(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
June was a pretty mediocre month for Robinson Cano by his standards (.275/.395/.418, .345 wOBA). The elevated BB rate was nice, but the low average and lack of power were crippling in the middle of the batting order when almost everybody else around him was regressing at the speed of sound. And Robbie started to hear about it from the fans. The calls for the Yankees to not re-sign him, foolish as they may be, became greater and the whispers about trading him at the deadline grew louder.
Cano has predictably turned things around quickly in the last handful of days. He's 12-21 in his last 5 games with 4 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R, 1 BB, and not a single strikeout. The switch has been flipped and he's locked in again. But what was the real cause of his June swoon? The guys in the ESPN broadcast booth on Sunday night, John Kruk in particular, were convinced that Robbie was struggling due to him expanding his strike zone and trying to do too much with everybody else around him slumping. This made little sense to me considering Robbie's BB rate in June was as high as we've ever seen it as 15.8% in 114 PA, and including intentional walks he was given 23 free passes. You just don't walk that much as a notorious free swinger if you're expanding your strike zone, and the pitch plots from last month agree:
Yankees clobber Pirates in 11-5 win
2 hours ago