• Projecting Alex Rodriguez ’07

    Posted by on January 20th, 2007 · Comments (32)

    Looking at the 2007 batter projections in The Bill James Handbook 2007 and Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster 2007 today, I noticed that they agree on a projection (this season) for Alex Rodriguez. See their projections, along with A-Rod’s Yankees stats to date, below:

    ARodProject07.jpg

    Basically, the projections suggest that Alex’ 2007 season with the bat will look a lot like his 2006 offensive results – with a few more homers. And, that’s not a terrible thing – because those are Hall-of-Fame season type numbers that Rodriguez posted in 2006 – when you just look at the numbers alone. Still, based on the reaction that these numbers got A-Rod last season, in the media and with the fans, how will people react to a repeat of 2006 in 2007 for Rodriguez?

    If I had to guess now, I would offer that it’s not going to be a good reaction – albeit fair or not.

    The sad part of this is, that, if the Yankees traded A-Rod for some guy named “Joe Smith,” and Smith played 3B for the Yankees this season and he batted .290/.390/.540 for New York with 40 HR and 120 RBI, the media and fans would make him into a hero.

    I once heard a story that Mickey Rivers started calling himself “Miguel Rivera” when creditors were after him. Maybe Alex should consider changing his name to “Al Roberts” this season and give himself a make-over while he’s at it – and then let his numbers stand without the A-Rod name on them? It certainly would make for an interesting sociological experiment.

    Comments on Projecting Alex Rodriguez ’07

    1. Nick from Washington Heights
      January 20th, 2007 | 11:23 am

      Steve, did they project strike outs? I assume he’d still be booed with those numbers if he continued to strike out a ton. The projected slugging percentages and homers also suggest he’s going to have few doubles and essentially will be a singles and homer hitter…Yeah, he’ll get booed.

    2. Raf
      January 20th, 2007 | 11:26 am

      Using the words “no comment” will get him far this upcoming season.

    3. Raf
      January 20th, 2007 | 11:32 am

      He’s been pretty consistent here with the strikouts (131, 139, 139), so I’d say ‘yes’

    4. baileywalk
      January 20th, 2007 | 12:57 pm

      Give me a break. No one was disappointed in his final stat line. But stats don’t tell the story of a season. People were disappointed about him striking out with runners in scoring position all the time or getting beat by average fastballs. The reaction to a player is mostly situational. A-Rod was horrendous situationally last year — he seemed to constantly fail in the clutch. That is the ONLY reason people boo him.

      No one is demanding 50 home runs from him. I think Yankee fans would take a decrease in his overall numbers if it meant more clutch hitting.

      I also think A-Rod’s final numbers in ’06 are misleading. He so greatly corrected his numbers in the last month of the season — when the Yanks had already wrapped up the division — that you don’t truly get a sense of how much he struggled.

      And anyone who hits .290/.390/.540 with 40/120 is going to be a hero… if he doesn’t make 20 million a year, doesn’t constantly stick his foot in his mouth, doesn’t seem like a cyborg at times, isn’t (seemingly) disliked by the team’s captain, and doesn’t have a knack for disappointment at the plate when you need him the most.

    5. Raf
      January 20th, 2007 | 1:12 pm

      But stats don’t tell the story of a season.
      =======
      Of course they do; they’re a record of what happened during the games.

    6. mehmattski
      January 20th, 2007 | 1:23 pm

      People were disappointed about him striking out with runners in scoring position all the time

      ======

      As evidenced by baileywalk, the true problem is one of fan perception:

      None On: 278 AB 69 K .288/.377/.511
      Runners On: 294 AB 70 K .293/.404/.534
      RISP: 189 AB 50 K .302/.431/.508

      So you’re saying that A-Rod is booed in part because he struck out less than 2% more when there were runners in scoring position?

      As Raf says, stats ARE the story. There is no other way of capturing how an individual has performed. But stats don’t count how many times fans tally all of A-Rod’s failures without remembering his successes. But exactly how many deficit-erasing, walk-off home runs did the rest of the team hit in 2006?

      The only thing I can think of to explain the ridiculous expectations thrust upon Alex Rodriguez is this: people are stupid. They only see what they want to see, and disregard the rest (like statistical evidence in the contrary, for example…)

    7. brockdc
      January 20th, 2007 | 1:53 pm

      Joe Smith was a bust, too.

      Kidding!

    8. January 20th, 2007 | 1:57 pm

      The only thing I can think of to explain the ridiculous expectations thrust upon Alex Rodriguez is this: people are stupid. They only see what they want to see, and disregard the rest (like statistical evidence in the contrary, for example…)

      ********************

      I wouldn’t say that people are stupid because, in a way, we all subconsciously choose what we want to remember and what we choose not to remember so much…

      For example…

      If I were to ask someone who said something like “People were disappointed about him striking out with runners in scoring position all the time”, that person would probably remember distinctly the Yankees/Mets game when A-Rod hit into a double play in the 8th inning to keep it a tied game… or… gosh, I don’t remember distinctly any specific games where A-Rod struck out…

      But I do remember the walks, I do remember the singles, I do remember the HR he hit at Fenway in 2005 against Curt Schilling (albeit it was his first game back) to break a 2-2 tie and win the game 4-2… I do remember the Atlanta Braves game-winning HR this year… I do remember A-Rod’s shot off of Schilling May of 2006… etc etc.

      I don’t know whether it’s our personalities or how we are built to view certain players that causes us to remember certain things and forget the others… maybe it’s the fact that I like looking on the positive, that I’ve been sick of all the A-Rod “hate”, that I have my personal favorites on the team, that I respect and love every player who wears the pinstripes (well… Randy Johnson’s time was hard for me, but I saw some positives still)…

      To me, there’s no doubt that, subconsciously, we choose to remember certain things and forget others… that may lead to people saying that:

      * A-Rod “always chokes under pressure”
      * Jeter is truly deserving of all 3 of his Gold Gloves
      * Melky is untouchable and shouldn’t be traded (for a pretty good pitcher) because he’s young and will project to be the next Yankee outfield great according to subjective projections (not saying I wanted the Melky-for-Gonzalez trade, I didn’t)
      * Bernie is still capable of playing the outfield
      * Giambi should stay at 1st base just b/c he hits better at 1st base

      It goes on and on… sportswriters, fans, and everyone in between, it’s the same way with other stories and aspects of life… for example, even though I found out about 9-11 with about 25 other people in my freshman religion class, the way I remember that moment and what happened in the time I was in that class will be different…

      Do I make any sense?

    9. mehmattski
      January 20th, 2007 | 2:15 pm

      Yeah, Brent, it does make sense in that everyone remembers things differently? But why do fans remember so many negative things about one player on their own team? Everything else you listed is slanted in the positive direction from reality: Jeter’s defense, Melky’s potential, etc. Only A-Rod is perceived in a more negative light than is reality. I can’t think of another Yankee in recent memory whose stats are so out of psynch with the common fan’s reaction.

      I also think that a lot of the boo-rod sentiment has been created by the media, particularly ESPN. There were a few boo-birds back in June but nothing like there were in August and October. The turning point that I remember was the White Sox series right after the All-Star break. There were a smattering of boos when A-Rod struck out with some runners on, and ESPN ran with it. They then started playing up how fans in Toronto were booing A-Rod when he had his defensive gaffs… and of course he’s going to get booed on the road. The difference is that many fans started to think that booing one of our own is an acceptable and correct thing to do. When the Yankees returned from the road trip, most Yankee fans were now ready to boo every minor failure of our most productive hitter.

      That’s my perception- that Yankees fans were influenced into a group mentality, and many will be unable to reverse their position under any circumstance… even a game winning HR in game 7 of the World Series will be met with more “It’s about time!” than with crowning him a hero. And for a player who can potentially crack 500 career home runs this season, that is a crying shame. Personally, I am grateful that as a Yankees fan I have the chance to cheer such a once in a lifetime player. All the boo-birds are really missing out.

    10. January 20th, 2007 | 2:31 pm

      Personally, I am grateful that as a Yankees fan I have the chance to cheer such a once in a lifetime player. All the boo-birds are really missing out.

      **********************

      Agreed totally… and I do agree with you on how big a part the media plays on painting a picture that most Yankee fans can take and absorb into their thoughts on A-Rod, Jeter, and the like…

      Heck, the media does play a huge part in painting what most remember and what most don’t… I saw continuous clips of A-Rod’s strikeouts and the like played a HECK of a lot more than A-Rod’s HR against the Braves or the Schilling HRs that I mentioned before… and I’m sure most Yankee fans saw more of A-Rod’s falls than A-Rod’s HRs…

      In the same way, I have seen the Flip and the Dive more times than any error Jeter has made or any ball that he misses due to his range… and heck, the media glorifies the 360-spin throw that he has made famous…

      Then again, the same things that make Jeter so glorified are the same things that make athletes (or specifically, the players who voted in the poll) vote Jeter as the #1 most overrated player…

      So in a way, it goes both ways, but speaking about most Yankee fans, it seems that the more A-Rod falls, the higher Jeter rises in the eyes of the Yankee fans still trying to grab something from the late 90s…

    11. baileywalk
      January 20th, 2007 | 2:37 pm

      Of course they do; they’re a record of what happened during the games.
      ———

      Wow, really? I had no idea…

      They don’t tell the “story” of the season. If the final stat line told the whole story, then we would never mention first halves and second halves, and we wouldn’t constantly break down numbers by the month. (If someone has a great first month and a great last month, and that makes his numbers respectable, then you think he’s had a good year? You don’t think you need to look INTO the numbers?)

      A-Rod has his best month by far in September. THAT’S not my perception — it’s fact. Are you going to tell me A-Rod wasn’t struggling in June and August? Are you telling me that everyone is crazy and we didn’t see A-Rod throwing the ball all over the field and getting so far inside his own head he was swinging through high sliders?

      I guess you missed the part where Joe Torre stuck him in the eight hole in the lineup during the playoffs. I guess it was Torre “perception” that A-Rod wasn’t playing well.

      This is what I hate about any A-Rod discussion and why I’ve grown a distaste for the guy — it always becomes “woe for A-Rod.” Oh, woe for poor A-Rod. The Yankees fans don’t like him and they booed him when he struck out with runners on. Just get over it. Yankee fans don’t have unrealistic expectations for this guy. They want him to play well, and they want him to be elite — and things weren’t like this in 2005, when A-Rod WAS elite. If A-Rod hadn’t bombed in the post-season that year all the negativity of ’06 wouldn’t have existed.

      And as for the assumption that “stupid” fans simply “think” they remember A-Rod striking out when it’s really just their assumed asinine ways, here’s something I remember: A-Rod striking out 17 times in 31 at-bats in August. That’s what they remember about A-Rod from this season: a long, difficult-to-watch struggle where he was horrible.

      And I guess when A-Rod strikes out with the bases loaded in the first game on the playoffs in ’06, that’s just another bit of imagination. No one actually remembers that — the way you remember his highlights — nor do they remember his two other strikeouts from that game.

      Maybe if everyone stopped pitying and coddling poor A-Rod he could return to what he did in 2005 and end this incessant and disgusting babying.

    12. Raf
      January 20th, 2007 | 3:25 pm

      Wow, really? I had no idea…
      ========
      You’d be suprised, a lot of people don’t have an idea…

      Sarcasm aside, it seems people go out of their way to discredit ARod. Why? I have no idea.

      He had a bad month in June (.213/.346/.348), and August (.277/.364/.482; eh? an .846 OPS is a bad month?). So what? Players have slumps. Beauty of the game is that you have your highs and lows, and at the end of the season the numbers represent the level at which you perform. Take the good months with the bad, that’s the way it works. You break down the numbers to look for trends, but at the end of the day, its the entire stat line that means anything.

      It’s a fact that his 2006 was better than 2004, but not as good as 2005. And people are saying all of a sudden that he can’t handle NY? Puh-leeze!

      Yeah, I saw that Torre batted him 8th in a playoff game. That brilliant move ranks right up there with batting Enrique Wilson leadoff in gm 3 of the ’03 ALCS. Anyway, last I checked, he wasn’t the only one that struggled; Sheffield, Giambi, & Cano comes to mind. And even if it were just Rodriguez, it wouldn’t be the first time a player or a team struggled in the playoffs.

      He doesn’t get along with his teammates? Oh noes! Who cares? It’s not the first time players haven’t gotten along.

      Personally, I don’t give a damn whether fans boo or cheer the man. That’s their business.

    13. Nick from Washington Heights
      January 20th, 2007 | 3:26 pm

      “Maybe if everyone stopped pitying and coddling poor A-Rod he could return to what he did in 2005 and end this incessant and disgusting babying.”

      because the booing worked? Because the Sports Illustrated piece, supported by Torre, showed A-Rod being coddled and pitied? And the SI article helped A-Rod?

      I think the coddling view is a reaction to the over-the-top booing and mean-spirited tabloid headlines. I understand the high expectations but A-Rod’s treated unlike any Yankee. Did Gary Sheffield get booed repeatedly for his awful post-seasons with the Bombers? Why is Giambi popular with Yanks fans and A-Rod not? On the surface, this seems inconsistent and unfair.

    14. January 20th, 2007 | 3:44 pm

      ~~~Steve, did they project strike outs?~~~

      IIRC, his Ks and BB totals projected out to be the same, ballpark, as the last 3 seasons.

      FYI, I will have an interview posted on Sunday night, around 10 pm ET, that will be a must-read for anyone with an opinion on A-Rod and his Yankees days.

      That’s all I will say on it now – to keep the tease good.

    15. Nick from Washington Heights
      January 20th, 2007 | 3:57 pm

      Please tell me it’s an interview with Pascual Perez! If he tells me to boo A-Rod, I’ll do it.

    16. Spikebert
      January 20th, 2007 | 4:19 pm

      fwiw, Im not a hater, but not very impressed or excited about him, as a Yankee fan living in Seattle, I only got to watch maybe 20 games. I saw other players strike out but it still looked like their heads were in the game, A-Rod looked like his head was in the clouds, and his attention on himself and how he was doing rather than on plays.
      At the plate, I remember Sheffield striking out while taking good swings and an ‘eye of the tiger’ look, while A-rod swung weak and had the eye of the doe look in his eyes.

    17. Jersey
      January 20th, 2007 | 4:43 pm

      That doe-eyed infielder has been the best third baseman in the AL for the past three years. He’s really good at baseball. What’s it matter how he looks?

    18. singledd
      January 20th, 2007 | 4:51 pm

      ARod is expected to hit .300, lots of HRs and win ballgames. This is, after all, why we got him. So when he DOES hit a HR we go ‘yah ARod… alright!’, but soon FORGET about it because… HE’s SUPPOSED TO HIT HRs. He only did his job. When he strinkes out, we DO remember it because, well…, HE’s SUPPOSED TO HIT HRs.

      Our expectations are too high. Guys in their 30′s are theoretically past their prime. Many great numbers were posted in a great hitters park (Texas). But HE’s SUPPOSED TO HIT HRs… whether he’s older or in Yankee Stadium. We EXPECT it. And it’s more natural to remember FAILED expectations.

      And negative press? The guy, on an off day, takes his wife to the park for a pic-nic and takes off his shirt to catch some rays. What happens? More press then Bush gets for cutting the VA Hospital budget during wartime.

      He’s an easy target for the press. Same with Bonds. After all, how many other players who FAILED their test, got it ‘leaked’ to the press? The stupidest, laziest, least creative ‘professional journalists’ can always poke at ARod and Bonds.

    19. brockdc
      January 20th, 2007 | 4:58 pm

      It’s no big mystery as to the reasons why some people despise A-rod, most of which have been documented on this and other vaunted blogs. To recap:

      A. His monstrous contract
      B. His Tiger Beat visage
      C. His enormous strikeout rate
      D. Stretches where he APPEARS completely overmatched, both offensively and defensively
      E. The fact that he is not perceived as a “True Yankee”
      F. Reports of his aloofness in the team clubhouse
      G. ESPN
      H. His cold spells at the plate, which seemingly (and alarmingly) affect his defense, which
      I. Give the media, bloggers, and fans the perception that he is a mentally weak individual, which…
      J. Is largely looked upon with contempt in our “Just Do It/Get Over It” culture
      K. A surprising lack of savvy when dealing with the press.

      I agree that many of these characterizations are unfair, but, at this point, it is what it is. The best thing A-Rod can do is to continue to play his ass off and take Crash Davis’ crash course in baseball cliches. Failing that, he will continue on as the ESPN/N.Y. fishwrap/blogger/Yankee Stadium wipping boy. That is, until we have Chone Figgins playing third and slugging .395.

    20. January 20th, 2007 | 5:34 pm

      great, another ‘Arod is great, Arod is not great’ debate.

      as i’ve said many times before on WW, I have never once booed Arod. And I dont agree with all the fans that do, but i do understand the dislike. Arod SHOULD have the highest expectations in baseball, he’s the highest paid player in the history of the game! Just as the whole Yankee team should have the highest expectations, bc they have the highest payroll. i dont think it’s unfair.

      and you certainly CANNOT tell the whole story from stats. a pitcher’s W-L is a stat. does that tell really how good he was? for example, Arod hit .290 over the 2006 season. But the most important games are against division rivals, check out his BA vs. Bos, Tor, Bal, TB: .246, .258, .250, .233. Wow. That’s Cairo-esque. to be fair, he hit over .310 against 9 teams, but under .260 against the other 9 teams he faced. very inconsistent.

      You want ‘Close and Late’? .237/.326/.368. Again Cairo-esque.

      You want runners on 3rd, less than 2 outs? He had 29 rbi in 45 ab. That was among the worst among all Yankee starters.

      And for good measure, our cleanup hitter (who’s the best paid player in baseball) k’ed on 3 pitches with the bases full in possibly the crucial ab of the Det series. I think the expectations (and disappointment) are mostly justified.

    21. singledd
      January 20th, 2007 | 6:13 pm

      ” Arod SHOULD have the highest expectations in baseball, he’s the highest paid player in the history of the game!”

      No no no no no no no no no!

      Tom Hicks should get the highest expectations in Baseball. He’s the schmuck who offered ARod $25m/yr.

      ARod NEVER said what he was worth!
      ARod NEVER asked for $20+ mil/yr.

      Yes… when offered $250 million he said “Yes”. Shame on him. Honorable guys like you and I would NEVER have said yes.

      Soriano will make $20+/mil when he’s 38. Think he’ll be worth it? Will he be Booed everyday?
      Ted Lilly is a .500 pitcher. Some schmuck is paying him $10mil. Should we Boo him when indeed, he turned out .500 seasons?
      Gary Mathews? Zito? Juan Freakin’ Pierre? How many overpaid players should be Booed?
      Jetes makes $20mil this year. What should be his ‘Booing threshold’?

      Boo owners who overpay.
      Boo owners who raise ticket prices even when profits are through the roof.

      Forget the money and the expectations. Judge ARod for his performance as a baseball player. ARod is a human being and professional baseball player. Thats all.

    22. January 20th, 2007 | 7:22 pm

      Reading the comments here today, well, all I can say is that you’re going to love that interview to be posted here tomorrow night at ten.

      The interview subject is very interested in hearing feedback on what’s shared – so, don’t get shy tomorrow night and Monday AM!

    23. JohnnyC
      January 20th, 2007 | 8:46 pm

      1) Scott Boras ASKED all teams, including the Mets who bowed out because of this, for a $250 million contract over 10 years. Hicks was the owner who acceded to his wishes albeit not acceding to Boras’ other stipulation…a $15 million signing bonus ON TOP of the $250 million. So, in point of fact, ARod, through his chosen representative, valued himself at that astronomical rate. Personally, I could care less how much a player makes. More power to them.

      2)On thresholds for booing: I don’t see what Derek Jeter has in common with a putatively 38 year-old Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Gary Matthews, and Juan Pierre. Talk about irrational dislike for a Yankees player.

    24. baileywalk
      January 20th, 2007 | 9:46 pm

      As Travis mentioned, I’ve never booed A-Rod myself (and I’ve been at games where the fans savaged him). In fact, I HATE the booing. I think it’s so counterproductive. Booing is never going to help a guy play better.

      While I think a defense of A-Rod can be justified, sometimes it veers into a kind of “he shits ice cream” argument. I simply cannot except that A-Rod didn’t struggle last year. I saw it with my own eyes. There were times when A-Rod seemed so betrayed by his own body.

      I think what has caused me to dislike A-Rod a bit is that he’s so frustrating — I’ve never seen a ballplayer who baffled me more. Watching his long swing drove me insane. Watching his inability to hit an inside high fastball was infuriating.

      A-Rod has to live up to his contract and that “best player in baseball” tag. He did one year, but it was wiped out by poor post-season play. Now people think of him and Peyton Manning in the same sentence. They’ll always say “he’s great in the regular season but a choker in the post-season” until he does something dramatic or wins something.

      Unlike some, I want A-Rod to succeed. I want everyone on the Yankees to succeed.

      It just drives me a little crazy that we make so many excuses for the guy.

      If ever there was a guy who should strap on an ipod before taking his at-bats and act like they’re just batting practice, it’s A-Rod. I hope he just finds whatever comfort level he had in 2005 — and the fans get off his back — and the team gels in ’07.

    25. singledd
      January 20th, 2007 | 9:56 pm

      1) Boras asked for 15$m/yr for DiceK. He Got 8. Nobody bent Hick’s arm. I remember at the time, the pundits though ARod might get as much as 18$m/yr and a few thought it might even reach 20$m/yr (insane as that was). Nobody thought or thinks he was worth $250, but Boras baited the hook, and son-of-a-bitch, Hicks bit. Boo Boras and Hicks.

      2) I have been an ardent Yankees fan since 1965. Saw Jetes come up, as well as Bernie, Mattingly, Guidry, Munson, Murcer and White. My point was: Do we Boo ALL overpaid players… or just ARod? If Derek does NOT put up 20$m worth of numbers, will YOU boo him? Also… I suggest you check out ARods RISP figures for 2004-2006 and for his career. Possibly you are one of those that thinks a run scored in the 9th is more valuable that a run scored in the 1st?

      ARod DOES have some problems under pressure. His numbers don’t really show it, but our eyes do. I admit that. But he is still a very, very valuable player.

    26. SteveB
      January 20th, 2007 | 10:05 pm

      Baileywalk, A-Rod was AL player of the month is May, which was the same month that Matsui and Sheff went down. But yeah, he basically stunk up the joint until the division was wrapped up.

      I wish people who “hate” A-rod would just admit they don’t like him because they don’t want to like him and then shut up about stuff they don’t understand.

    27. January 20th, 2007 | 11:17 pm

      (Chuckling to myself) Oh, tomorrow night is going to be so cool.

    28. baileywalk
      January 21st, 2007 | 11:03 am

      Baileywalk, A-Rod was AL player of the month is May, which was the same month that Matsui and Sheff went down. But yeah, he basically stunk up the joint until the division was wrapped up.

      I wish people who “hate” A-rod would just admit they don’t like him because they don’t want to like him and then shut up about stuff they don’t understand.
      ————

      This is what I’m talking about. You can’t have a rational conversation with an A-Rod supporter. Question him and they want to kill you. Question him and you “hate” him and you “don’t know what you’re talking about.”

      If you think A-Rod carried this team in ’06 — if you truly think he was an important piece to winning the division — you are blind.

      A-Rod admitted to his struggles. Maybe his fans will someday.

    29. Raf
      January 21st, 2007 | 12:08 pm

      Please tell me it’s an interview with Pascual Perez! If he tells me to boo A-Rod, I’ll do it.
      ========
      LOL

      There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while… Wonder what he’s up to?

    30. Raf
      January 21st, 2007 | 2:50 pm
    31. Raf
      January 21st, 2007 | 7:44 pm

      A-Rod admitted to his struggles.
      =============
      He also speculated that “When people write [bad things] about me, I don’t know if it’s [because] I’m good-looking, I’m biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team.”

    32. January 22nd, 2007 | 5:04 pm

      “Tom Hicks should get the highest expectations in Baseball.”

      What does this even mean? That the Ranger should have the highest expectations? As a team, they don’t have the highest payroll, the Yanks do.

      When did i say i wouldn’t accept $250 mil? Of course i would. but unfortunately i was never offered that deal. but dont you think there’s a reason he was offered the highest contract ever?

      steveB, i dont ‘hate’ Arod. he’s certainly not my favorite Yankee, but i’ve never hated ANY Yankee. and i support Arod as a member of the team every ab he has.

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