Lorenzo Cain's Three-Home Run Game Might Indicate His Power Is Here to Stay
There's no doubt the Kansas City Royals have stumbled out of the gate.
When they fell to 15-16 after Monday's series-opening game against the Yankees in New York, it was the first time the Royals had been under .500 since July 22, 2014. They followed it up with another loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night and are now 15-17, seven games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
But there was one bright spot in the Royals' 10-7 loss on Tuesday: the return of the power Lorenzo Cain began to display last season.
Cain hit three dingers in all, the same number as the entire Atlanta Braves team not named Freddie Freeman.
His second was a no-doubter.
Not bad for a guy who came into the game with a career slugging percentage of .417 and an isolated power (ISO) of .130. He also became just the seventh Royal to homer three times in one game.
3 homer games for @Royals:
John Mayberry (x2)
George Brett (x2)
— High Heat Stats MLB (@HighHeatStats) May 11, 2016
Really, this entire piece is just an excuse to show video of the last Royals player to hit three homers at Yankee Stadium, Bo Jackson.
And a Deion Sanders sighting in center field for New York! Ah, the early '90s.
Oh, and George Brett also hit three in New York in the 1978 ALCS.
Cain Moving Forward
There were many who believed Cain would start to develop a little more power after his home run total jumped to 16 last season. He had hit just 17 in 1,369 plate appearances prior to 2015, and the power hadn't been there so far this season, with just 2 dingers heading into Tuesday's game.
But after a bit of a slow start (.200/.291/.286 through April 25), he's been turning it around at the plate, slashing .365/.365/.558 in 52 plate appearances since then.
His weighted runs created of 160 over this latest stretch puts him well above league average as a run producer, and he's scored 7 runs and knocked in 7 during that time as well. He's also seen his walk rate go up and his strikeout rate come down in that span.
His hard hit rate on the season is just 26.1%, down from last season (32.2%) and his career mark (27.3%), but in those past 52 plate appearances, it's up to 30.8%.
Cain is known for his defense and speed, but as he showed against the Yankees, he has some power, too. Chances are, we'll start to see a little bit more of it as the season progresses.