The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 In Review - Alex Rodriguez

As the Yankees went down in flames in the ALCS, the story was Alex Rodriguez.  Even though there was plenty of blame to go around to just about everyone in the lineup, it found its way to him like it usually does.

Rodriguez had far and away the worst full year of his career whether you measure it by accrued value or on a rate basis.  Here is how he performed compared to his projections this season.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 459 398 65 109 21 1 19 78 6 2 53 82 10 5 .273 .364 .474 .365 67 95 30
davenport 476 418 62 113 22 1 21 72 5 3 55 86 10 4 .270 .361 .478 .367 69 95 29
marcel 474 412 63 110 21 1 20 78 7 2 51 86 10 5 .267 .350 .468 .355 67 92 29
oliver 523 457 66 121 23 1 22 73 5 2 56 91 12 5 .265 .348 .464 .353 72 90 30
pecota 572 499 80 137 24 1 30 84 9 2 67 112 12 6 .275 .368 .507 .379 90 102 44
zips 466 405 61 107 20 1 21 81 7 2 51 89 11 5 .264 .350 .474 .357 66 93 29
average 495 429 70 117 22 1 22 78 6 2 55 91 11 5 .273 .359 .481 .362 73 96 33
Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 529 458 75 125 24 1 22 90 7 2 61 95 12 6 .273 .363 .474 .365 77 95 35
davenport 529 465 69 126 24 1 23 80 6 3 61 96 11 4 .270 .361 .478 .367 77 95 32
marcel 529 460 70 123 23 1 22 87 8 2 57 96 11 6 .267 .350 .468 .355 75 92 32
oliver 529 462 67 122 23 1 22 74 5 2 57 92 12 5 .265 .348 .464 .353 73 90 31
pecota 529 461 74 127 22 1 28 78 8 2 62 104 11 6 .275 .368 .507 .379 83 102 41
zips 529 460 69 121 23 1 24 92 8 2 58 101 12 6 .264 .350 .474 .357 75 93 33
average 529 458 75 125 23 1 24 83 7 2 59 97 12 5 .273 .359 .483 .364 78 96 35
2012 529 463 74 126 17 1 18 57 13 1 51 116 13 10 .272 .353 .430 .346 71 87 28
diff -1 1 -6 0 -6 -26 6 -1 -8 19 1 5 -.001 -.005 -.053 -.019
2012 League Avg 529 476 62 122 23 2 15 59 9 3 42 102 11 4 .255 .320 .411 .311 61 75
2011 529 461 83 127 26 0 20 77 5 1 58 99 16 6 .276 .362 .461 .360 75 92 32

diff: Difference between average projection and 2012 actual statistic
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position

The second set of projections, league average and 2011 stats are pro-rated to 2012 PA to allow a direct comparison.  League average is not adjusted for DNYS so mentally account for that.

When you pro-rate his projections to his actual 2012 PA you can see a big dropoff in his power.  He hit 12 fewer extra-base hits, trading them for 13 singles.  He also lost some walks and ended up being about 7 runs worse than projected on a rate basis.  The one thing that should be noted is his average projection was for 495 PA this year so he actually managed to get 34 more PA than expected.  He just stunk in them.  If not for his broken hand he may have ended up with another 100 PA.

It got even worse in the postseason as hit .120/.185/.120 in 27 PA.  According to RE24 he was the biggest detriment to the Yankees in the postseason. He was also pinch-hit for in a meaningful situation for the first time ever in the ALDS and then got benched for the bulk of the ALCS.  Brian Cashman explained it as being due to Rodriguez’s splits vs. RHP, particularly his 0 for 18 with 12 K in the postseason at one point.  While that’s a small sample size, it was bad enough that I didn’t have a huge problem with him being held out of the lineup vs. RHP.  Whether it’s a long-term issue that limits his utility going forward is something we just don’t know now, and probably won’t know for a while.  My guess is that with some adjustments it won’t be as much of an issue.

I admit I still had a smidgen of hope we’d see a MVP-candidate type of season out of Rodriguez this year but I now see no way that will ever happen again.  He’s still an asset, even if he’s hugely overpaid.  Because of that, I’m guessing he’ll be the starting 3B in 2013.  It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Yankees can trade Rodriguez and save money while adding enough value that it makes them better.  So let’s hope he can make whatever tweaks he has to make that benching him in the postseason is not an option next year.

--Posted at 9:31 am by SG / 32 Comments | - (0)


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Arod needs some steroids to be the player he once was.

So let’s hope he can make whatever tweaks he has to make that benching him in the postseason is not an option next year.

I don’t think we need to worry about anybody’s performance in the postseason next year.

Not even Jacoby Ellsbury’s?

I admit I still had a smidgen of hope we’d see a MVP-candidate type of season out of Rodriguez this year but I now see no way that will ever happen again.

Well, things like “never” I think we know not to do in baseball, especially with all time great players right?  As late as July 2011, we were sure Derek Jeter was “never” going to be an above-average hitter again, and he was ~14 runs better than average this year (BBRef), which was 23 runs better than his worst full season.  Which happened to be his age 36 season.  So if ARod is 23 runs better that’s ~40 runs better than an average hitter.  And if he’s an average defensive 3B (and his time at DH cancels out position adjustment) that’s a 6-win full season player, which of course is MVP candidate worthy (though most years near bottom of list).

Through getting his hand broken (fluke injury), Arod had been healthy (playing in 94 of 97 games).  He had exactly 400 PA, and had a 276/358/449 slash line, w/ 15HR.  After coming back, in 129 PA 261/341/369 w/ 3HR.  Obviously the thing that was completely missing was the power.  Also, July was his hottest month, putting up a 315/367/493 month.  Using FanGraphs number (splits easier for this) he was 9.7 RAA through July, and -.3 rest of year.  If we pro-rate his 400PA to 600PA instead of what actually happened, he’s at 14.5 runs.  If his hot July was him being into a streak to end the year, maybe it’s as much as 19 runs.

I guess, there’s a lot of uncertaintity.  Kind of like with Teix, there was a freak injury that definitely affected him for some timeframe (Teix’s infection, ARod’s hand) but we don’t know how much it affected them while playing.  They had an extended streak of playing fairly well, which gives us some optimism that the talent is still there.  But we can’t be certain of course if they would have continued that impressive streak going forward.  So, you probably end up projecting ARod as a 2-3 win player.  Which again, is still benefitting the team.  But I do think there’s some evidence that with some luck (which I don’t think he’s had any since 2009), he could be maybe a 5 win player again.

One thing I didn’t understand in Girardi’s press conference on Wednesday was why, exactly, he was so adamant about A-Rod’s hand injury not affecting A-Rod’s performance. He was given the opportunity to partially excuse the performance through the hand injury a number of times and he always definitely said no, it was not a factor. I think I would have thrown in some “maybe"s in there, just to throw A-Rod a bone.

Today’s ray of sunshine brought to you (again) by Mike K.

ARod’s bat speed is so far gone from what it once was.  His batting eye and coordination are the only things that keep him from tanking completely and being less helpful than mere average ML baseball players.

I don’t think the broken hand is necessarily a fluke injury.  He certainly may still have been hit - Felix was anything but accurate that game.  But Alex is creeping up on the plate to reach outside pitches.  He’s starting his swing earlier to compensate for declining bat speed and swinging at more junk out of the zone.  Noticeably, he’s chasing a lot more curves down and away (from righthanders).

[6] Hey I’m an optimist.  I make no secret of it and I don’t apologize for it.  I *do* try to back this up with rational arguments, and sample sizes greater than 3 weeks in the post-season or anything like that.  ARod’s isoP even with 129PA of hitting like a backup IF was good for 82/143 qualifiers.  Or, about average.

I think your 2nd paragraph…the analysis of what he’s been swinging at (chasing curves, etc) I think may be skewed by his Sept/Oct performance.  If Jonathan had any heat maps/etc that may be useful in determining if it was a season long problem or only a problem when he was back and clearly not right.  The broken hand…I think that’s a fluke compared to say, if he had hip-soreness and needed a DL stint.  When we’re trying to figure out health, the broken hand I think is mostly bad luck, and we shouldn’t expect him to break anything going forward.  If he had hip issues, I think it would be fair to expect more hip issues next year.

Hey, I don’t KNOW that ARod is going to play in 140+ games, and put up a wRC+ north of 120 while providing average defense.  I think we have some evidence though to indicate that it is very possible.  And with some luck (playing in 155 games, a bit more HR than his profile would project, etc) maybe he can be up around 130, which is a 4-5 win player if average D.

[4], [7] I’m with you, Mike.  We just saw Jeter bounce back, we’ve seen David Ortiz bounce back after looking done.  Lance Berkman.  It’s certainly not likely, but as you say, there’s some chance that he can get healthier and/or make adjustments and put up 4 or 5 WAR.

[5]  I’m also with you, Brian.  It sure seems like he wasn’t the same after the hand injury, and I don’t know why they wouldn’t look to that as a possible explanation.  It certainly seems like it’d be better for ARod’s psyche (and any potential trade suitors) to say “the injury may have affected him” rather than letting the only explanation be “he may be done.”

[7] I know you’re an optimist.  And I’m glad that you do it so well, because otherwise I’d probably just fold up shop as a fan sometimes.

It sure seems like he wasn’t the same after the hand injury, and I don’t know why they wouldn’t look to that as a possible explanation.  It certainly seems like it’d be better for ARod’s psyche (and any potential trade suitors) to say “the injury may have affected him” rather than letting the only explanation be “he may be done.”

Exactly. For the sake of A-Rod’s psyche, for the sake of PR and for the sake of any possible trade value the guy might have, saying, “I don’t know for sure, it might have affected him” was likely a better idea than “No, it had no affect on him. He was healthy.”

[5] ARod was hot when he came back from the hand injury as well.  For a week or two, he looked like the ARod of old (not old ARod).  He had a few HRs and doubles those first two weeks back.  Then, for whatever reason, his timing disappeared or he tinkered with his swing, and he had no more XBHs the rest of the season.  I recall his leg kick got higher and his hands went all Cecil-Fielder on us, and he just stopped getting the bat around in time. 

Don’t know the reason, but it was obvious that his swing changed overnight (to me anyway… what do I know?)  ARod tinkers too much I think.  K-Long’s job is safe though…

In contrast to NY, its fun to watch Giants’ hitters NOT swinging for the moon on every single pitch.  I remember when we had guys like that on this team.  Seems like Cashman likes having a bunch of hard swingers around, based on his comments.

[11] Cashman likes having a bunch of hard swingers around…

Isn’t Cashman a hard swinger himself?

[12] I put that one on a tee, didn’t I?

[10] or even “I know he doesn’t think so, but it might have.”

Giants already with two off Sanchez.  How is that even possible?

Tigers hit as bad as us.  Oh wait!

Some guy tried telling me the Tigers were the better team. Yeah, sure they were….

The less shitty team in the month of October, I suppose. Though that doesn’t have the same ring.

Tigers WS SLG: .220

Yankees ALCS SLG: .264

Orioles ALDS SLG: .269

Rangers Wild Card SLG: .265

It’s the Postseason Losers Curse. Blame Texas, the original carrier, for transmitting it to Baltimore.

May all your mothers basements be safe and dry.

These rafts take forever to inflate.  Shoulda got a battery operated pump.

This is good news.  A rising tide lifts all boats.

Trickle up?

Paraphrasing FOX “analysts”  Verlander has to make a statement in the 1st and if he does the offense will follow.  Huh?

Verlander noting that Leyland didn’t shuffle his lineup and push the panic button. Slam!

Can Verlander fit inside a binder?

[23] (Buck and McDoucher) != analyst.

Their other story line, “the vaunted Tigers offense”. Yeah, the 6th best offense in the AL, 5 runs over league average. That vaunting.

Also, it was Scherzer to make the statement. But still assinine.

24 How did not shuffling work out for them?
26 Yeah I realized my mistake, for some reason I thought game 4 was a rematch of game 1.

Another season has ended. Parting is such sweet sorrow, baseball. I’ve said it before, but I love this site, and the community. This should be an interesting offseason. It’s my hope that SG will have to get cracking on projections for Justin Upton.

[28] Though upside is we can now officially talk about the offseason plans!

[29] Hear, hear.

And I vote yes for any Upton over any Swisher.

[31] My yes is of course tentative based on cost.  I’d rather have Justin Upton the player, but I think I’d rather have BJ based on what I think each will cost in $$‘s and assets.

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