The story of 2011 for Alex Rodriguez was different to say the least. However, it’s the story of 2012 and beyond that will be far more compelling. How much will he stay in the field? How healthy will he stay? Can he stay on track for that once all-but-guaranteed HR record?
The most drastic drop from Rodriguez this year came in the power department. His Iso was .185, his lowest mark since a .196 mark way back in 1997. Aside from a .176 showing in 48 games in 1996, this year’s .185 Iso represented Rodriguez’s lowest power showing ever. His Iso, and in turn slugging percentage, has been dropping every year since his ridiculous 2007. Granted, he would’ve gone down from that anyway (.331!), but the downward trend is nonetheless scary.
Rodriguez’s walk and strike out rates (11/18.7) were right in line with his career rates (11/18). His BABIP was also at a relatively normally .311 (career .318). His line drive rate was shockingly low at 14.2% and his HR/FB%, 14.5, was the lowest it’s been since FanGraphs started tracking the stat in 2002 (for reference, his career average is 22.5%). 2011 definitely featured weaker contact from A-Rod than we’re used to. And that matches up with our eyes, doesn’t it? This year more than ever, I feel like I said A-Rod was just missing pitches that he normally would’ve put over the fence. Everything just seemed a bit off for him at the plate.
His .361 wOBA was the lowest mark he’s ever had in a full season, taking over for last year’s .363. Still, he managed a 125 wRC+ which is nothing to sneeze at. What also helps A-Rod’s season look better is how relatively weak third base was as a position this year. Rodriguez finished third in the A.L. in fWAR among third basemen (4.2) behind just Evan Longoria (6.1) and Adrian Beltre (5.7).
Looking at month by month production for Rodriguez is a bit pointless, considering he played just 26 combined games in July, August, and September and had just 99 plate appearances in that time. If we want to take solace in something, it can be the fact that when he was healthy, A-Rod raked. He got off to an obscenely hot start, posting a wOBA/wRC+ split of .422/166 in April. In May, he dropped down a bit to .328/102, but in June he rebounded back to his April levels, .423/167. Then it all went downhill. First came the knee, then the thumb, then the playoffs. Now here we are, left to dwell on a disappointing and injury filled season for Alex Rodriguez.
We can hope for a rebound in 2012 because of a few things. Most of all, we can hope that he’ll be completely healthy once the season starts. Second of all, this is still Alex Rodriguez we’re dealing with. He is one of the most immensely talented players to ever step between the lines and to sleep on him or bet against his talent would be foolish.
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