) are extremely uncharacteristic, and lead me to believe that he is pressing.
Another, more underrated aspect to his bad start is that the Yankees desperately need Robbie to be the player he has been the past three seasons when he averaged 45 doubles, 27 home runs, and 104 RBIs. Anybody who has followed this team in 2012 can tell you the Yankees are lucky to be 13-12 considering their starting pitching struggles, injuries, and the way their offense has (not) hit. Their 13 wins are a testament to their unbelievable bullpen (written before Mariano’s injury) and prolific start by Derek Jeter.
Eventually Cano’s ability should take over, and when it does I am confident the Yankees offense will resemble the juggernaut we all expected it to be.
What do you guys think? Will Cano rebound or will it be a long year offensively for the Yankees second baseman?