Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is Alex Rodriguez Finished?

If someone were to just look at Alex's triple-slash numbers, it would be clear that he's simply not good this season. And at 40 years old, it would be easy to say time has simply caught up with him. Through the Yankees' first nine games of the 2015 season, Alex was hitting .286/.394/.571. That slash line is a little better than the .118/.231/.294 start he's had to the 2016 season.

"Am I Alex Rodriguez?"

So how about Rodriguez's ability to drive in runs? Well, of the seven runs Rodriguez batted in in the first nine games of 2015, five of them were driven in without the aid of the home run. This time around, just one of the four RBI he's driven in this year came from something other than a homer.

Need more reason to worry? Okay, how about his contact percentage? In 2015 Alex made contact with 70.3% of the pitches he swung at. Unfortunately, this season that number is down to 66.2%. Sure, it's only 4.1 percentage points, so why worry? Well, maybe because his contact rate has actually fallen in each of his last five seasons (not counting 2014, for obvious reasons).

Sadly, the bad news doesn't end there. Taking the entire 2015 season into account again, Rodriguez struck out in 23.4% of his plate appearances, and walked in 13.5% of them. So far this year Alex has k'd in 33.3% of his PA, while walking just 10.3% of the time.

But not everything going on with Rodriguez this season points to a total loss. I mean, let's not push for the team to eat the remaining money owed to Alex for the rest of this season and next just yet.

I should preface this by pointing out that not everybody believes a player's batting average on balls in play (or "BABIP") is a good stat. Personally, I don't believe it's a great stat for trying to figure out if a player has been lucky or not, but it's something that you should at least consider.

With that said, ARod's BABIP through the first nine games of last season was .429, which is much higher than his career mark of .315. Seeing that his BABIP so far this season sits 324 points lower than that (.105 for you people that hate math), I think it's safe to say he has been at least a tad unlucky in 2016.

Another reason to stick by Alex is his line drive percentage, which is higher so far this year than he's ever hit in any season throughout his career (23.8%, compared to just 18.2% for all of 2015). Couple that line drive rate with a ground ball percentage lower than he's ever had as well (38.1%), and that means more hard-hit balls in the air, which is a good recipe for more hits.

I must admit that this entire post may be pointless, as in some cases I'm talking about very small sample sizes. But like I alluded to earlier, there are some fans that would like to see the Yankees cut Alex now, and eat the nearly $39 million the team still owes him through next season.

And that, my friends, is crazy. If anything, and this is something I believe will happen, Joe Girardi may want to cut back on Alex's playing time. But that's not so much because he's that bad, but because Carlos Beltran should see some time as the starting DH while Aaron Hicks gets more starts in the outfield.

"That's what the lineup card that Mr. Cashman sent to me says."

2 comments:

  1. Last paragraph is spot on, Bryan. I'd include time off for texiera too. And significant time. That's the only chance we can get full years out of these guys.

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  2. Nice post Bryan and very insightful. You say many times in the article and I agree with you, the sample size is still too small. Fans are entitled to their knee jerk reactions, some just take it that one step too far... and beyond.

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