Cano's Success Not A Product Of Melky's Absence

[image title=”cano.melky.pie” size=”full” id=”17115″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]
When Robinson Cano hit his second home run in last night’s game, I sent out a sarcastic tweet about his success being tied to the fact that long time buddy Melky Cabrera was no longer on the team to distract him. Much to my chagrin, a number of people responded by taking my statement literally, and agreed that the absence of Melky was at least part of the reason for Cano’s amazing start. Quite frankly, I think that this is a bit ridiculous, for a variety of reasons.

Most notably, this sort of performance is nothing new for Cano, as he had a similarly hot April in 2009. Robbie hit .366/.400/.581 in last season’s first month, notching 5 home runs and knocking in 16. While his 2010 April has been better than that, the difference is certainly not stark enough to conclude that we are looking at an entirely reborn or more focussed player. I would like to see him sustain his great performance for more than a few weeks (obviously he will not be THIS good all year, but I’d like to see him show improvement over 2009) before I declare that he has taken the next step in his development.

However, even if he does sustain that performance, I still would not link the change to Melky’s departure. Robbie Cano is 27 years old, and is just entering what should be the prime of his career. It is only natural that he would take a step forward this year, simply because he is at the stage of his career where great young talents turn into stars. It is not necessary to impose a ridiculous narrative about Melky and distractions onto these events when a much simpler explanation exists.

Quite frankly, I cannot fathom where this storyline came from in the first place. Cano and Melky were close both on and off the field, but plenty of players have close friends and enjoy the city nightlife. As I recall, Derek Jeter was an avid club-hopper, and even did a commercial with George Steinbrenner that touched on that subject. Cano had one season where he struggled during day games, and suddenly fans were convinced that it was because he was staying up late the nights before games, partying with Melky. This narrative never disappeared, despite evidence that Cano was in fact a very hard worker who tirelessly attempted to hone his craft. Now that Melky is gone and Cano is mashing, the narrative is simply reinforced, despite little evidence to suggest that the two things are related. Cano is not red hot because his distracting buddy is gone. Rather, it is because he is a 27 year old with amazing talent just entering the prime of his career.

0 thoughts on “Cano's Success Not A Product Of Melky's Absence

  1. @NDimichino

    As hard as it is to prove, I do think Melky being gone is going to help Cano in the long run. Melky was an immature kid and an immature baseball player, and hindered Cano from getting to the next level and playing with the big boys. Now with Melky gone, Cano can focus on being the best he can be–which right now seems like it could be pretty incredible. Tex/A-Rod/Cano 3-4-5 will be impossible for other teams if Cano is focused and locked in. Hopefully we can pencil in Cano for .330/30/100.

    Nice piece, but I do think there is more to the story. He was definitely holding Cano back and I said for years that he wouldn’t be great until Melky was gone. Hopefully Cano can now be great.

  2. mark

    didn’t most people think that bc the yanks traded melky away, cano would actually perform worse? both arguments r dumb anyway. cano’s the second best second basemen in the game (utley is 1) and will be a perennial all-star for years to come

  3. Cano’s success is in his hands. His hand control on his swing is fantastic, and let’s him cover the whole strike zone and then some, making strong contact with the ball in numerous places. That’s a big part of the reason why he’s not just racking up hits, but completely crushing the ball. It’s also a reason why he very well could maintain a fantastic batting line all season.

  4. BH

    didn’t most people think that bc the yanks traded melky away, cano would actually perform worse?

    Before that it was Larry Bowa. Same faulty logic; different influence.

  5. oldpep

    If he hadn’t improved his strike zone judgment last year when Melky was still here, the idea would be a lot harder to disprove. As it is, this season’s improvement is a continuation of that trend, not something completely out of context. Cano is making pitchers throw strikes, and (as was said about Yogi, so long ago): “he’s a good bad-ball hitter, but he’s a better good-ball hitter.”

  6. bornwithpinstripes

    the first guy who needed to go was abreu…melky was next..who ever talked to cano about melky going did a great job, cano needed to grow up.. melky is still a kid, cano needed to get serious ..so far he passed , no melky and a very important fifth spot.. lets see if tex arod and cano can get hot all at the same time.. jeter is close to 2800 hits he catches frank robinson this year..