Robinson Cano is the most “unclutch” player in baseball.
His clutch score is -2.40. Miguel Cabrera is second with a -1.72. I’ve written about clutch score before, so you can read about it here. Basically, what this means is that there is a huge disparity between Cano’s ability to hit in high leverage situations and his ability to hit in “neutral” situations. For instance, with the bases empty, Cano hits .345/.385/.550. However, with the bases loaded he hits .250/.261/.300. With RISP, Cano is hitting .202/.239/.318 and with RISP and 2 outs, Cano is hitting .195/.235/.299. Essentially, what clutch score indicates is that Cano is having an excellent year when no one is on base (yay!). Of course, in baseball, where you optimize your offensive output by hitting with RISP, this is problem for Robbie and the Yankees.
What does this mean, exactly? Is there no hope for our free-swinging friend?
Well, no—not exactly. In the past, Cano’s clutch score, with the exception of last year, has always been in the red. However, in 2009, Robbie’s numbers—clutch score, etc—in high leverage situations have been markedly lower than they have been in previous seasons (Cano’s previous clutch scores were -0.75, -0.36, -0.86 and 0.32). He’s basically having the worst season of his career with men on base. Therefore, though he isn’t really delivering with runners on in 2009, it appears as though these issues are particularly pronounced this year. For this reason, I wonder if he has just been unlucky. However, on the other hand, he has looked awfully impatient at the plate whenever a man is on base. Whatever the case may be, the Yankees have worked with Cano to address the problem, yet I haven’t seen much of an improvement (I’ve seen glimpses, nothing concrete, though).
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