MLB Scouting Notes: Cano's Stance Alterations

Most players make small tweaks in their game from year to year. Some of these adjustments are noticeable and some may go completely unnoticed throughout a season. Robinson Cano has made some adjustments to his setup at the plate to open the 2012 season. The question, however, is will these changes be for the best?

Robinson Cano arrived in the big leagues with an open stance and an approach that had him gliding into the ball. Since Yankees' hitting coach, Kevin Long, has gotten his hands on him though, Cano has moved toward a far more closed stance and a simpler stride and load.

With both incarnations of Cano's stance and swing, he's been highly successful. However, it's safe to say Cano has been more successful in recent years with his more closed stance. That stance lends itself more to power hitting and patience. And, while he hasn't exactly abandoned his closed stance approach, this spring he has clearly shown an inclination back towards his open stance of a few years ago.

The only real reason the Yankee second baseman's approach was ever tweaked to begin with was likely his sub-par 2008 season. Some of the moving parts in his setup and stride were eliminated and what we were left with was a far more simplified, compact, and powerful Cano.

At the outset of this 2012 season, Cano absolutely looks a little different at the plate. He's back to striding into the pitch from an open stance, and he's not hitting off his back leg quite as much. It's far too soon to know just what kind of impact this will have on Cano's offensive output, but we can speculate.

What Cano has essentially done is go back to a more rhythmic style of hitting. In the past couple seasons, there was less of a stride involved and he relied more on reacting with his electric fast hands. In the early days of the 2012 season, Cano is starting everything a little earlier and hitting a little more off his front foot.

Cano's more closed approach obviously has worked well for him, but it's also clear that he may be more comfortable with his original, unadjusted setup at the plate. But, there are more moving parts in this swing, and more timing issues that could crop up and trip a hitter up. If he struggles, we may see Kevin Long get involved again and tighten things up. But, this is also an approach that Cano hit .342 with in 2006. In other words, this very fluid, natural approach, while not quite as compact and powerful may allow him to be just as successful, but in a different way.

This is something worth monitoring, however. As great as Cano is, he's gone through some significant adjustments to his setup and stride since arriving in the big leagues. We'll just need to wait and see how this latest approach works for him.

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