Since 2002, each year, about one-half of Alex Rodriguez’ At Bats in a season have come when he is facing a pitcher for the first time in a game. Call this snapshot “vs. P, 1st time in G” for short. Here are the “vs. P, 1st time in G” stats for A-Rod, since 2002 (with 2007 being to date):
Note that in 2004 and 2006, Alex batted like a “mortal” in these situations – whereas in 2002, 2003, 2005, and (so far in) 2007, Alex was “A-Rod!”
Perhaps, coming off bad seasons in 2004 and 2006, pitchers were willing to challenge A-Rod during 2005 and 2007 – and he made them pay for that? Related, coming off good seasons in 2003 and 2005, perhaps pitchers were afraid to pitch to Alex and that resulted in him chasing bad pitches in 2004 and 2006? These are just theories – wild guesses, actually.
It’s an interesting stat split, nonetheless. There’s something going on here, for sure. Small sample size stuff at work? Maybe in 2007 – but, in all the other seasons we’re looking at over 300 ABs for each stat line. There’s something real here. If anyone has ideas, please do share them here.