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Robinson Cano not a hit in October
Call Robinson Cano Mr. May.
Or Mr. April, Mr. June, July, August, September – heck even Mr. World Baseball Classic.
But don't count on Cano come the postseason. The colder the weather turns, the colder Cano gets. Which raises the question – should Cano's October flops keep the Yankees from retaining their walk-year second baseman after the 2013 season?
In eight years, Cano has posted at least a career .771 on-base plus slugging percentage in every month of the regular season. He has at least an .814 OPS in every month aside from May.
This spring, he's leading a fearsome Dominican Republic squad in the World Baseball Classic, hitting .519 with an .889 slugging percentage (27 at-bats). The D.R. is in the tournament semi-finals against the Netherlands.
Then there's the postseason, when Cano has a career .686 OPS and just a .222 average. In 11 playoff series', Cano's posted an OPS over .800 five times and batted at least .300 four times. That's pretty perplexing for a guy with a career .308 regular season average and .854 regular season OPS.
The simplest explanation for Cano's struggles could be sample size – he might not have had enough of an opportunity to make his impact felt.
Cano has at least 690 plate appearances in every month of the season, making those career stats fairly accurate. Meanwhile, his 27 at-bats in the 2013 World Baseball Classic make his jaw-dropping performance highly suspect.
The postseason is somewhere in between. While he's been a part of 11 series', that totals just 217 plate appearances for the Yankees' slugger.
But blaming Cano's struggles on small-sample size is only half the story, and calling Cano's postseason performance a “struggle” may actually be inaccurate when you drill down deeper into the numbers.
During the regular season, Cano averages a home run once ever 26.72 at-bats. He drives an extra-base hit on average once every 8.61 at-bats. During the postseason, his HR/AB actually improves to 25.37, while his XBH/AB falls slightly to 9.66.
While Cano strikes out an average of once every 7.83 at-bats during the regular season, he whiffs just once every 7.25 at-bats in the playoffs.
There is one big difference between Cano's April-September and October, however: He has a .322 batting average on balls in play during the regular season and just a .222 BABIP during the postseason.
So to say Cano is merely unlucky during the postseason might be more truth than excuse.
But can Cano convince the Yankees of that?