R-E-R-E-B-R-E-B-O-U-N-D: Rebound for Tex and A-Rod?

Rodriguez’s situation isn’t quite as promising, and that’s mainly due to his age. Entering his age-36 season, Rodriguez has a bad hip and 16 full seasons under his belt, but even with that bad news, Rodriguez is still one of the game’s best players when he steps on the field. Last season was his worst full season, but he was still worth 4 wins. A .278 BABiP was also his worst, and that could be a sign of the end if his xBABiP was not .319. Rodriguez, however, saw a severe dip in his LD% to 13.8 (career 17.8%), and his xBABiP was brought back up due to a similar increase in groundballs, which find holes more than flyballs do. His HR/FB% also fell, to 17.1% (career 23.1%), and the signs seem to point toward losing bat speed. Augmenting that belief, Rodriguez’s damage done to fastballs dropped to a 2002-2010 low 17.2 wFB (runs produced when hitting a fastball), which is quite a bit lower than his average 31.3 runs. All of this isn’t to say that this past season wasn’t a fluke, but Rodriguez won’t be a star forever. As for the last part of Rodriguez’s offensive game, Rodriguez walked fewer times than he had in any season since 1999, and his .341 OBP was merely pedestrian. I don’t think this is anything more than a fluke, and he doesn’t seem to have been more aggressive (Swing % of 45 is near his 44 career mark; it seems the big difference was that he contacted a lot more balls out of the zone than normal, which leads to outs and not walks). But I certainly don’t like that he’s walking less.

Defensively, A-Rod has been below-average since he moved to third, and he continued to be so last season. But how bad is he? UZR just thinks he’s a couple runs below-average, but B-Ref thinks he is almost double-digit below-average bad (also thought he was a win worse than FanGraphs did). Either way, increasing age and a bad hip won’t help.

Overall, I don’t think the FANS projection of 4.8 fWAR is terrible, but I’m thinking it might be closer to his ceiling than the expectation. I’d probably suggest something a little lower than the .288/.372/.530 line, and his defense will probably continue to decline. 4-4.5 wins still indicates near All-Star production, but his days of winning MVP Awards may be over.

So will they rebound? After producing a combined 7.4 WAR last season, I think they’ll clear 9 this season. Both players are extraordinary talents, and I don’t think they’re likely to collapse. Teixeira is on the back-end of his prime, but he’s probably more motivated than usual, which can’t hurt. A-Rod is a little older, and as he ages, the likelihood of a decline grows. Predictions of Teixeira’s decline are a little premature, and while A-Rod is declining, he still has a long way to fall and his 2011 should at least look better than last season. Don’t worry too much. That’s what 2013-2015 is for.

12 thoughts on “R-E-R-E-B-R-E-B-O-U-N-D: Rebound for Tex and A-Rod?

  1. If tex has another subpar season, what do you think the chances are that the yankees make a go at pujols and attempt to trade tex away?

    • LAneheim already gave away the one free pass for trading to receieve a horrendous contract for the year. I don't think anyone takes the teixeira contract unless the yankees eat close to half the money. Probably won't get prospects back, either.

      Getting pujols is a pipe dream.

    • I don't think they're very good. If they did so, they would have to give Pujols a ginormous contract (bigger than Tex) and have to give at least $35 million over five years to make the trade happen. There would be teams would want him (Brewers, Rangers?, Mariners, Os), but they wouldn't want post-peak Tex at prime-Tex prices. The Yankees have the financial might to make this happen, but I don't think it'll happen. Granted, they could just sign Pujols and relegate one to DH or have them switch in and out.

        • Why would he do it during interleague games? He's a terrific defender, or has been for most of his career anyway, so unless it was for rest purposes why wouldn't he be playing first base in those 9 games or so?

  2. Can I say one thing. UZR 150 as it relates to fielding is garbage. If any of you idiotic writers bothered to plot UZR (which is range) to a players age, you might find that the stat correlates poorly, which is to say it sucks. While I understand that Tex had a bad year offensively, defensively he was solid.

    The UZR/150 the sabergeek bible is in a word CRAP. I have watched it be used as a punching bag against Jeter (it started as the RF/ZR) and got worse over time. If you plot Jeter's numbers they are all over the place. Take a look at Orlando Cabrera or even the great Omar Vizquel. There is an expression its called Garbage in Garbage out. The UZR is precisely that. So please save me the crap about his fielding being "average".

    Look I don't believe Avg, Runs, RBI's tell the whole story, but I believe that saberstats are flawed, and sadly when it comes to fielding tell very little. Simply stated, I much prefer OPS (at least I can calculate it based on current stats which are available to the public and are verified). Not surprisingly ops correlates very well to offensive production.

    • Well, that's convincing. Of course, "sabergeeks" have realized for some time that defensive metrics can very pretty wildly on a year to year basis (which makes some sense, if you really think about it), and so defensive metrics are best looked at in multi-year samples (3-5 years, at least, is the general rule of thumb). They've also noticed that UZR is better with some positions than others (pretty good for middle infielders and outfielders, and a bit problematic with first basemen).

      But sure, other than that, you've got a totally valid, well researched, highly logical rejoinder.

    • When I look at defensive stats like UZR, I promise that I look at it in multi-year samples. For Teixeira, 4 out of his past 5 seasons have been around average. Using TotalZone from B-Ref, Teixeira is an above-average to plus defender at first. I mentioned both of these in the post and said that he would probably remain around the same numbers this season, which means for both systems. I was simply offering you the information in order to have a more complete picture of the player. While neither seems constant, they're much better (taken in multi-year samples) than anything else, especially errors.

    • It is generally acknowledged that advanced defensive statistics for 1B are weak. They do a better job at the other postions (outside of catcher), but I don't think there is any credibility when it comes to first.

  3. The issue for the Yankees isn't their offense – it is 'good enough', although the playoffs showed the Yankees are particularly weak against strong left handers.

    Division wise it looks like the 'Rays fall will be balanced by a Boston resurgence; with Baltimore and Toronto likely to improve a smidgen the competition will be around the same in 2011.

    But the big problem is Yankee pitching, or lack thereof. Pettitte more and more looks like he's not going to reup – whether due to Clemens or whatever, and Sabathia at some point is just going to have his arm fall off. Barring at least 2 major surprises in the new pitchers, the Yankees are going to have a really tough year.

    Or of course a big trade – free agents are all gone.

    • Don't forget how bad Vazquez and Burnett were last season. Burnett should improve somewhat, Nova can probably best Vazquez easily, and Hughes is a good candidate to improve on his season as well. Right there, you're looking at 3 improvements on a pitching staff that helped the Yankees win 95 games last season. Pettitte will be gone, but he only threw 129 innings last season, and while Mitre or whoever will be worse than Pettitte, is that enough to off-set the other improvements? And the offense should improve along with the bullpen. I think the fear is a little overblown, though it's common.

    • "the playoffs showed the Yankees are particularly weak against strong left handers."

      The only time the Yankees faced a left-handed starter in the playoffs and lost the game was game 3 of the ALCS against Cliff Lee. They beat Liriano and Wilson all 3 times they faced them.