For each player, there are certain indicators we look at to see how he’s doing. Even if we know better, we take a peek at Derek Jeter‘s batting average. His speed matters just as much in the field, but we can’t help but gawk at Brett Gardner‘s stolen base numbers. Going into 2012, there are numbers we’re going to keep an extra close eye on. Let’s start out by looking at Alex Rodriguez.
For his entire career, power has been A-Rod’s calling card. Last year, a knee injury helped sap him of his power and we saw his Iso take another dip. That mark has dropped every year since 2007, though there really only was down to go after that year (.331 Iso…man, how awesome was his ’07?). In 2011, it dipped below .200 in a full season for the first time since 1997. Aside from the raw Iso, we’ve seen a decline in A-Rod’s HR/FB%. Last year’s 14.5 mark was easily the lowest of Rodriguez’s career, and was off his career percentage by a full eight points.
The only way we’re going to see those numbers start to trend the right way is if Rodriguez can get healthy. If it wasn’t the hip, it was the knee, then the thumb later on in the season. This isn’t to say we can write off what he did–or didn’t do–during this season. Rather, we must remember that Rodriguez hasn’t been fully healthy since 2008. That can help explain the power drop of the last few years. Once again, A-rod seems determined to improve his health and performance for 2012. While the offensive leadership role has seemingly switched to Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, the more the Yankees can get from Rodriguez the better. Please be healthy, Alex.