What did Robinson Cano's reluctance to run hard cost the Yankees? And did his strategy make sense?
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 Harperpublished 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:
Bone up on the basics of scouting with a primer on evaluating a prospect's running, fielding, and throwing ability.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Revisit the second part of Kevin's scouting vocabulary primer, which covered the qualities that are evaluated when a scout looks at a prospect's running, fielding, and throwing abilities. The piece was originally published as a Future Shock column on March 15, 2006.
A review of the most productive bats in all of the full-season minor leagues.
For too long, it's been one of the hidden gems on our website. I'm guessing many readers had no idea that we have minor league stats, including Davenport Translations and the usual BP metrics. It's a wonderful tool for looking at the numbers and getting some balance, and to celebrate their more prominent new position on our statistics home page, let's hand out some hardware with some BP Hitter of the Month awards using our own metric, Equivalent Runs.
Identifying which of the early-season thieves are flukes and which will keep running should help you corner the stolen base market in your league.
We've now had two months of data, which should be enough to examine some trends that can help you corner the stolen bases category for your fantasy leagues. We'll look at who is running more frequently and successfully than normal, and also which catchers stand out in their attempts to thwart the running game. One metric that I'll frequently refer to is a player's stolen base opportunity rate (SBO), which measures how often a runner is taking advantage of his opportunities to run. The formula was created by the folks at BaseballHQ.com, and is elegantly simple:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the lost art of pinch running, past, present, and future.
With the help of Mat Kovach and Retrosheet, pinch running statistics in the last 50 years have now been compiled, along with leaderboards for seasons, lifetime, and most times removed, along with team and manager statistics. (E-mail me if you want this.) In compiling all this information, a few things jump out from the statistics, and so here are the highlights of pinch running statistics.