Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is A-Rod on the downside of his career? Don't believe the hype

Just a week after the latest "A-Rod is finally clutch" story, there's now the inevitable "A-Rod is a has-been" article, after he struck out against Francisco Rodriguez to end Sunday's game against the Mets. This latest piece, noting the dearth of homers by Rodriguez this year, is written by Bob Klapisch of FoxSports (hat tip to Was Watching.)

Klapisch notes:
Ever since his MVP campaign in 2007, A-Rod has experienced drop-offs in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
Is this really a shock? Let's review - in 2007, A-Rod had 54 homers, 156 RBI, a .314 BA, a .645 slugging percentage, and a 1.067 OPS. How good a year was that? It wasn't just the best year of Rodriguez's career, it was one of the best years of anybody in the modern era, and it was the greatest Yankee season since the days of Mantle and Maris. What would really be surprising is if Rodriguez didn't decline after a year like that!

Another so-called damning point Klapisch attempts to make is this one:

It’s not just the HRs that have suffered, however. Rodriguez’ slugging percentage is at a 13-year low (.497).

Well, of course his slugging percentage is lower, if his home run rate is lower (he only has six so far this year.) 

But the point Klapisch is trying to make doesn't hold up under closer scrutiny. With roughly a quarter of the season over, Rodriguez has 10 doubles and two triples, which actually puts him on pace to well surpass his career average of 33 doubles and two triples.

To further put those numbers in perspective, in A-Rod's 2005 MVP season, he had 29 doubles and one triple. And in his 2007 MVP season, he had 31 doubles, and zero triples.

Besides, he's hitting .291, with a .375 OBP. Those numbers are below his career averages, but not drastically (his career averages are .305 and .389).

And finally, it's been a strange year for homers so far. As Squawker Jon noted, the MLB leaders in home runs this season are Jose Bautista, Paul Konerko, and Ty Wigginton. A-Rod is currently ranked #62 in homers for the year, which is a surprise. But what's also surprising is that a lot of sluggers are also ranked low in homer numbers this season. Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols are tied for No. 35, with eight homers. And Prince Fielder (No. 47) only has seven. Are they also in career trouble as well?

If A-Rod is at, say, only eight homers or something by the All-Star Break, and his batting average drops, I'll start to worry a little, but right now I'm not too worried just yet.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

At this point, the Yankees have a few problems, but, at the moment, A-Rod is one of the lesser ones.

Once the injured players come back, and get back to contributing, then we can get back to discussing whether A-Rod's still got it.

I seriously doubt he's lost THAT much since he put up the kind of performance in October 2009 that no National League New Yorker has put up since... since... uh, maybe Duke Snider in 1955? And he only had one round of postseason play in which to do it, whereas A-Rod had three, and was the biggest force (if not the MVP) in the first two and did pretty well after the first 2 games of the third.

Subway Squawkers said...

Good points, Mike. Love this "unbiased" poll question with the article:

What's wrong with the Yankees?

* Too many key injuries
* A-Rod needs to step it up
* I'm not worried, it's a long season
* Who cares? I hate the Yankees

MONDOAS said...


We have found out that Alex Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, is the cause of all the problems happening in the world today and will be the cause of all the future problems. I asked President Obama why the markets went bad and healthcare was such a huge problem? His answer "A-Rod"! We next went to the producers of Lost and asked why were there so many unanswered questions with the finale? Their answer "A-Rod"! Why are people upset with Facebook's privacy issues? Amazing but true, people all blamed it on A-Rod! Immigration problems in Arizona? A-Rod! Why can't we find cures for diseases? A-Rod!!
Well, it very simple to see that A-Rod is a HUGE PROBLEM in this world!!

Uncle Mike said...

All that oil in the Gulf of Mexico? Fell off A-Rod's bare chest. The replacement for the Space Shuttle not yet built? NASA too busy tracking A-Rod's home runs. Your favorite TV show got canceled? Tough luck, Fox needs more airtime to show A-Rod's at-bats. Traffic on the Helix (the Lincoln Tunnel approachway)? A-Rod's fault. (Gee, and it used to be Jeter up on those billboards... and Tiger Woods.) People still listen to Lady Gaga? A-Rod's fault. Stock market down? A-Rod's fault. Your cabdriver doesn't speak English? A-Rod's fault. Your computer crashed while trying to read Subway Squawkers? A-Rod's fault. The Mets stink? It's A-Rod's fault!

The easiest game in town. And also the most gutless. I still don't like him, but even I had to accept that he'd gotten the job done last fall.

thomas said...

The point is not that Arod isn't up to his 2007 level, it's that he's gradually been coming down ever since 2007. 2008 was't as good as 2007, 2009 wasn't as good as 2008, and so far, 2010.

Regardless, don't believe the hype? Arod is about to turn 35. There is NO doubt he's on the downside of his career. Of course, Arod on the downside of his career can put up great numbers, and still be one of the best players in the game. But if you don't believe he's already seen his best years you're delusional.

Uncle Mike said...

Right, just like Jeter, Posada and Pettitte are on the downside of their careers. All bounced back tremendously last season.

If I can get over my A-Rod antipathy, so can everyone else get over theirs!

thomas said...

"Right, just like Jeter, Posada and Pettitte are on the downside of their careers. All bounced back tremendously last season."

You're comparing apples to oranges. Power hitters go straight downhill at about age 35. Do the research and you'll find the same thing.

Jeter? Looks old. Posada? Can't stay healthy. Do you actually read what you're using as supporting evidence? You need to open your eyes.

Uncle Mike said...

Jeter looks old? Compared to who, Justin Bieber? Posada "can't stay healthy"? It's one injury. It's not like he's Carlos Beltran or Jose Reyes. (Or Carl Pavano.)

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