• A-Rod No Longer Lord Of The Big Flies?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Klapisch -

    [Alex] Rodriguez has just six HRs in 165 at-bats this season, which works out to one every 27. Since 1998, Rodriguez’ rate has never been higher than 16.7.

    One other damning metric to consider: throughout his career, 23 percent of Rodriguez’ fly balls have cleared the wall. This year, that percentage has dropped to 9.7.

    So what gives? His detractors point to what they consider the obvious culprit. Rodriguez is (finally) off steroids, and thus reduced to the numbers of mere mortals. The slugger says, however, it’s all about timing.

    “I’m seeing the ball well, I’m getting good swings, but I’ve definitely missed some chances to drive the ball,” Rodriguez said the other day. “It’ll come.”

    It’s not just the HRs that have suffered, however. Rodriguez’ slugging percentage is at a 13-year low (.497). It’s still early, of course, and with three-quarters of the season remaining a surge isn’t just possible, it’s likely. But it’s also worth remembering Rodriguez’ stats have been in subtle decline for the last three seasons.

    Ever since his MVP campaign in 2007, A-Rod has experienced drop-offs in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. He’ll be 35 in another two months, and while Rodriguez is still capable of unique displays of power — just ask Jonathan Papelbon, who surrendered a ninth-inning HR to Rodriguez a week ago — one talent evaluator said, “I’m sure the Yankees are wondering if Alex is still in his prime or is now in his late prime. There’s a difference.”

    Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado, Albert Belle, Jason Giambi, and Jeff Bagwell were all Cooperstown, or near-Cooperstown, sluggers whose bodies eventually gave out on them…is A-Rod the next one?

    Yes, his hip condition was not an issue last season. And, reportedly, the doctors felt that Alex no longer needed any immediate follow-up repair to it. But, we’re one-quarter into this season now and clearly something is up with A-Rod’s long ball production.

    At this point, it’s only worth watching – and not worrying. But, if it continues into July, then it’s a real problem worth worrying about…

    Comments on A-Rod No Longer Lord Of The Big Flies?

    1. Corey Italiano
      May 25th, 2010 | 10:59 am

      So he couldn’t put up 50+ homers every year? He stinks.

      Really though, A-Rod hits homers in bunches. He’ll have his usual numbers at the end of the year.

    2. May 25th, 2010 | 11:30 am

      Then, again, old sluggers are rare:

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/6326

    3. throwstrikes
      May 25th, 2010 | 12:55 pm

      The lack of HRs doesn’t bother me as long as he’s driving in runs. In addition to the 6 HRs, he has 10 doubles and 2 triples so it’s not only singles that are making up the batting average.

      Pujols’ at 30 and with no confession of steroids has very similiar numbers to A-Rod so far this year (8 HR in 165 ABs- only 1 in May)so power outages happen.

    4. May 25th, 2010 | 2:40 pm

      “Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado, Albert Belle, Jason Giambi, and Jeff Bagwell were all Cooperstown, or near-Cooperstown, sluggers whose bodies eventually gave out on them…is A-Rod the next one?”

      I dunno. Maybe we, um, wait until A-Rod goes on the DL or something this year before we start writing his obituary, m’kay?

    5. May 25th, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      One other thing – as per Klapisch’s piece: “Ever since his MVP campaign in 2007, A-Rod has experienced drop-offs in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.”

      Oooooh, spooky. Only thing is, in 2007 he had the best year any Yankee had since the days of Mantle and Maris. 54 homers, 156 RBI, 1.067 OPS, .314 batting average. Is it really a surprise that he hasn’t had a year like that since?

    6. May 25th, 2010 | 3:00 pm

      Agreed, it’s sort of silly to use A-Rod’s contract drive year as the baseline. It would make more sense to use an average, or something like that.

    7. Raf
      May 26th, 2010 | 11:04 am

      Dear Mr. Klapisch,

      There is more to baseball than home runs.

      Sincerely,
      Raf

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