• Cano To Bat Fifth

    Posted by on March 15th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Interesting news out of Bradenton this morning. According to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Robinson Cano will move to the fifth spot in the batting order. The 27 year-old second baseman who averaged 19 home runs and a .306 batting average over the past five seasons will now be responsible for protecting and driving in the likes of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez:

    “I think it’s always been somewhat projected that he would move up in the lineup,” Girardi said. “He’s got so much ability and tools, but with young players, sometimes you want to ease him in. To me, Robbie’s not a young player anymore, even though he’s young on this team.”

    “You want somebody hitting behind A-Rod so they can pitch to him, so I’m going to have to step it up early in the season,” Cano said. “I know what I went through last year, so for Girardi to put me fifth, that means that he trusts me. He thinks I’m ready.” (source)

    Batting Cano fifth is not a terrible idea – he does own a career batting average on the north side of .300 – but there could be some drawbacks here, namely his numbers with runners in scoring position and knack for grounding into double plays. For example, Cano grounded into 22 double plays in 2009, which tied him for fourth in the American League. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson has only hit into 18 double plays during his entire career. Now, a lot of that has to do with where each player hits in the batting order, but it does demonstrate how Granderson’s speed could be beneficial in the five-hole.

    Speed aside, you can’t ignore Cano’s high-contact approach and line drive swing. His superior numbers against lefties and room for offensive improvement are reason enough to give him the nod over Granderson. I think that this could also be a case of Girardi attempting to inspire Cano and reduce the amount of pressure on Granderson. If Robbie falters, I’m sure the former Tiger will move up in the batting order.

    Feinsand also listed the probable regular season batting order. Nick Johnson will bat second, and Cano will likely be followed by Jorge Posada, Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. When taking a hard look at that lineup, debating on who should hit where really becomes unnecessary. No matter what, this team will score runs.

    Comments on Cano To Bat Fifth

    1. YankCrank
      March 15th, 2010 | 10:18 am

      I like it, but there’s really no risk here. If for some reason Cano can’t handle the 5 spot, anybody from Posada to Granderson to Swisher can handle it.

      We’re in good shape.

    2. clintfsu813
      March 15th, 2010 | 10:25 am

      I agree. I’m expecting big things from Cano this year. If he maintains last years numbers, AND, hits better with RISP, I think he’ll be at least top 10 in MVP voting.

    3. March 15th, 2010 | 10:40 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      Especially if you subscribe to the “Age 27 = Breakout Season” theory. I think Cano is going to have a pretty big year too. I mean, he’s already produced better than most of the second basemen in the game, but this could the year that sets him apart from the rest.

    4. Corey Italiano
      March 15th, 2010 | 10:42 am

      @ Dan LaTorraca:
      How much more can he break out? He’s already the best 2B on either side of the diamond in the AL. I’d steer clear from this line of thought, as you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

    5. March 15th, 2010 | 11:02 am

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      @ Dan LaTorraca:
      How much more can he break out? He’s already the best 2B on either side of the diamond in the AL. I’d steer clear from this line of thought, as you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

      Well, I always felt that Cano had the capacity to hit 30 homers in a season, and that sentiment was magnified after watching the fireworks at the new stadium last season. I suppose his sophomore season should be considered his breakout – but if he was to hit .315-30-120, it would elevate him to superstar status.

    6. clintfsu813
      March 15th, 2010 | 11:03 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I’m just looking for him to hit better with RISP, keep up that AVG., and win a Gold Glove.

    7. Evan3457
      March 15th, 2010 | 6:15 pm

      Dan LaTorraca wrote:

      @ clintfsu813:
      Especially if you subscribe to the “Age 27 = Breakout Season” theory. I think Cano is going to have a pretty big year too. I mean, he’s already produced better than most of the second basemen in the game, but this could the year that sets him apart from the rest.

      I don’t agree. I prefer Pedroia.

      Cano is not likely to be successful as a #5 hitter, unless he can significantly change his approach with men on base. If he can’t, he won’t remain in the #5 slot for very long.

    8. Evan3457
      March 15th, 2010 | 6:15 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:
      I don’t agree. I prefer Pedroia.
      Cano is not likely to be successful as a #5 hitter, unless he can significantly change his approach with men on base. If he can’t, he won’t remain in the #5 slot for very long.

      Sorry; quoted the wrong person above. Careless error.

    9. Raf
      March 15th, 2010 | 8:55 pm

      I’m just glad that the Yankees’ lineup is so deep that they can bat Granderson & Swisher so low in the order.

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