New York Mets Player Evaluations: Second Baseman Robinson Cano

New York Mets, Robinson Cano
The New York Mets needed Robinson Cano to prove his 2019 struggles were a fluke, and he did just that during the 2020 shortened season. Cano showed there is still plenty left in his tank at age 37 and that there is no reason to doubt him for his age 38 season.

There is no doubt the trade to bring him here was questionable, but Cano’s production is separate from it. Cano was red hot through the first 11 games he played before a leg injury shut him down for a little over a week. He slashed .412/.462/.559 though his first 34 at-bats and showed the whole field approach, which made him one of the best of his generation.

Before the injury, all of Cano’s starts came at second base. This was before Andres Gimenez/Luis Guillorme’s earing playing time along with Yoenis Cespedes still taking up space on the roster. Once Cano’s returned, the Mets used him as a DH for nine consecutive starts.

Whole Field Approach

The ability to let Cano consistently rest his legs allowed his bat to remain consistent all season. Once September rolled around, all of his starts were at second base outside of the last two season games. While the average was not as high after the injury, the power was prevalent. Cano slashed .292/.322/.540 with nine home runs and 23 runs batted in.

Cano was one of their best clutch hitters for a team that struggled with runners in scoring position. Cano batted .300 in those spots, including a .357 average with 2 outs and RISP. What brought him success was his ability to take advantage of the open field when opponents shifted on him.

Cano’s wOBA on against the shift was .432 compared to .353 without it. He also found more success hitting pitches on the outside part of the plate. Cano’s three highest average exit velocities came on pitches on the outer third of the zone.

Though his high exit velos were on the outside, seven of his ten home runs came in the middle three zones of the plate. Lastly, his highest BABIPs came on pitches up/in and middle in. Cano has supreme plate coverage, and it showed in various ways with his production.

The DH spot seems clogged, but with the Mets roster’s versatility, Cano will likely see plenty of time there if the Mets want to get 145 productive games out of him in the 2021 season. Like many great Dominican hitters, Cano seems like he will age like fine wine.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 70 (60), What his average lacks, his powerful presence will make up for it.

Power: 70 (60), Cano was on pace for 33 homers, but 20-25 seems more realistic for 2021.

Run: 20 (20), Can’t run at full speed without getting injured.

Arm: 70 (70), Still one of the elite arms among second basemen

Field: 50 (40), Average year in a small sample size. Despite the range slipping away, anything he gets to is an out.

Overall: 70 (65), Cano was on pace for an All-Star caliber year, still high on him for 2021

New York Mets: The Peterson/Chirinos Battery Lead Mets To 3-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

Who would have thought the combination of David Peterson and Robinson Chirinos would team up with the 2020 season started? Both guys took different paths to the New York Mets roster but made the difference in their 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. The win kept their small playoff hopes still alive as they sit 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the final playoff spot.

While Peterson did not strike out batters at the same rate as his last start, he was still very effective. In his final start of the season, he held the Nationals to one run over seven innings and struck out four. Peterson used his slider to put away the Nats hitters and make the longest start of his career. He will finish the season with a very impressive 3.44 ERA, very deserving of a spot in next year’s rotation.

Rob and Dom Show

While the Mets only pushed across three runs on the night but they made them count. Chirinos drove in all three with a hustle single and a two-run home run. All of his RBI came off Patrick Corbin, and the home run was his first of the season.

Dominic Smith continued his hot hitting with three more hits, including two more double to up his season total to 21. It broke the Mets record for the most doubles through a 60 game stretch, and he still has three more games to add to that total. Robinson Cano also added two hits, including his first bunt single since 2013.

Edwin Diaz picked up his sixth save of the season after allowing one run in the ninth inning. He bent but did not break as he worked around two hits in the ninth to shut the door.

Rick Porcello faces off against former teammate Max Scherzer for the second game of the series on Friday. It is another 6:05 p.m. ET start from Nationals Park.

New York Mets: Offense Backs Lugo in 5-2 Victory Over Rays

The New York Mets get a good starting pitching effort for the fourth consecutive night. This one against the Tampa Bay Rays came from Seth Lugo, who desperately needed one after his rough outing against the Phillies. The Mets offense also woke up to support Lugo in their 5-2 victory.

Lugo found the handle on his curveball early in this start. It eluded him over the last two starts, but his equalizer was the curve against the weak Rays offense. Lugo pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), and striking out seven. Out of 95 pitches, 66 were strikes, and he produces plenty of uncomfortable swings.

Solving Snell

Blake Snell had one of the best starts of his career when he faced the Mets back in 2018. He came into his start without allowing any runs in the first two innings of the game during 2020. Robinson Cano changed that with his solo home run on an extremely high fastball in the second. Cano tomahawked the ball into the left-field corner, and it was the highest pitch hit for a home run this season.

Pete Alonso‘s solo home run in the fourth and RBI single in the sixth provided the other two runs against Snell. Alonso also contributed an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. Guillermo Heredia‘s first home run as a Met was sandwiched between Alonso’s RBI chances.

It was a much-needed game from Alonso, who was threatening to fall into the interstate with his batting average. Alonso’s swing looked calmer and relaxed instead of his typical swing, which caused him to be off-balanced.

The bullpen trio of Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, and Edwin Diaz silenced the Rays bats for 2.2 innings after Lugo left the game. Wilson kept the tying run from scoring in the seventh, Shreve struck out the side in the eighth, and Diaz picked up his fifth save of the season. Diaz lowered his season ERA to a magnificent 1.50 on the season.

The Mets hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with Michael Wacha on the mound in the rubber match of the series. He opposes the fireballer Tyler Glasnow for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Peterson’s 10 Strikeouts Highlight 7-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

After getting three straight starters lasted no more than two innings, David Peterson had the tall task of stopping the slump the New York Mets starting rotation are in. Peterson went far and above the call of duty striking out a career-high 10 Atlanta Braves in the Mets 7-2 victory.

Peterson lived up to his top prospect status in this big start. He held the Braves to one run over the six innings he pitched. His slider was one of the major reasons his strikeouts were up, and it was impressive to see him shut down a lineup that scored 15 runs the previous night.

In the seventh and eighth, Miguel Castro, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson combined to keep the lead into the bottom of the eighth. It allowed them to add some insurance runs late in the game.

Patience is Key

Braves starter Ian Anderson held hitters to a .130 average but allowed ten walks over 21 innings. They paid close attention to their scouting report, drawing three straight walks to begin the bottom of the first. Robinson Cano got the Mets on the board with a two-run single to the opposite field to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

The only other run the Mets got off Anderson was an RBI single from Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning. Depsite Anderson struggles, Atlanta’s bullpen held the Mets silent until Chris Martin entered in the eighth. He allowed back to back home runs to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano to being the inning. Brandon Nimmo finished it off with a two-run single to extend the Mets lead to 7-2.

It was a win the Mets needed, as all of the games have become must-win games. The rubber game of the series comes down to Kyle Wright and Rick Porcello. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: 10 Run Fourth Inning, Gives deGrom Plenty in 18-1 Win

Worrying about the New York Mets providing Jacob deGrom run support seems to be a thing of the past. Their 18-run effort gave more than enough for their two-time Cy Young winner in the 18-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

deGrom did not have his best command but put up deGrom-like numbers. He threw six innings, holding the Blue Jays to one run on three hits with nine strikeouts. deGrom continues to make a strong case for a third consecutive Cy Young award as his ERA dropped to 1.67.

Erasmo Ramirez picked up the rare three-inning save in relief of deGrom. Ramirez held the Jays offense scoreless on two hits and only threw 30 pitches in the effort. His ERA is 1.13 through his first eight innings with the Mets.

Relentless Offense

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s RBI single in the first inning was the only bright spot for the Blue Jays. After that, the Mets got things going with four runs in the third inning, highlighted by a Michael Conforto three-run home run.

The offense went bezerk in the fourth inning with ten runs. J.D. Davis started things off with an RBI fielders choice, then Dominic Smith hit a grand slam to break the game open to 9-1. Wilson Ramos contributed a three-run double, making it 12-1. The final two runs of the inning came in on a Conforto single, and Davis double.

Every starter in the lineup recorded a hit other than Pete Alonso. McNeil, Ramos, and Robinson Cano led the way with their three hits. 8 of the Mets 19 hits were for extra bases, and those same numbers (8-for-19) are how they hit with runners in scoring position.

The Mets hope to put up another similar offensive output with Seth Lugo on the mound for the second game of the series. Toronto has not named their starter for game two, but game time is 6:37 p.m. ET from Buffalo.

 

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: The Mets Minor League Pitchers Fail in 9-5 Loss

The New York Mets sitting at five games under .500 and losing four in a row was not enough for Luis Rojas to manage Tuesday night’s game with any urgency. The Mets sent out unproven Ariel Jurado to start the game and followed up with Franklyn Kilome to hand over an easy 9-5 victory to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles slugged 15 hits and it seemed like all of them, outside of a Cedric Mullins bunt single, was hit with authority. Jurado (4 IP) and Kimome (3 IP), combined to allow all nine runs and three home runs. Renato Nunez was responsible for two of them and four RBIs while Anthony Santander had a homer with there RBIs.

It was another example of the lack of depth the Mets have thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen. Jurado is not a top-10 rotation option for any good team in baseball, but the Mets do not qualify as a good team. Despite settling after the first two innings, it did not hide the fact that he already allowed five runs.

Cano Stays Hot, McNeil Follows

Despite scoring five runs on the night, they only had two at-bats with runners in scoring position. They record a hit in those opportunities coming a Luis Guillorme RBI single. Robinson Cano added a home run for the third consecutive day and brought his average up to .380.

Jeff McNeil also found his stroke again with three hits, including his eighth double of the season.Β Andres Gimenez also recorded his first major league home run to tie the game at five but it was the end of the Mets scoring.

With Todd Frazier rejoining the Mets on Wednesday, either Gimenez or Guillorme will head to the Mets alternate site. Realistically, Frazier should be the odd man out but the Mets will not make that move. Robinson Chirinos and Miguel Castro will also join the team on Wednesday.

Michael Wacha finishes off the two-game series on Wednesday against a starter to be announced for the Orioles. The first pitch from Camden Yards is at 4:05 p.m. ET.

New York Mets Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (9/1-9/2)

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The New York Mets face the Baltimore Orioles in a short two-game series to begin the final month of the season. Both teams come into Tuesday’s matchup with 15 wins and sit in fourth place in their respective decisions. In 36 prior matchups, the Mets won 23 of the games.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (9/1) @ 7:35 p.m. ET: Ariel Jurado (Mets debut) vs. Asher Wojciechowski (1-3, 5.13 ERA)

Wednesday (9/2) @ 4:05 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

The Mets had their worst four-game streak, dropping four straight games that they all had the opportunity to win. All the losses were truly team efforts as every part of the roster and coaching staff contributed to the defeats. Luckily for the Mets, the Orioles are just as mediocre this season.

New Faces in New Places

Ariel Jurado makes his Mets debut in the first game of the series as he is one of three former Texas Rangers joining the roster. The addition of Robinson Chirinos and Todd Frazier are very questionable decisions, especially the weak-hitting Chrinios. The Mets have not announced the roster moves to add them to the roster but assumingly, J.D. Davis is heading to the injured list and Ali Sanchez is heading back to the alternate site.

Former Oriole, Miguel Castro is joining the Mets as well to help the beleaguered Mets bullpen. Castro is a favorite for people in the analytics department and serves as another middle reliever. They will need his high strikeout stuff with Dellin Betances on the injured list.

Robinson Cano and Dominic Smith have spearheaded the Mets offense over the last week. Despite wanting to avoid back-to-back lefties, it will be interesting to see if manager Luis Rojas opts to bunch them together in the middle of the order. If not, putting Pete Alonso between them should help him get out of his slump. He will get more strikes since pitchers do not want to face Smith with runners on base.

Matchup to Look Out For

Robinson Cano Career at Camden Yards: .356/.405/.567 (128-for-360), 31 Doubles, 15 Home Runs

Dominic Smith 2020 Stats in Away Games: .352/.446/.722 (19-for-54), 8 Doubles, 4 Home Runs

Pete Alonso 2020 Stats Batting Fourth: .200/.273/.500 (4-for-20), 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

New York Mets: This seasoned veteran is showing he has a lot left in the tank

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

For all the heat that the New York Mets have taken from the media and fans after their sluggish start of the season, they are only three games back from the first place in the National League East division. Also, they are three victories away from a .500 record, which should be the first short-term goal for the Luis Rojas-led squad.

Behind the resurgence in the Mets’ bats, there has been one familiar face. After a rather mediocre 2019, in which he slashed .256/.307/.428, it’s fair to say that not even his stint in the 10-day injured list could limit him in 2020.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Cano is slashing .393/.426/.679 with a sky-high .459 wOBA and a 197 wRC+. That means he’s been 97% better than his average peer. He is showing his best average exit velocity (91.7 miles per hour) since 2018.

The Mets’ second baseman has his power stroke back

In only 16 games, the New York Mets’ starting second baseman has four home runs and 13 RBI. He is determined to show fans that the team didn’t just give away prized prospect Jarred Kelenic.

Before the series of injuries in the rotation (the Mets lost Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and Michael Wacha so far, but the last two are expected back this season) the club was clearly a contender. Now, with the decimated pitching corps, the primary focus should be get healthier and make the playoffs. Cano is a big part of that, as long as he remains on the field.

Yes, the pitching side of things is struggling right now, especially if one considers that Rick Porcello and Steven Matz are battling out there in the mound in addition to all the injuries. But the offense, thanks to Cano, Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Brandon Nimmo and company, has mostly been there.

Last season, he suffered lots of lower body injuries, and he already has one in 2020. But make no mistake: this season, he seems to be a man on a mission. His sweet, left-handed swing is still there, and as long as that is the case, the Mets’ offense should be competitive.