Why is Boston over-shifting on Cano?
I was surprised to see Boston with the massive overshift on Robinson Cano Opening Day. Robby has always been a hitter who used the entire field – a true foul line to foul line hitter. Yet Boston was playing their 3B in shallow RF in the hole between the 1B and 2B and their SS also on the right side of 2B. I had to check Cano’s spray chart (above) to see what it is that Boston scouts are seeing.
While the chart does show someone who uses the whole field, it’s clear Cano hits a lot of groundballs to the right side. His pull tendencies aren’t nearly as pronounced as a Mark Teixeira or Jason Giambi – as Cano clearly hits the ball on the ground to the left side also. Yet John Farrell becomes the first manager to use the shift versus Cano and last night, it was effective as it robbed Cano of at least 1 and maybe 2 base hits. It also got Cano thinking as he squared to bunt in his 1st AB. So will other teams now start to copy what Farrell has started?
We have seen the shift take a huge chunk out of Teixeira’s Batting Average as it robs him of hits and also seems to get into his head a bit. Will the shift have a similar effect on Cano if other team’s begin to use it against him? Perhaps that is part of Boston’s strategy as maybe it’s enough to just have Cano thinking about it. Is Cano too diverse of a hitter to let the shift beat him as he serves hits through the vacant left side? This will definitely be something to keep an eye on all season long.