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Is it time for Cano to be clutch?

Feb 24, 2010, 11:41 AM EDT

Robinson Cano.jpgJohn Harper of the Daily News thinks that Robinson Cano needs to step things up:

More than Curtis Granderson, more than Nick Johnson, the onus falls on Cano to fill the clutch gap. Indeed, it’s time for Cano to prove he’s more than a great talent, a status he reaffirmed in 2009 with a big rebound season.

In 2010 the Yankees need for him to prove he can be a great hitter as well, one who understands situations and delivers when it counts most.

Harper goes on to note that Cano should have won a Gold Glove but that “part of winning those types of awards is earning respect around the
league as a true star, and a big part of that is earning a reputation
for being clutch.”

“There was a streak when [Cano] had made about 10 or 11 outs in a row with
runners in scoring position, and he hit nine bullets. Over the long term that usually irons itself out, but when you don’t
have 600,000 at-bats, it doesn’t iron out. His at-bats, a lot of times
were very good with runners in scoring position. I didn’t think he had
a lot of luck last year”

Practicing better patience and realizing better luck sounds like an easier trick to pull off than taking peyote, entering a Ute Indian sweat lodge and trying to commune with the Clutch Gods or whatever process Harper thinks it is that turns mere ballplayers into clutch hitters.

  1. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 24, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    The problem is Cano does things without alot of effort and alot of people think he is dogging it, Joe benched him in 2008 for this same thought process. He has a good glove, he has made alot of plays in short right field, he can be gold glover.Cano often just
    gets lost with this team of BIG name players.I think he has more game than that guy in Boston, what’s his face……..

  2. Jonny5 - Feb 24, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Craig, take a look here.
    There is one player in baseball who I’ve seen to be “Clutch” Carlos Ruiz. He bats a meager .6 to .700 OPS all season, then gets to the post season and he’s leading everyone, well look, here it is. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7757
    ….Phenominal “Clutch” player. His career OPS against NYY is over 2.0!!! Seriously he’s nothing more than a mediocre hitter all season. put him in the big game and WOW!
    A .246 avg batter hits .500 a few times post season and doesn’t drop below .400 the entire time??? seriously “clutch” And kinda weird if you ask me.

  3. Charles Gates - Feb 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Sure, I guess you can classify Ruiz’s performance as clutch. But based on that, are you going to assume he keeps up that torrid pace going forward? If the Phils reach the post season again this year, who would you rather have batting for you in 9th? Ruiz or Utley?

  4. Jonny5 - Feb 24, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Honestly, It wouldn’t matter to me. 2008 post season was typical for him but 2007 post season was another way above average series for him. You see 2009 from the link, and wow! Shoot it’s like he’s super man with cryptonite around his neck all season, then takes it off postseason. It kinda baffles me honestly. Utley is still the man I admire most though….. Ok, Utley is top of the order to answer honestly I like him at #3-4. Usually the pitcher is #9 with Ruiz #8 and do I dare question old Chaaaaalie’s batting order??? Heavens no.

  5. John - Feb 24, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    Shoutout to baseball-reference.com
    Take a look at Cano’ s BaBip in clutch situations, and it’s .198
    The league average over the course of the season is .300, so we’re probably looking at bad luck. Because as much as people like to attribute these things to intestinal fortitude or whatnot, the math just doesn’t pan out.
    The guy hits 36 pts higher than league average BABip over the course of his career, but can’t hit with men on? His BABIP with RISP is .210, but hits .363 late and close? So he’s not clutch with men on, but is when it is important?
    People who look at these things can make whatever case they want by slicing and dicing the stats. The reality is, he’s a good hitter who chases too many pitches.

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