Monday, November 12, 2012

Aramis and the Composition of Cano

Over the past few weeks, a bunch of stuff has been on my mind, and occasionally I'll try to document it somewhere, so that I won't forget it. Sometimes, it's a solitary tweet, like my shout out to Aramis Ramirez on Sunday morning.

Instead of testing the patience of our twitter followers, let's jot a few more ideas down here...

Aramis Ramirez hit 50 doubles in 2012, the most in baseball. In fact, he lead the league in percentage of plate apperances that result in an Extra-base hit.

Rk Age Tm XBH% ▾
1 Aramis Ramirez 34 MIL 12.7%
2 Miguel Cabrera 29 DET 12.1%
3 Josh Hamilton* 31 TEX 12.0%
4 Albert Pujols 32 LAA 11.9%
5 Ryan Braun 28 MIL 11.8%
6 Robinson Cano* 29 NYY 11.8%
7 Jay Bruce* 25 CIN 11.7%
8 Aaron Hill 30 ARI 11.4%
9 Garrett Jones* 31 PIT 11.3%
10 Jason Kubel* 30 ARI 11.2%
11 Allen Craig 27 STL 11.1%
12 Corey Hart 30 MIL 11.1%
13 Ian Desmond 26 WSN 11.0%
14 Adrian Beltre 33 TEX 10.9%
15 Paul Goldschmidt 24 ARI 10.9%
16 Alex Rios 31 CHW 10.9%
17 Alfonso Soriano 36 CHC 10.9%
18 Nelson Cruz 31 TEX 10.8%
19 Cody Ross 31 BOS 10.8%
20 Adam LaRoche* 32 WSN 10.7%
21 Josh Willingham 33 MIN 10.7%
22 Adam Jones 26 BAL 10.6%
23 Buster Posey 25 SFG 10.5%
24 Edwin Encarnacion 29 TOR 10.3%
25 Mike Trout 20 LAA 10.2%
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2012.

Aramis Ramirez has noticeably improved his D
Cubs fans silver lining: Alfonso Soriano was 17th in XBH%.

The Robinson Cano situation continues to fascinate. The cautionary tale is that Cano turned 30 last month and could see his skills precipitously decline in the way Chase Utley and billions of other human beings have before him. Taking a look at comparable players to Robinson Cano shows how vastly the opinions can vary.

The Chase Utley comparison portends to an injury-plagued future of diminishing slugging percentages. Optimistic comparisons to fellow Panamanian, left-handed, line-drive machine, Rod Carew are about as good as it gets. On his way to 3,053 career hits, Carew hit 1,458 before and 1,595 hits after his 30th birthday. His .328 career batting average, which ranks 34th all time, between Wade Boggs and Rogers Hornsby, remained constant pre/post the big 3-O, while he increased his on-base percentage. Carew's slash lines were Under 30: .328/.383/.430 and Age 30+: .328/.402/.429

Unfortunately, the similarities between Cano and Carew are more circumstantial and superficial than statistical. As we can see from Cano's career slash lines: .308/.351/.503, he has a higher slugging percentage. Unfortunately, for Cano fans, his OBP trails Carew's because his BB% has only recently begin to approach Carew's level.

Aside from their aesthetic similarities, their smooth swings, good faces, and nationalities, according to Baseball-Reference, Rod Carew has not ranked in the top 10 of any of Robinson Cano similarity scores.

According to B-R, here are CAno's Top 10 most similar players...

Similar Batters
Wright and Cano have
many similar traits.
Chase Utley (912)
David Wright (882)
Jose Vidro (872)
Carlos Guillen (864)
Rich Aurilia (856)
Hanley Ramirez (851)
Brandon Phillips (849)
Chick Hafey (849)*
Nomar Garciaparra (848)
Victor Martinez (848)

* - Signifies Hall of Famer

Similar Batters through 29
David Wright (882)
George Brett had a good
2nd half of his career
Carlos Baerga (874)
Joe Torre (872)
Travis Fryman (871)
Bobby Doerr (870)*
George Brett (867)*
Tony Lazzeri (865)*
Ryne Sandberg (850)*
Nomar Garciaparra (847)
Aramis Ramirez (845)

* - Signifies Hall of Famer

The most ominous comparison in Cano's groups is that of Carlos Baerga. More than a drop of power/production in his 30's, Baerga's skills completely went away after his Age 26 season.

Carlos Baerga was not a good Met
Let's put it this way, from the start of their careers through the Age-26 season, Robinson Cano accumulated 13.6 rWAR, compared with Carlos Baerga's 19.4 rWAR. From Age 27 through last year, Cano has gone on to accumulate another 21.2 rWAR, while Baerga's rest of his career was good for -2.2 rWAR. Yes, that's a negative number.

Cano has already surpased the age of Baerga's meltdown, which is a good thing. Some of the names on his list were good older players, while others were not.

Carlos Guillen improved his OPS+, from a respectable 106 in his 20's, to 116 after his 30th birthday.

Jose Vidro had a .304 lifetime batting average and 113 OPS+ on his 30th birthday, only to see those numbers fall to .284 and 96 afterwards.

Rich Aurilia's OPS was 108 in his 20's and 91 in his 30's.

Robinson Cano's agent should look to draw comparisons between his client and Hall of Famer, George Brett. While Brett's batting average fell 21 points, from .316 in his 20's to .295 in his 30's, his on-base percentage stayed constant, and his OPS+ only went down from 139 to 132.

After turning 30, Nomar Garciaparra's batting average and slugging percentage fell 32 and 109 points, respectively.

Chick Hafey could hit.
Another Hall of Famer, Chick Hafey, had impressive rate stats throughout his career, but after turning 30, he only played in 388 games after turning 30.

In a total doomsday scenario for Robinson Cano's next team, one-hundred million dollars divided by 400 games players would come out to $250K/game.

Personally, I'm leaning towards a productive handful of seasons in Robinson Cano's future. To bring this full circle, one of the more optimistic comparison's is the #10 most similar player at Age 29: Aramis Ramirez. While A-Ram is a classic power hitter who's skills could have fallen off drastically after 30, but he just turned in one of the best seasons of his career at 34.

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