Friday, May 14, 2010

Anemic A-Rod?

Something that has kind of slipped under the radar with the success the Yankees have had this season, is the production of one Alex Rodriguez. I recognize that it is still early, but through nearly a month and a half of baseball, A-Rod is sitting at 3 homeruns. He's been driving in runs, and has also hit 2 triples in that time, but this is a considerable dip in power from other seasons. Currently, 5 players on the roster have more homeruns than A-Rod, including Jeter, and the only players with less homeruns than A-Rod are either bench players, injured players, or players named Brett Gardner.

Now I know homeruns aren't the measure of a man, but for A-Rod it kind of is. Especially after the steroid news that broke out last season, and after the whole Tony Galea thing this previous off season. Perhaps A-Rod is just feeling overwhelmed with the whole "march to 600" thing, since he is just 14 homeruns shy of hitting 600 for his career. Perhaps, he's just off to a slower start than usual. The question is, should we be concerned, or is it still too early to worry?


Rich Mahogany said...

I think your post title is accurate and ARod has anemia. He should consume more iron for strength. Or perhaps he has amnesia and has forgotten how to hit home runs.

ARod has played in 33 games, or about 20% of a full season. He's hitting .272/.361/.440, above league average (122 OPS+) but not close to his normal output. He is on pace for a mere 15 HR and an impressive 40 doubles, but the doubles obviously don't compensate for the drop off in HRs. I'd say the Yankees expect at least 35 HR from him (his career low as a Yankee when playing close to a full season).

I can see a few ways this could turn out:

1. ARod simply had a slow start by his standards. He goes on one of his unbelievable tears over the next few weeks and gets back on track to finish the season with 35-40 HR. The worries cease.

2. Nothing changes. ARod continues to be a good but not great hitter with little HR power, or maybe gets worse. In mid June he's sitting at 6-8 HR and an .800 OPS.

If this happens I think the team should be legitimately concerned there's something wrong with ARod. I'm less focused on the PEDs/Galea issues than on his surgery. Until evidence arises that proves otherwise, I think we have to believe that ARod played the last several years clean. But he did have surgery last year and was deemed healthy enough not to need a second round of surgery in the offseason. What if that decision was wrong and ARod's HR power is suffering because of it?

Considering the tremendous amount of money the Yankees have sunk on ARod's contract, which pays him $12 trillion until he is 75 years old, I'm sure the team will do everything it can to make sure ARod or his doctors didn't do something stupid that caused him to play hurt (or doped up).

3. ARod ends up somewhere around his "disappointing" 2004 and 2006 seasons in terms of overall production. Unfortunately this is just what we have to expect as ARod gets older.

To answer your question, I think it's still too soon to worry because ARod just came off a great season when he hit 30 HR in just 124 games, and has the ability to go on a ridiculous hot streak. I would give him another month before going into panic mode.

lady gaganonymous said...

A few people have said this and stuff, and RAB actually just wrote a very good article about it:

Like Rich said, if his power is genuinely down, I'm more worried about his hips than PEDs.

Also, there are people on NYYFans proclaiming A-Rod's career "over." lol

Fernando Alejandro said...

Yeah, I don't think PEDs are part of the problem in any way, I just think it casts a different light on the situation.

I think its too early to tell, but 3 homeruns over a month and a half is pretty weak. But maybe he'll go on a legendary tear, and all these worries will be subsided.

People suggesting his career is over are off base, but with A-Rod those are the kind of reactions and predictions we're used to.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

I think we're missing the point. PEDs may not be the problem, but they could very well be the solution. Someone diagnose A-Rod with a fertility problem, quick!

Rich Mahogany said...

Fernando, you made me realize that the concern is not whether ARod was recently on PEDs and just came off them (also known as Giambitis) but whether the PEDs he took years ago are causing problems for him now. You'd think not, considering his Wolverine-like recovery from his hip surgery last season, but PED use always add another variable, especially when it's Cousin Yuri bringing those PEDs from exotic Caribbean lands.

lady gaganonymous said...

Welp. Guess not. ;)

Rob B said...

Alex certainly didn't suffer from a power outage in the game tonight. I can't believe Gardenhire would bring in a guy that Alex has had so much success against; especially one named Derrier.

Okay, so I know that's not his real name, but Alex sure did kick him there tonight.

Speaking of PEDs it looks like that guy in Boston might be back on them.

lady gaganonymous said...

Seriously, it's like Gardenhire was like "You thought Girardi made some questionable moves in the top of this inning? I'm gonna make FORTY questionable moves in the bottom of this inning!" IBBing Tex to get to A-Rod and LOAD THE BASES? And then putting in a pitcher to face A-Rod with the bases loaded that A-Rod absolutely OWNS?

I know Alex hasn't been hitting home runs at the rate he usually does, but it's not like he hasn't been hitting period and he's absolutely tortured the Twins throughout his career. AND IT'S A-ROD!!!!!!!!

Also, I think that ball that he hit just landed outside my window. Or maybe that was the one he hit off Nathan that just landed. Can't be too sure.

Rich Mahogany said...

Truly one of the dumbest regular-season manager decisions ever. What was Gardenhire thinking?

lady gaganonymous said...

Rich -

I don't really know what Gardenhire was thinking, but... uh... well, I don't know the Twins bullpen, but maybe he saw high leverage situation = I go to my best reliever??? Which is relatively smart as an idea, but maybe not so much in that situation? Even though the best reliever is COMPLETELY owned by A-Rod? I don't know.

Tigs said...

I think I'm more worried about Alex's head that his hips this season (as regards power production). Unless one of his arms falls off, he's going to hit 600 homeruns this season-- and we've seen what hitting those milestones does to him (anyone else remember how long it took him to get his 500th? And that was a hot year!).
I think the slow start can actually be attributed to his catching and (now) passing Robinson.
I think 600 is going to be hard for him...

Fernando Alejandro said...

Tigs, I think you're right. The milestones get in his head. We may see a bit of a drought between homeruns 599 and 600.