It took second baseman Robinson Cano 27 games to deliver, but he finally hit his first home run in a Mariners jersey at Safeco Field. Cano went yard Apr. 17 at the Texas Rangers, and then last homered also against the Rangers on the road at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington on May 21. His home run pace so far in 2014 has not been impressive, but he has given the Mariners faithful some reason for optimism moving forward.
Cano hit his third home run of the 2014 MLB campaign in the ninth inning off Tanaka. Tanaka is no slouch and was working hard to throw a complete game shutout, so that can be taken away as a plus from Cano’s swat — strong competiton. Considering Cano has had marginally better success with power numbers on the road this year (two HRs/.454 SLG) versus at home (one HR/.410 SLG), it’s not a shock that he has had some issues adjusting to his new home ballpark.
In career splits, Cano has hit more home runs in the month of June (34) than he has in May (30) or July (31). Another promising split to look at is his success in various ballparks. While a member of the Yankees, Cano had launched only six career home runs at Rogers Centre in Toronto, despite registering 309 plate appearances. That’s a home run every 52 plate appearances in a park notorious for balls being vulnerable to leaving the yard.
Previous to being signed by the Mariners, Cano had registered 163 plate appearance as a visitor to Safeco Field in Seattle. He has four home runs under that split, which equates to one in every 41 plate appearances. He must have been much more familiar with Rogers Centre and playing the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East prior to signing with Seattle and playing at Safeco, yet his power numbers show more promise at his current home park, which is decidedly a pitcher’s ballpark.
Other notorious pitchers parks that Cano has decent home-run-to-plate appearance ratios at are Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay (HR/20 PA), Target Field in Minnesota (HR/24 PA) and O.co Coliseum in Oakland (HR/38 PA).
Cano is a talented hitter as his contract and current batting average would suggest. There are rarely any surefire predictions in MLB, but the numbers show that his power should start trending upward. It would be especially nice for the Mariners if that started happening often at Safeco. Perhaps the best solution to ensuring future success for him is for management to acquire a productive clean-up hitter before the trade deadline to better protect Cano in the three-hole.