Early in the Yankees season the two biggest stories in the Bronx have been the April struggles of Mark Teixeira, again, and the hot start by the Yankees new number five hitter in the order, Robinson Cano. Last season both players had similar starts to their seasons but what do these starts mean for them this year?
April 2010: 20 GP 10 hits 2 HR 9 RBI 15 BB 18 K .133 AVG
April 2009: 19 GP 14 hits 3 HR 10 RBI 17 BBs 12 K .200 AVG
May 2009: 28 GP 38 hits 13 HR 34 RBI 10 BB 24 K .330 AVG
What this means: Last April was the worst opening month of Teixeira’s career, and then this season started. Teixeira’s ’09 April is a MVP month compared to this April as Teixeira’s average is 67 points lower this April. Yes his HR and RBI numbers will likely still be at the norm for Tex come September, but his average it seems like may suffer due to his start. If Mark has a May identical to the one he had last season his average will be at .252 (after May last season his average went up to .281). If Mark wants to get to at least where he was last year he will probably have to have three months like his 2009 September (when he hit .343). Some people don’t care to much about average but would you be OK with Teixeira putting up 2006 Jason Giambi numbers (37 HR 113 RBI .253 AVG)? In my opinion as long as Mark’s situational numbers are up at the end of the season the Yankees can survive a steep dip in his average.
April 2010: 20 GP 30 hits 6 HR 15 RBI 6 BB 10 K .390 AVG
April 2009: 22 GP 34 hits 5 HR 16 RBI 6 BBs 9 K .366 AVG
May 2009: 28 GP 31 hits 4 HR 15 RBI 4 BB 6 K .272 AVG
What this means: Last April with A-Rod out the Yankees struggled, but they stayed afloat due to some guys, like Cano, having hot starts to the season. Then coming into this year people saw the potential for even bigger things from Cano, because of the departure of Hideki Matsui he would get a chance to bat fifth and he hasn’t disappointed. Cano early on has done the impossible by topping his April 2009 with a monstrous start to the 2010 season. When he comes up no one watching expects him to get out, and his .390 average through 20 games leads the entire MLB. The only trips in Cano’s step last season were his May/June numbers where he hit a still very respectable .272 and .270 respectively. Cano in his career has always warmed up with the weather, hitting 37 points higher post all star game then pre-all star game and those pre numbers will be the key to his season. If Cano can keep his “bad” months to one instead of two he will likely have a season just like his 2006 where he hit .342. It is hard to imagine Cano slowing down looking very comfortable in his new spot in the order. My guess is Cano will compete with his 2006 numbers and likely even make a strong case for AL MVP.Follow me on Twitter SCrociata