• When Is A-Rod At His Best & Worst?

    Posted by on May 3rd, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Here are Alex Rodriguez’ career “clutch” stats, through last night, via B-R.com -

    Split G PA AB H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
    Ahead 1571 4055 3488 1083 242 791 457 715 .310 .396 .581 .977
    Margin> 4 R 907 1609 1411 442 99 302 158 256 .313 .387 .583 .970
    Within 1 R 2273 5382 4582 1377 316 940 659 976 .301 .395 .569 .964
    Tie Game 1948 3031 2576 763 176 518 384 567 .296 .394 .565 .958
    Within 4 R 2407 9129 7878 2357 534 1602 1020 1677 .299 .385 .562 .948
    Within 3 R 2393 8291 7139 2135 479 1432 951 1506 .299 .388 .560 .947
    Within 2 R 2366 7084 6071 1801 397 1205 841 1292 .297 .388 .552 .940
    Behind 1536 3652 3225 953 215 595 337 651 .296 .368 .549 .917
    Late & Close 1082 1452 1236 335 81 263 182 295 .271 .370 .526 .896
    2 outs RISP 1046 1315 1080 292 56 419 205 247 .270 .401 .468 .868

    As you can see, A-Rod has his best production (OPS) when his team is ahead in the game or when the game is somewhat out of hand (meaning there’s a difference in the score of five runs or more).  And, A-Rod has his “worst” production in “Late & Close” situations or when there are two outs with RISP. 

    Note that his career numbers in “Late & Close” situations or when there are two outs with RISP are very good.  It’s just that he’s so much better, production-wise, when his team is ahead in the game or when the game is somewhat out of hand.  And, that’s why some probably consider him to be someone who pads his stats with garbage time production.

    Comments on When Is A-Rod At His Best & Worst?

    1. MJ Recanati
      May 3rd, 2012 | 4:07 pm

      It would be interesting to note what baseline “clutch” splits are for major league players since, after all, it’s only valuable to know these numbers if you can compare Rodriguez* to his peers. Simply looking at these numbers in a vacuum doesn’t tell us all that much.

      Having said that, Rodriguez is a career .301/.386/.566/.951 hitter so it looks to me like all of these numbers fall quite comfortably into his career norms. Further, since you yourself concede that Rodriguez’s “career numbers in ”Late & Close” situations or when there are two outs with RISP are very good” then it seems pretty disingenuous to say that he is “who pads his stats with garbage time production”.

      *Note that you’ve cherry-picked Rodriguez as the test case and not Teixeira or Swisher, both of whom were mentioned by name in the comments of the “Yankees, Last 91 & 11 Seasons” thread which resulted in your posting this new post. I’m not accusing you of hating on Rodriguez in this instance because we’re arguing stats but it certainly does seem funny to me that you once again zero in on the singular object you hate most and ignore the rest of the conversation. It’s fine with me but, as I’ve been saying for years, it’s so much better when you own up to your biases. Makes you seem more credible and less agenda-driven to your readers.

    2. May 3rd, 2012 | 4:13 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      It would be interesting to note what baseline “clutch” splits are for major league players since, after all, it’s only valuable to know these numbers if you can compare Rodriguez* to his peers.

      I don’t think it’s fair to compare his OPS stats to his peers – since the total pool of MLB hitters have a fair number of players who flat out suck.

      More so, it would make sense to look at his delta, which is a 100 point swing in OPS between game out of hand and late and close, and then compare that delta to the larger pool of peers and see if they have a swing that big as well (between the two slices).

    3. May 3rd, 2012 | 4:16 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Rodriguez is a career .301/.386/.566/.951 hitter so it looks to me like all of these numbers fall quite comfortably into his career norms. Further, since you yourself concede that Rodriguez’s “career numbers in ”Late & Close” situations or when there are two outs with RISP are very good” then it seems pretty disingenuous to say that he is “who pads his stats with garbage time production”.

      Why? There’s good, very good, great, and off-the-charts great. And, A-Rod is very good near great most of the time. But, he’s off-the-charts great when the game is out of hand or when his team is already ahead. If that’s not garbage time and stat padding, what is?

    4. May 3rd, 2012 | 4:19 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Note that you’ve cherry-picked Rodriguez as the test case and not Teixeira or Swisher, both of whom were mentioned by name in the comments of the “Yankees, Last 91 & 11 Seasons” thread which resulted in your posting this new post. I’m not accusing you of hating on Rodriguez in this instance because we’re arguing stats but it certainly does seem funny to me that you once again zero in on the singular object you hate most and ignore the rest of the conversation. It’s fine with me but, as I’ve been saying for years, it’s so much better when you own up to your biases. Makes you seem more credible and less agenda-driven to your readers.

      A-Rod is the bigger name. A-Rod has the longer career. A-Rod makes the most money. A-Rod has the Hall of Fame stats. Tex and Swisher are not there yet. When they are HOF players, with long careers, making $30 million a year, then I’ll worry about if they pad their stats or not.

      It’s that, plus, it takes time to make these posts. Maybe I will so Swish and Tex another time.

    5. Garcia
      May 3rd, 2012 | 4:25 pm

      These numbers aren’t as bad as I thought they would be.

    6. Raf
      May 3rd, 2012 | 6:47 pm

      Interesting that with 2 outs RISP Rodriguez posted his highest OBP (.401) but lowest SLG (.468) & BA (.270)

    7. Raf
      May 3rd, 2012 | 7:46 pm

      Mo’s hurt!

    8. KPOcala
      May 3rd, 2012 | 9:43 pm

      The pitcher’s do tend to ‘bear down’ in these situations, no? Let’s not forget that pitcher on the mound isn’t a machine. Of course it’s equally valid to say that the lesser pitchers tend to melt, which still makes A-Rod a great, great player. Someone that I’ve never warmed up to, but I sure cannot understand his naysayers. Even w/o PEDS he’d still be the best SS/3B player ever. For those that remember the 80′s into the early nineties well, recall how years and years would go by that would have black holes manning the left side of the infield.

    9. KPOcala
      May 3rd, 2012 | 9:44 pm

      @ Raf: Raf, has this week sucked or what?

    10. Scout
      May 4th, 2012 | 5:06 am

      @ KPOcala:
      Along these lines, note that in blow-outs, A-Rod is more likely to face the last guy in the other team’s bullpen. He will usually be a pitcher who is clinging to a roster spot or who has pitched so poorly of late that he’s been demoted to mop-up duties. Conversely, in the late innings of close games, the other team will have its BEST reliever on the mound. The challenge is much greater.

    11. May 4th, 2012 | 6:43 am

      @ Scout: Good point. But, it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s padding his stats against the soft white underbelly of the league in garbage time situations.

    12. MJ Recanati
      May 4th, 2012 | 8:56 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Good point. But, it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s padding his stats against the soft white underbelly of the league in garbage time situations.

      But since EVERY good hitter would have that same advantage against “the soft white underbelly of the league in garbage time” then that means everyone is padding their stats.

      To pad one’s stats is to imply that they’re doing it for selfish purposes. You can’t control when you get a meatball down the middle and send it into the seats.

      Does the fact that Derek Jeter’s “Margin >4R” stats decline mean that, as a selfless soul, he refuses to take advantage of hittable pitches, lest he be accused of merely stat-padding? You see the inherently illogical conclusion you’re coming to here?

    13. KPOcala
      May 5th, 2012 | 1:12 am

      @ MJ Recanati: MJ, spot on. Steve, usually a sharp tool in the shed has a dull ax to grind with Alex & Cashman (his pitching acumen, putting together a top team & minor league pipeline don’t count). And this coming from a person who really has a problem with PEDS, and prima donnas. But hell, I never heard of Mantle, Schmidt,Reggie, Griffey Jr., etc get reamed for “padding”. Your facing MLB pitchers, and your doing something that’s REALLY hard to do in the first place. Don’t get it…

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