A few years ago I wrote a post about Robinson Cano arguing that he would never win a batting title because every season he’s good for a month long slump that pretty much kills his numbers and he has to build them back after the slump comes. In the comments section of the post a Cano fan argued that the single month was the deviation, that eventually Cano would perform to his true talent level for an entire season, and win the MVP, or a similar accolade. I’ll say the same thing now that I said then. The month long slump is part of Cano’s game.
This season is no different. As of this writing, Cano is batting .300/.384/.531. He has a .384 wOBA and 3.6 fWAR. This is pretty much the level of production he’s put up since 2009 (his career line is .308/.354/.505). But, once again, he’s gone about getting his numbers in a streaky fashion.
In fact, this season Cano has seen two months when his numbers were sub standard. He busted out of the gate in April. His wOBA was .414. He had a .598 SLG. Then, in May and June he became average. His wOBA was just .337 and .345, respectively. He never fell into substandard territory as a player, but for a guy swinging for a nine figure contract the performance was lacking.
In the month of July (and really in the second half of June as well, but we don’t have weekly stats) Robbie has been on fire. He’s been on “keep a fire extinguisher near him at all times because he may hurt someone” fire. Robbie has been hitting .395/.509/.744 in July. That’s a .505 wOBA. To put that in perspective, for the season Miguel Cabrera has a .474 wOBA.
This kind of hot and cold production is what makes Cano who he is. Right now he’s hot, and his numbers are as good as they’ve ever been. People used to say “he’ll win a batting title someday”, but that’s not the kind of player Cano has developed into. He’s more a power hitter than a guy who will hit .340. And he’s too streaky. Specifically, he hasn’t hit well in May. For his career he has a .331 wOBA in May, versus at least .360 in every other month. Remove the May swoon, and he’d have won an MVP by now. That’s the bad news. The good news is he’s on fire right now, and in the second half for his career he has a .381 wOBA. Cano is hot right now and he figures to stay hot.