Today I’m going to break down a handful of players an attempt to refute the prevailing wisdom about at least one aspect of their game. Hopefully the piece will be a thought provoking one, even if you disagree with my conclusions.
Robinson Cano‘s Power
Cano hit 33 homers last season, the first time he reached 30 in his career. The assumption is that Cano is now a 30 homer hitter. It’s obvious, right? He hit 30 homers last year. He plays in New York were the stadium had a Park Indices mark of 146 last year for left-handed home run hitters (46 percent above the AL average). He’s Robinson Cano. Despite all that, he’s not a 30 homer hitter. Besides the obvious fact that he’s gone deep 30 times just once in eight seasons there are a couple of salient points. (1) Cano’s 1.89 GB/FB ratio last season was a career-high (his career mark is 1.55). (2) Cano hit fewer fly balls last season than ever before at 25.8 percent. A career-high in homers despite a career-low fly ball number – is there something rotten in Denmark (a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. How dare he speak of my homeland in such a way)? (3) Cano’s HR/F ratio last season was a career best 24.1 percent, a massive step up from his career 13.7 percent rate. It was also the first time he posted a mark above 17.0 percent. Unless Cano hits a lot more fly balls this season he isn’t going deep 30 times again (if he does hit more fly balls, it could end up costing him in the batting average category).
Can anyone save SMASH?
Matt Kemp is Injury Prone
I’ve been hearing this a lot on The Drive, my radio show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Monday through Friday, 5-8 PM EDT). I just can’t understand why people think this. In 2010-11 Kemp missed one game. One. From 2008 through 2011 he appeared in at least 155 games each season. Kemp’s total of 637 games played those four years were the 6th most in baseball and just seven behind Prince Fielder‘s leading total of 644 games. So Kemp has a couple of ailments limit him to 106 games last season and all of a sudden the 28 year old is a big time injury risk? Don’t consider me part of that camp.
Giancarlo Stanton is Worth a First Round Draft Pick
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Stanton posts the following numbers this season: .292-39-122-103-2. I’m not saying he gets there, those are huge numbers and likely unattainable (at least the average and runs scored marks), but let’s just say he does. If he does that, gets those numbers, he’ll earn about $28 or so dollars this season. That’s just not first round value folks.
Joey Votto‘s Power
I got in a Twitter discussion the past 12 hours about Votto vs. Cano, and one point that was mentioned was that Votto’s power was in decline so his value was waning. Really? The facts. (1) Votto owns a .553 career SLG. The mark was .567 last year. He had a better than career average SLG last season folks. (2) Votto had a 1.18 GB/FB ratio last year. His career mark is 1.19. (3) Votto did post a four year low fly ball rate of 32 percent, but that was just slightly off his 34.4 percent career mark. (4) Votto did hit only 14 homers in 374 at-bats last season. However, that knee injury of his crippled his ability to drive the baseball late in the year. In fact, he didn’t hit a single homer over his 87 at-bats in the second half of the season. Let’s remove those 87 at-bats for a moment. When he was healthy, the first 83 games, he went deep 14 times, hitting one long ball every 20.5 at-bats. For his career, that mark is one homer per 19.5 at-bats. Status quo here folks.
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By Ray Flowers