Why Curtis Granderson Might Be The Most Important Yankee

by PaulCatalano

Last year, Hideki Matsui batted behind Alex Rodriguez. In Joe Girardi’s left-right-left-right batting order, it just made sense for his lefty DH to bat 5th and protect the clean-up batter, Rodriguez.

And he did that well. Matsui batted .274, slugged .509 and had an OPS+ of 131. As a result pitchers couldn’t pitch around Alex Rodriguez, knowing Matsui was not much better to face.

This year, with Matsui gone, the job of number 5 hitter will most likely fall to Curtis Granderson. According to Yankees.com, the Yankees had at first speculated that Granderson would hit 2nd, but with Nick Johnson signed and boasting a considerably higher on-base percentage, Granderson might be a better fit lower in the order. So, assuming Girardi keeps his preferred left-right batting order, the 2010 lineup would look like this:

Jeter R
Johnson L
Teixeira S
Rodriguez R
Granderson L
Posada S
Cano L
Swisher S
Gardner L

What that means is Granderson has to protect Rodriguez—make sure pitchers can’t just pitch around one of the most feared hitters in the game to get to Granderson.

And sure Granderson hit 30 HRs last year. Problem is, he batted a sad .249—the second year in a row his average dropped a sizeable amount. He also only slugged only .453, or about 50 points less than Matsui, or 2 points behind the light-hitting Jeter. His OPS+ was 100 even.

He also batted .183 against lefties last season, down from his .210 lifetime average against lefty pitchers. He had a .484 OPS against lefties last season, lowest among American league players. Think Girardi may be benching Granderson in an important game against say, Jon Lester?

Granderson also struck out 141 times last season—by far the number one whiffer if he were on the Yankees last season. Not a good fit for the patient, OBP-based Yankees who worked the most walks in the majors last year.

Also, looking at his BABIP as well as his GB/FB/LD splits, it shows that Granderson’s GB percentage fell to an all-time last season low of just over 26%. And his fly ball percentage was a career-high 50%. What we can deduct from this is that Granderson has turned his swing into a long uppercut stroke, which misses a lot of pitches and often just produces a can-of-corn, easy fly ball. Further proof of his altered approach at the plate is his BABIP, which fell to a career low .276. Line drives and ground balls produce more hits rather than fly balls.

What this all means is, if Granderson continues these trends—swinging and missing, slugging far less than his HRs would indicate, not hitting lefties, lofting the ball instead of driving it, and having his BA drop—Rodriguez is going to facing a ton of out-of-the-strike-zone pitches.

The Yankees could try Cano in the 5-spot—he had 25 HRs as well as 85 RBI and a .520 slugging percentage, both higher than Granderson—or move Posada up to the 5-spot. Or they can abandon Girardi’s left-right-left-right lineup. But that would defeat the point of getting Granderson in the first place. Granderson was supposed to be the guy that replaced Matsui. Power hitter, lefty, plays the outfield. Protects Rodriguez.

Of course this not a huge, huge problem. Unless it is. Granderson probably will find himself more at home in Yankee Stadium with the short right field wall rather than in Titanic-sized Comerica Park. Working with Kevin Long and the rest of the Yankee lineup might straighten him out and revert him to 2007 form. Or he may feel pressured to produce and slump even harder aiming for the right field fence.

In the long run, if the last 2 years are not a blip, but rather the start of a trend—and Granderson continues to falter, then the Yankees, and Brian Cashman, will need to find somebody for the 5th spot in their lineup, because the guy they thought they had, couldn’t do it.

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61 Responses to “Why Curtis Granderson Might Be The Most Important Yankee”

  1. dennis Says:

    I feel that Granderson has the tools to be a .400 OBP playe, but has bad habits, he s simply not a disciplined hitter. Too many strikeouts, too many easy outs. You can t put two guys who have the potential to strike out a total of 275 to 300 times back ot back in the line up (A Rod and Granderson). Unless Granderson can change his habits Cano is a better fit then Granderson in the five spot.

    Matsui isnt a Yankee anymore, so it s uselss to whine, but I thought he was a terrific hitter, a Japanse Billy Williams, he knew his limits, was disciplined, a tough out and he was a valuable addition to the lineup.

  2. Jim Says:

    Granderson is a nice player hitting 7th or 8th. Expect ARod to have lots of bases on balls this year if he hits 5th. Moving Posada up to 5 makes more sense.

  3. ThomasWayne Says:

    I still can’t get over how, even in passing, some of these guys love to take swipes at Jeter….

    From Paul’s text…

    …2 points behind the light hitting Jeter.

    Not just 2 points behind Jeter….2 points behind the LIGHT HITTING Jeter.

    Light hitting?

    When this guy finishes his career he’ll have over a .300 career average…a .380 OBP or higher…an OPS of around .840….2000 runs scored….somewhere between 3200 and 4200 hits…..500 to 600 doubles….around 300 homers….and 1400 to 1500 runs batted in.

    Yeah…this guy is a light hitter.

    The real word you are looking for is STUD….sorry that rubs some of you the wrong way…but its a damn fact.

    Thomas Wayne

  4. ThomasWayne Says:

    Oh yeah…and I forgot the 5 (or more) rings.

    Stud…yes.

    Light hitting…uhhhh….no.

    TW

  5. Raul Says:

    No, Granderson will not bat after A-Rod.

    Stop listening to ESPN radio.

  6. Raul Says:

    I’d like some clarification on what “light hitting shortstop” means.

    2009, Derek Jeter was 2nd among all SS in batting average and 4th in slugging percentage, behind Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez and Jason Bartlett.

    Is light-hitting a reference to the number of hits? He led all SS with 212 hits last year, and was second overall in hits to Ichiro Suzuki.

  7. Hossrex Says:

    I’ve criticized Jeter before, but this is sort of silly.

    Step 1: A guy gets a reputation as a bad fielder
    Step 2: The guy stays in the game because he’s a great hitter
    Step 3: People remember the reputation as “bad”, and forget why
    Step 4: People think he’s a bad hitter.

    There are some people who love Windows because it’s the popular choice. There are some people who love Apple because it isn’t the popular choice.

    It doesn’t so much matter which you chose, since both bring free pornography into your house, but it says a lot about the nature of humanity.

    The bandwagon Californian who loves the Yankees and the Packers (I KNOW THAT GUY!) will never change his opinion, since he’s conflated his self-worth with his teams performances. The self-deprecating Californian who loves the Cubbies will never change his opinion since he “loves to love a loser”, and is willing to bide his time until he can scream at the Yankee/Packer’s fan about how his team won.

    In other, more concise words… you either love Jeter, or you hate him.

  8. brautigan Says:

    Um, isn’t batting Nick Johnson second in the lineup like putting a blood clot on the bases? He isn’t exactly Herb Washington.

  9. Lefty33 Says:

    “or 2 points behind the light-hitting Jeter.”

    It should read:

    “or 2 points behind future first-ballot Hall of Famer Jeter.”

  10. Cameron Says:

    Nick Johnson batting second may be unconventional, but to me it makes sense because the three guys behind him have 30 or 40 homer potential and can be relied to drive in the on-base machine that Johnson is.

    As for Jeter being a light hitter, it’s most likely his reputation (justified or not) as a singles hitter. Singles hitters aren’t necessarily light hitters though. Ichiro can drive the ball farther than anyone in BP, but he works his stick for singles because it’s more productive for the team. He’s a light hitter in a sense, but it’s purposeful. Jeter as a light hitter may not be as obvious, but light hitter doesn’t mean bad hitter, keep that in mind.

    As for Granderson batting fifth, I think it could work. I don’t know too much about the Yankees’ coaching staff, but it seems to work for them. Granderson has a much better environment to work with because he’s not as pressured to produce because he’s not the star of the lineup anymore. His problems with lefties may continue to persist, but (and I can’t believe I’m writing this about playing for the Yankees, but it makes sense to me) playing in a more relaxed environment will probably do him some good.

  11. Lefty33 Says:

    I think against lefties, unless he figures out how to hit them, Granderson sits, Johnson hits two and Winn hits eight.

    Although like brautigan pointed out, if Johnson gets on base he will gum things up.
    Maybe Winn hits two and Johnson hits seven or eight against lefties.

  12. Raul Says:

    Maybe Derek Jeter has a reputation as being a “singles hitter”

    I guess so.

    Derek Jeter is currently tied for 108th all-time in Doubles with 438. But he’s only 35 years old and will probably move into the top 80 or so after this season. By the time he retires, he’ll likely be in the top 35.

    Gary Sheffield, who’s 40, has hit 467 Doubles.
    Just saying.

    I may have done something wrong in this search but I tried to look up the highest slugging percentages for shortstops with at least 1,000 games played and Derek Jeter ranks 6th all-time. That’s not too shabby.

  13. Hartvig Says:

    Granderson is one of the best people in baseball. Even though I’m a Tigers fan I hope he: a) gets a little more disciplined at the plate and b) figures out left-handers and has a huge year for the Yankees.

    And, yeah, Jeter is a light hitter if you compare him to an all-star first baseman or corner outfielder maybe. But he’s a hell of a hitter for a middle infielder.

  14. Richard Says:

    The purpose of the column was to opinionate that Granderson is the key to the Yankees lineup. I think that the Yankee lineup is the key to Granderson’s performance. With four top OBP guys hitting in front of him (assuming he hits 5th), Mr. Granderson will find himself a ton of AB’s with runners on, and presumably with RISP. The need to drive the ball over the fence disappears, and an even, relaxed swing should yield better results. If CG pays attention to the professional hitters on how to handle the lefties, we may see a marked improvement in those cases, while I agree that the beauty of signing Winn is his numbers against lefties and the ability to sit Granderson against a tough lefty. Also, having a dangerous duo hitting behind him (Posada and Cano most days) would result in better pitches, especially with RISP. I prefer having Nick in the 2-hole, but wouldn’t mind seeing Robby Cano given a shot there, and Nick J. hitting the 5 or 7 hole. Either way, the lineup will help the new additions get good pitches to hit, and should take all the pressure off of them to overswing.

  15. Hossrex Says:

    I think it wouldn’t be out of the question to say Jeter’s bat wouldn’t look as (please notice the emphasis on “AS”) compelling if he played anywhere other than Shortstop, but he’ll still finish with statistics that would be (likely) first ballot regardless of his position.

    It’s nuts to say Jeter isn’t a premiere hitter.

    3,000 hits, and 500 doubles would be a first ballot first baseman.

    Richard: “The purpose of the column was to opinionate that Granderson is the key to the Yankees lineup. I think that the Yankee lineup is the key to Granderson’s performance.”

    That.

  16. Mike Felber Says:

    Lyrical & piquant post #7 Hoss.

    How C.G. reacts Psychologically to the new environment will largely determine if he can effectively adjust to the challenges & stresses. It is unknown if he will maximize his potential by working on his swing & approach.

  17. Jim Says:

    Johnson hitting second won’t adversely effect the Yanks as they are not an aggressive team on the bases anyway. They don’t hit and run a lot nor do they try to force a fielding error by taking the extra base, they’re quite content to move station to station and wait for the 3 run homer and they’ve been pretty successful doing that.

  18. Chuck Says:

    Winn, as a switch-hitter, his career avg against lefties is .280, although last year he sucked…158.

    Granderson is a lefty only hitter whose career avg against lefties is .210.

    IMO, Winn should hit second against lefties with Granderson at the bottom somewhere.

  19. Bill Parks Says:

    Jeter’s whole outlook is “team first” and so he is an intentional situational hitter who has the teams best interests at heart. It is one reason why he hits to the opposite field and the gaps more than try to power the ball out of the park. He is also an exceptionally smart player who knows the disadvantage a right handed hitter has in Yankee Stadium. Isn’t it curious how he has hit some big home runs at the most crucial times. I have no doubt that Jeter could hit more homeruns if he so desired, but going back to the first point above, he is a total team player first who’s primary purpose is team first.

  20. brautigan Says:

    Bill: “Jeter’s whole outlook is ‘team first’ and…”

    What? If that was the case, I would have assumed Jeter would have moved from the shortstop position when AROD came onto the scene. I think it was common knowledge THEN AROD was a superior defensive player at the position than Jeter.

    Now, if you want to make a case that Jeter does things on the field that are “team oriented”, I can buy that.

    Jeter as a “light hitter”, that’s pretty amusing since it is Jeter’s bat that is going to propel him into the Hall when he hangs his cleats up.

  21. dennis Says:

    Jeter is a gret hitter, period.

    Some people use this cliche that someone is a great hitter for their posiiton.
    Its an old baseblal cliche.

    A hitter comes with a physique, (body, arms, wrists) a stance, a swing…hopefully an approach to hittitng (we ve had this disucssion) and how he cobines them….and how he uses the various parks to his advantage.

    Roberto Clement had 3000 hits in his 18 year career, 4 batting championships, numerous .300 seasons and in 18 seasons he hit 240 HRS, 440 doubles and 166 triples, thats a lot of triples! And people say he had no power! Bull! He played in Forbes Field and became a great gapper, he hit between the gaps.

    And he was not the ligt hitting Roberto Clemente.

    Jeter is not a light hitter. he s a great hitter with some power, he has been extraordinarily consistent, has hit betweem .291 and .349, who drives the ball and sets the table for the big sticks A Rod Texiera, in past eyars Matsui.

    First ballot HOFer.

  22. Michael Crowe Says:

    Given the talent and star power the Yankees have, I think the title of this article is silly.

  23. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, Jeter is a sure fire HOF man. And he is a great hitter in terms of skills. But it is accurate to say he is not a great hitter in terms of productivity except for such a defensively valuable position. It is unlikely his OPS + will get any higher than 121 for his career-even maintaining it if he plays for a few years would be very difficult. In real contributions, read; runs added, he is by any measure a good hitter, & likely will be very good in terms of total #s/longevity. But “great”, not adjusting for a difficult & valuable position? That is an overstatement.

    Since he is such a smart hitter, I am sure he knows that he could not do better hitting more homers. Almost certainly because even if he could hit more, it would not be enough, in terms of payoff in % more, & attendant walks, to balance what he would lose in terms of overall productivity. If he could have the power anywhere approaching, say, an A-Rod, he would use it.

  24. Raul Says:

    I hate when people say “smart hitter”.
    It’s like when people talk about how much “fun” Brett Favre has on the field. How he’s “like a kid out there”.

    Whenever I hear that about Favre, I can’t help but think to myself: “Yeah! That’s right! Brett Favre has fun like a kid out there. Screw you Tom Brady and Peyton Manning! What the hell is wrong with you and your stupid 45 touchdowns and stoic facial impressions? Clearly you aren’t having fun out there.”

    So Derek Jeter is a “smart hitter”. And so are lots of other guys. But the thing that bugs me is that you’ve never in your f*cking life heard anyone say Albert Belle was a “smart hitter”…or Hanley Ramirez is a “smart hitter”….for that matter, Joe Mauer.

    That’s when you know the media is sucking your c*ck. When they call you a smart hitter. It’s somehow perceived as actually being better than a “great hitter”

    *coughMANNYRAMIREZcough*

  25. Mr. Washington Says:

    Albert Belle certainly was one of the smartest hitters I’ve seen, but mean people can’t be smart, can they?

  26. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul, you played more baseball than most of us, & clearly know the game. Yes, people want to celebrate some & not others-but Jeter & many others are smarter & get more out of their potential than others. We have established that some do not tailor their approach to the situation as much, nor work as hard at deficits.

    Favre has had his love fests, though it is only human to note apparent joy at playing. That does not imply a lack of appreciation for others-Brady & Manning get plenty of love for their overall abilities & work ethic anyway.

  27. Raul Says:

    That’s just me ranting, Mike.

    You just gotta ignore me sometimes, lol.

  28. Mike Felber Says:

    Ah yes, I am so literal sometimes. Though you like to rant ‘n rave,I noticed that when other were getting heated, you stayed calm. I think you just enjoy raging in general, absent much malice.

    What would an exactly average man, in all respects related to native talent, bat if he was given 10 of his prime years & worked as hard as possible from an early age to make the majors? With excellent training & advice. Would he hit…I will guess about as well as an average pitcher. Not a 50 OPS +, if somehow allowed to stay in the line up. Mostly because without excellent native hand eye coordination, he could not be good above a lower level minor league roster. Thoughts?

  29. Cameron Says:

    Hm… You don’t necessarily have to be smart to be a good hitter. Vladimir Guerrero swings at stuff that makes me scratch my head at and he still knocks it out of the park. IIRC, he hit a ball that got so out of control it bounced off the ground before hitting the plate (No, Chad Bradford wasn’t pitching) and he still knocked it out of the park.

    Is he smart for being able to take bad pitches and knock them out? I wouldn’t call him a smart hitter per se. A good hitter, but not smart because he swings at stuff 99% of players take for strikes. It just helps that Vlad’s strike zone (one of my favorite quotes about any player) “Starts when he gets out of bed in the morning”.

  30. knoledge whizdom Says:

    I say we start the over/under on Granderson hitting 5th at 10 times and I’ll take the under

  31. Patrick Says:

    I can’t imagine why Granderson, a .250 hitter with 30 HR power and swiss cheese-like holes in his swing would hit in a premium spot and Cano, a .320 hitter with 25 HR and no holes in his swing wouldn’t.

    Granderson is a good ballplayer but he’s nowhere near the most important hitter in the Yanks lineup.

    I’d bat him 2nd, 5th or 6th against righties and 9th or platoon him against lefties. If they platooned him, maybe he would do some work on improving against lefties.

    Plus the Yanks aren’t station to station. Gardner, Jeter and Damon had 68 SB in the 9-1-2 slots last year, and Gardner will steal 50 if he sees regular playing time. Putting Nick Johnson 2nd would be a mistake, IMO.

  32. Chuck Says:

    The problem with Cano isn’t the holes in his swing, it’s the one’s in his head.

    He makes Alfonso Soriano look like a founding member of Mensa.

    I’ll take the Granderson bet.

  33. Raul Says:

    When I watch the Yankees play, Cano seems to constantly ground out to 2nd base. Seems to me as a left-handed batter, he’s swinging too early and/or trying to pull outside pitches.

    Cano does have pretty good power for a 2nd baseman, especially one hitting in Yankee Stadium. But his money-maker should be hitting doubles to right-center and left-centerfield.

    He “seems” (because I don’t know), but seems to be afraid of getting jammed. But this is just me watching on tv. I really don’t know. But it’s the same for all players…you gotta trust your hands and you gotta wait for the ball.

  34. Patrick Says:

    Granderson could take his game to another level with the combination of Yankee Stadium, lineup protection and more plate discipline and I hope he does. Plus, he’s a lot faster than his SB totals show. I’m just saying, lineup-wise, he’s less valuable than Jeter, Tex, ARod and Cano. I go to a lot of Tiger spring training games and he seems like a great teammate. I think NY is going to love him like they do Nick Swisher.

    I also think Cano is a potential 40+ HR guy if he tried to drive the ball more.

    I see Cano in spring training every year too and he’s always relaxed and having fun. He’s a big guy for a 2B and he can hit the ball a mile when he tries to. He’s not very aggressive on the bases or at bat. I just think he’s laid back but he has a ton of talent.

    Big if’s, but if he stays healthy and at 2B, he will be among the best hitting 2B’s of alltime.

  35. Ryan Says:

    I actually agree with Raul on “smart hitters” and the Brett Favre funfactor. It almost patronizes players. “Well he’s batting .250, has a .320 OBP and no power, but he knows what he’s doing and is a really smart hitter.” That being said, Jeter should not be in the category of “smart hitter” – thats Eckstein territory – he’s simply a very good, very productive hitter.

  36. dennis Says:

    it seems to me that the words smart and hitter don t fit cleanly.

    The example of Vladimir Guererro was used, Roberto Clemente is another with a wide open strike zone, Yogi Berra was another, and Berra did not strike out very much.

    No one is going to tell me that they weren t great, productive hitters

    It seems to me if you hit .300 or .310 or .330, (depending on who you are) have a very good OBP, and you hit to the limit of your physcial ability, with huge power, medium power or no power, the word smart is unnecessary

    Players as varied in their power as Eddie Brinkman and Frank Howard had the best hititng years of their careers for the Washington Senators in 1969, because Ted Williams was the manager and if they were willing to listen to him, their performance improved. Were they smarter hitters?

    But, if we apply the word smart to indicate someone that wont swing out of anything that is outside his strike zone and can actually influence umpires in their calls of balls and strikes…then we talking about players like …. Williams and Barry Bonds…and Albert Pujols.

    Dave Kingman hit 442 home runs in his regular season career, I would call him neither smart or generally productive…and Ill admit that I have a bias agaisnt Kingman.

    But IF, IF I had to apply the label smart to anyone, I would apply it to someone like Eddie Yost, who had some power, had a .254 lifetime BA, but an OBP of .394 in more then 9000 PAs, had more then 1600 lifetimes walks, led the league in walks 6 times (the Walkign Man) and twice in OBP. I think Yost is someone who made the most of his ability.

    Dont worry I won t make a HOF case for Eddie Yost! But to me, he is like Jorge Posada, he is a baseball anomaly and worth taling about.

    But, .254 doesn t get you into the HOF, unless you re Harmon Hillebrew (.256, but with power and lots of HRs.) Yost and Killebrew were teamates on the old Senators.

  37. dennis Says:

    Raul, in his five years with the Yankees, cano has averaged the barest smidge under 40 doubles a years, and thats a ton of doubles…..but granted I odnt know where they are hit.

    Chuck, what is your specific evidence as to why Robinson Cano is a dumb hitter?

    Imnot sure why some dont think Jeter is a great hitter….

  38. dennis Says:

    Mike, are you perhaps judging Jeter a bit unfairly because of his OPS. He is after all a leadoff hitter.

    He has some power, he has only hit more then 20 HRS once in his carrer. And in 1999, his best year, he finished 6th in the MVP (I Rod had a great year for a catcher and won, Pedro pitched an incredible season and then there the usual suspects Manny, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael…all three with big years and a little help…fromn their friends….

    Jeter is a clean player and…a great hitter.

  39. Hossrex Says:

    dennis: “he has only hit more then 20 HRS once in his carrer.”

    1999
    2001
    2004

  40. Chuck Says:

    I never said Cano was a dumb hitter.

    I said he was dumb…period.

    With the numbers he puts up, if he had even the remotest clue of how to hit, not only would he be hitting second, he could hit third or fourth.

    He just walks up to the plate and swings, one year he hits .320, the next, .270. He has no concept of team play, offensively, defensively or running the bases.

    He’s more beneficial to the Yankees hitting eighth than he would be hitting second, because he’s not smart enough to make adjustments.

  41. Lefty33 Says:

    A few of my favorite Cano mistakes.

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7066421
    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6892285

  42. Chuck Says:

    I can’t find the video…it was a couple of years ago.

    Game in Texas, Pettitte is pitching.

    One out, Kinsler gets a basehit, the next hitter is Blalock.

    Pettitte picks Kinsler off, next pitch, Blalock grounds to second.

    Cano comes in, picks up the ball…and throws to second.

    Jeter’s about 15 feet from the bag, picks up the ball on two hops, and throws Blalock out at first, thanks to a great pick by Giambi.

    Camera scans the dugout, Girard has this WTF look on his face, and about four guys are laughing so hard they have towels over their heads.

    Two absolute guaranteed locks;

    1) When he’s free agent eligible, the Yanks will let him walk. No chance they give this bonehead any significant $$

    2) Cano’s average dips below .300 two straight years..he’s unemployed.

  43. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: C’mon, don’t let your bias cloud your judgement. Cano hasn’t even reached his prime, yet he is a career .300 hitter. He has missed 6 games in the past 3 seasons, so he is durable as well. We all know Cano isn’t Aaron Hill at 2B, but his offense more than makes up for his defensive liabilities. He hits .280 the next two seasons, there will be plenty of teams throwing money his way to play for them, you know that. How many players have had one good season, and then built a career on that one good season? (Too many to count) Cano has had more than one good season, there will always be a Bavasi out there that will toss him the cash. You know that, I know that.

  44. Lefty33 Says:

    The thing that I will agree with Chuck on is that if you do just do a simple Google search you can find lots of Cano’s boneheaded plays defensively and on the bases.

    I think he’s a very good hitter, but Chuck’s right that if he stops hitting, he won’t have a job unless he tightens up the other parts of his game.

    I’ll add one more. What was Cano was doing way off third here? He’s lucky the umps were blind.

    http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/ts/ts091022baseball_replay

  45. Lefty33 Says:

    What I forgot to say was the thing that gets me about Cano’s game, is that clearly he’s physically gifted but he makes so many mental mistakes that eventually whatever offense he produces may not be worth it.

    I can still remember my first LL coach saying that he could handle the physical mistakes but it was the mental ones that would make him pull his hair out and bench your ass for making them.

    Last one I promise.

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2008/08/twins_4_yankees_2.html

  46. Patrick Says:

    Cano is not going to stop hitting until 2020 something. I agree that his head isn’t always in the game but he’s an excellent fielder and already has 199 doubles thru age 26.

    With his power developing and a career .306 BA, he’s going to have to make a lot of bonehead plays not to be the best 2B in the AL for the next 10 years.

    He’s amazingly consistent in the field, posting a .984 fielding pct in each of his last 4 years.

  47. Hossrex Says:

    When you’ve already got a player who (it’s generally accepted) has a weak glove but a hall of fame bat playing shortstop, I’m not sure I’d be happy with a second baseman who doesn’t really have a good glove and yet has a far from hall of fame bat.

    They’ve got a great defender in Texiera, and… I’m pretty sure… an above average defender at third, but that’s still about 90 feet worth of mediocrity up the middle.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    As long as Cano and Jeter can make up for “inadequacies” in the field by driving in runs, it’s all moot. It’ll be interesting to see the outfield now that Abreu, Damon, AND Matsui are all gone (obviously I’m aware Abreu was in Anaheim in 2009).

    Granderson isn’t any of those guys on a GOOD day.

  48. dennis Says:

    Hossrex@comment 39
    i stand correct6ed, you re right, Jeter has hit 20 or more dingers 3 times in his career.

    Chuck@ Comment 40
    Cano isant a sumb hitter…but he doesnt have the remotest clue of how to hit.
    He actually dropped 35 points between 2007 and 2008 from .306 to .271, but you re right he had ab off year and relaly rebounded this past year.

    Everyone has the pet dumb player, so I ll grant you the ocnviction fo your view.

    In 1959, Henry Aaron hit .355 with 92 extra base hits in a total of 223, 39 HR, 123 RBI and led the league with a .636 SLA. The next years , he dropped 63 points to .292, droppled 5% on his OBP, dropped 70 points on his SLA; had 51 less hits and 21 less extra base hits and still hit 1 home run more and 3 more RBIS. While we hae ponted out that RBIs can be misleadig…..as can a loof statisits.

    And henry was a productive or…very smart…hiter

    No worresa, Im not comparing Robinson Cano to henry Aaron!!!!!

  49. Jon Says:

    I think you could put together a video compilation of any player making a boat load of errors because they all make errors and there are a lot of games. In Cano’s case, they do seem to come in bunches, and that might have something to do with his mental state; but, he also makes a lot of slick plays, turns the DP well, and can go a long time between those errors. I watch a lot of Yankee games and he stands out among some very talented guys.

    Hoss at 47: I don’t agree with everything you wrote there (I am one of those guys who believes Jeter and Cano are underrated defensively), but I do agree that the Yankees will miss Abreu, Damon and Matsui. Especially when you consider they are essentially replaced by: Granderson, Winn, Gardner, and dare I say it)the “light-hitting” Nick Johnson. Maybe (but just “maybe”) the Yanks are the one team that can benefit from a OBP-only guy like Johnson, but his lack of speed, durability and power make him a strange selection as a free-agent DH. I like Gardner, but he brings only certain skills to the table, and I really like Granderson, but he has some offensive issues that make him an odd choice for teh Yankees. The signing of Winn remains a complete mystery to me.

  50. Raul Says:

    I think Adam should make it so that your post will not go through if it has misspellings.

  51. Richard Says:

    The argument against Cano is silly, simply because he is just 27 (turns 28 during the 28th title run), ready for his prime years, and as a relatively inexpensive Second Baseman (yes, even the Yankees have a budget) there are only a handful of 2b you would trade straight up for him. Off the top of my head, Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia, Hill – Maybe Zobrist (which makes it ironic that he might be the fifth best 2b in his division, though Roberts is getting older). He has power, hits for average (.340 in 06) and his swing has been compared to HOF Rod Carew with power. I don’t buy into the comparison, but it’s intriguing nonetheless. Add that he turns one of the quickest DP’s in the league, and you have a very good player that in no way will be “out of baseball” in two years.

  52. jimmy vac Says:

    I am not the biggest Jeter fan but Felix Millan, Matty Alou, & Luis Castllo are singles hitters but Jeter and Clemente were and are not singles hitters.
    You don’t hit over 200 homers,and many double ans triples without having some power. I do think Jeter, while a great player, strikes out too much for a 15 homer a season player.. but .17, .388 OBP does put you in the HOF if you are an infielder.. I always though Jieter was gonna be a consistent 20-25 home run guy but that did not happen… It is not his fault that the media blow hom out of proprtion. Cano is getting better and better…. hitting and defensively.. he might hit 30 homers, .330 BA and over 100 ribbies this year. Curtis is not even close to being the most important Yankee… I would list Texeria, A_Rod, Mo, and then Jeter.. Genadison is somewhere before or after Posada..

  53. brautigan Says:

    Hoss: Age comparables for Cano and Jeter after their 27 year old seasons:

    AT bats: Jeter 3,130 Cano 2,855
    Runs: Jeter 605 Cano 406
    Doubles: Jeter 153 Cano 199
    Triples: Jeter 35 Cano 17
    Homeruns: Jeter 78 Cano 87
    Walks: Jeter 341 Cano 129
    OPS: Jeter .862 Cano .819

    Cano, well, he is holding his own.

    Did you know that New York offered Cano in the AROD deal and Texas took Joaquin Arias instead? I bet the Rangers wish they could have a do over now.

  54. Hossrex Says:

    Sure Cano is holding his own. I didn’t say anything bad about his bat, except that it wasn’t hall of fame. That’s not much of an insult.

    Just to expand your model:

    Batting average: Jeter .322, Cano .306
    On Base Percentage: Jeter .394, Cano .339
    Hits: Jeter 1008, Cano 875
    OPS+: Jeter 122, Cano 113

    Those numbers from Cano will certainly keep a guy in the major leagues (although the OBP is right around league average), but the numbers from the same ages for Derek Jeter are very very good for a shortstop.

    I’d wager not too many people had their thousandth hit by their fifth full season.

    One is an all-star, one is a hall of famer.

  55. jimmy vac Says:

    Jeter came into the league a smart polished player.. Cano is behind him.. right now he is an all star.. if he continues to improve, he has a huge upside.. I think he will hit for a high average with about 30 homers for the next few years.he needs to be more selective at the plate as Hossrex said. his defense overal is good not great.. what suprises me is he runs well, I am suprised, he does not steal more bases..
    alot of balls get through the middle of the infield for hits.. that is an area where Jeter has lost a little.. Girardi should shade Arod a step or two towards short and jeter could do the same towards second.. About 3-4 balls are hit up the middle to about one down the line…you can always guard the line late in the game..

  56. Hossrex Says:

    Jimmy Vac: “he runs well, I am suprised, he does not steal more bases”

    In a baseball sense, there’s a difference between being fast, and running well.

  57. brautigan Says:

    Hoss: Yeah, if Cano could just bump up his on base, he would be a bit more complete. And he has improved his walk rate, but I don’t think we’ll see much more improvement there. My guess is as he ages, his power will go up, and his batting average will go down.

  58. Hossrex Says:

    If he could keep his OBP up while his batting average declines (which would PROBABLY happen if he became a serious power threat… although he’s in the wrong line-up to be pitched around) it might be worth it, but if his OBP went down much further it would be unacceptable.

    .339 is borderline as it is.

    And yes. I’m aware of the irony of that statement, while supporting Dawson for the hall.

  59. Mike Felber Says:

    Yup, those are useful comparisons…We need tyo remember that while most all players have significant flaws, just to be good at the Major League level is such an impressive accomplishment. Cano is an all star level player, & should get at least a little better over the next few years.

  60. brautigan Says:

    Oh hell yeah Mike Felber, the worst major league baseball player is still one heck of a baseball player!

  61. jose b. Says:

    Well, that article confirms my intuition: A lot of people are thinking, that because of Granderson’s strikeouts, low BA, low OBP and so on, he won’t a good fit for the Yankees, and won’t justify the Yankees eating his long-term contract. And think about this now: after the clean-up hitter (Rodriguez) the Yankees can lack of punch down the stretch, so don’t rule out the possibility of Manny Ramirez playing in the Bronx, around July 31 (changes limit date), if the Dodgers are out of the race up to that date.

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