Compared to the last few seasons where the Yankees have become accustomed to the consistent production from the bat of Robinson Cano, there hasn’t been too much of the same on display this season.
His .299 batting average, 14 home runs, and 33 RBIs that pad his stats this year are a bit misleading, because as well as it seems Cano is doing as an individual, his contributions to the team’s success have been much less significant than in years past.
The Yankees currently lead the MLB in home runs, although a majority of them are coming when there’s nobody on base. Cano, like much of the lineup, has had the same problem. Eight of his bombs this year have been solo shots, few have come with runners on, only one of which a grand slam.
Cano has been experiencing a season-long slump at the plate when it comes to at-bats with an opportunity to drive base runners home. Out of 61 at-bats so far, with runners in scoring position, he’s only been able to muster up nine hits, good for a .148 batting average in this spot. Those nine hits have also only resulted in 13 RBIs for the Yankees. He’s even stepped into the batters box 12 times with the bases loaded this year, coming through with just one hit, a grand slam.
Since entering the league in 2005, Cano’s had a reputation as a big swinger and stepping to the plate with runners ready to score has become familiar territory throughout his career. However he’s been familiar with succeeding in this spot, than he has the regular failure he’s been finding in 2012.
Three times in his career, Cano has ended the season with a .300 or better batting average when it comes to runners in scoring position. This includes the past two seasons where Cano has posted his best offensive numbers yet. In 2010 his batting average was .322 in this spot along with 77 RBIs. He continued to shine in 2011 with an average of .318 and 91 RBIs with runners in scoring positions. His dominant offensive performances earned him the American League’s Silver Slugger Award in both of those seasons.
He’s become a standout in the batter’s box which is why he’s placed at the clean up spot in the lineup so often. But this year he’s been unexpectedly underproductive with the bat, and hasn’t displayed the power that the Yankees are used to, especially with chances to score. While the mid-way point in the season approaches quickly, the club hopes to see a drastic turnaround for Cano in the second half, as the three-time All-Star’s slugging abilities will be much needed for a deep 2012 postseason run.