Matt took a look at this yesterday, and I thought it might be useful to follow up my analysis on A-Rod’s plate discipline from last week with a quick look at what he’s done since then.
In my previous post, Alex Rodriguez was coming off a week in which he’d “hit” .120/.120/.160, with zero walks and eight strikeouts. During the past seven days, Alex has put up a .231/.286/.231 line, with one walk and 4 strikeouts. This is still nowhere even close to where the team needs him to be, but based on his wretched performance from April 25 through May 1, this would have to be considered an improvement.
Here are Alex’s plate discipline numbers from last week’s analysis as well as from the last 7 days:
Though the results haven’t really been there, Alex seems to be getting his swing somewhat back under control, swinging at less overall pitches than he’d been during his super-bad week, while making far more contact when he did swing. Particularly of note is his Z-Contact%, which was a woeful 72.4% during his bad week, but shot back up to 92.6% these last seven days. He’s also swinging through fewer pitches (SwStr% of 6.3% this past week compared to 15.8% during the awful week), and as a result of his increased selectivity, he’s also getting fewer first-pitch strikes.
Here’s how pitchers have been attacking Alex:
Alex experienced a significant uptick in fastballs during the past week (62.2%), although that may be due in part to the types of pitchers he was facing rather than a concerted effort by the opposition to go after Alex with gas. John Flaherty kept mentioning that Alex was getting beaten by fastballs throughout the Detroit series, but I don’t know that he was late on them as much as he wasn’t placing better swings on them (though I suppose one could make the argument that the latter also constitutes getting beaten). He’s still one of the team’s best fastball hitters (6.0 runs above average, good for 2nd-best), and even during this past week of struggles still managed to record a positive run value against the heater (1.6 runs above average). As far as pitch types go, Alex’s issues stem from pretty much everything else being thrown at him, as right now he actually has negative run values against every other pitch aside from the splitter.
Ultimately, unless HitFX is ever released to the public there’s really no way to do a more thorough analysis of A-Rod’s swing mechanics, but given the data we do have, it appears that at the very least, his pitch recognition skills are starting to come back. Now he just needs to start driving the ball again — his ISO is a pitiful .020 over the last two weeks, dead last on the team save for Andruw Jones.
It’s interesting that A-Rod’s slump has seemingly gone mostly under the radar (well, until today) — I suppose starting the season out on such a tear has bought him some additional rope with the media — but the Yankees are going to need Alex to turn it on soon enough. Though there are 25 players on the team, it’s not surprising that the Yankees are 7-7 over their last 14 games as they’ve gotten almost nothing out of one of their most prolific hitters during that time.
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