CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: Feb. 1... (02/18)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: Where... (02/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: Last ... (02/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/18)

February 18, 2014

Overthinking It

Quantifying Cano's Lack of Hustle

by Ben Lindbergh


You’d think that Yankees fans, who are used to seeing their team sign other cities’ superstars, would be upset about losing a homegrown second baseman who’s coming off four straight five-win seasons. But based on a winter’s worth of conversation—and as a New Yorker who writes about baseball, I’ve had a lot of conversations about Cano—most of them don't sound too broken up about it. Partly that’s because spending hundreds of millions on other free agents eases the sting. Partly it’s because the Mariners gave Cano so many years and so much money. But another part of the reason—and I really believe this—is that Cano was known for not really running to first. If Cano couldn’t be bothered to bleed for every base hit while he was here, Yankees fans seem to say, then why would we miss him?

That familiar refrain resurfaced on Monday, when the Daily News’ John Harper published a piece on Cano with some critical quotes from Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. To be fair, Long’s comments were partially based on being mindful of public perception—since Cano’s reluctance to run harder bothered the fans, Long suggests, he would’ve been wise to appease them. But Long also makes clear that he couldn’t condone Cano’s lollygagging or swallow his explanations of why he wanted to run at less than maximum speed:

The reasons aren’t going to make sense. He might say his legs didn’t feel good, or he was playing every day and needed to save his energy. To me there was no acceptable answer.

So how much did Cano’s famously slow times to first cost the Yankees? And is Long right, or was Cano’s strategy sound?

It’s easy to compare Cano’s infield hit percentage (infield hits divided by ground balls) to the league’s. But we can get more granular and more accurate by accounting for his handedness (since lefties, all else being equal, get out of the box and down to first faster) and ground ball distribution (it’s easier to beat out grounders to third and shortstop than grounders to second and first, and each hitter has a different infield spray chart.) “If we can get more granular AND more accurate,” I always say, “then we’d damn well better do it.” So let’s.

Before we do, we have to make two assumptions: first, that Cano is an average runner, and second, that there’s nothing else about him that makes his grounders unusually easy or difficult to field.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Robinson Cano,  Derek Jeter,  Running,  Kevin Long

28 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: Feb. 1... (02/18)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: Where... (02/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: Last ... (02/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (02/18)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Pitching Backward: The Guy Who Makes Scherze...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of ...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Upton and Ubaldo in One Ugly ...
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Hank Aaron's Hypothetical Fo...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Free Agent Pitchers: The Top T...
Premium Article Moonshot: A New View of Plate Discipline, Pa...
Premium Article 2015 Prospects: Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prosp...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 18, 2014
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: New York Me...
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: Feb. 18, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: What We Would Say Abou...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Looking for Lefty Relief
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: New York Mets
Fantasy Article Fantasy Tier Rankings: Outfielders
Fantasy Article State of the Position: Outfielders

MORE BY BEN LINDBERGH
2014-02-20 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Last Season in Selective Ag...
2014-02-20 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 3...
2014-02-19 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 3...
2014-02-18 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Quantifying Cano's Lack of ...
2014-02-18 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 3...
2014-02-17 - Baseball Prospectus News: The New Pricing Pl...
2014-02-17 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 3...
More...

MORE OVERTHINKING IT
2014-03-03 - Overthinking It: Takeaways From Our First Lo...
2014-02-27 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Why Every Team Needs Kendry...
2014-02-20 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Last Season in Selective Ag...
2014-02-18 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Quantifying Cano's Lack of ...
2014-02-12 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Where the Remaining Free Ag...
2014-02-04 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Parsing the PECOTAs
2014-02-03 - Premium Article Overthinking It: Searching for Switch-Hitter...
More...