Apparently Alex Rodriguez Sucks

Alex Rodriguez sucks, Nick Swisher sucks, Mark Teixeira sucks, Curtis Granderson sucks, Eduardo Nunez sucks, and even Derek Jeter sucks in the playoffs, at least that’s what everyone tells me on the Internet. It’s almost as if we have a lineup of guys that are more likely to get out than succeed. Why would Cashman fill this $200 million plus lineup with guys that only get on base 30-40% of the time?

Because succeeding 30-40% of the time makes you an allstar in baseball. OBP-wise, the Yankees led the American League in 2012 at .337, which they also coupled with the highest slugging percentage, highest wRC+, wOBA, and ISO.  Most Yankee fans will agree that this team is one of, if not the best offensive team in baseball. That’s all good but I’ve heard the guys on TV say they suck with RISP . Well actually, they hit .256/.352/.436 with RISP in 2012, which you can compare to their .259/.337/.453 triple slash throughout the season. From all the games we’ve watched and heard the YES Network talk about their inability to get that big hit, these triple slashes are remarkably similar.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

It’s all because of sample size, and when we’re analyzing baseball scientifically, it’s always important to keep in mind the amount of numbers we’re working with. On misconception is that Sabermetrics looks down upon the old-fashioned AVG and ERA-type stats, but the truth is that they’re wary of their significance because of sample size. The advanced baseball numbers that constantly churn out are created to help solve the problems of small sample size.

So how does this relate to Alex Rodriguez sucking? The biggest problems with the MLB playoffs is that every series is shrouded in small sample size. I’ve heard the saying that baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, which is true through the first 162 games. You build a team that endures slumps and hot streaks, injuries and breakout players, all to win a chance at a few short series playoff games. But now that we have to win 3 of the next 5 games, baseball becomes a sprint, and it’s what you do in these games that defines your team and your players. Either you’re good, or you suck.

And that’s how we get to where we are today. We’re just two games in to the playoffs and  I’m being constantly reminded that Alex Rodriguez is batting .111 in the playoffs  thanks to a sample size of 9 at bats. Forget what he did in 2009, when he almost single handedly won the World Series for the Yankees, HE’S HITTING .111 AGAINST THE ORIOLES IN 9 AT BATS!

Baseball is meant to be played over a long season, and what we’re left with in the playoffs is little more than a coin toss with a 5 game series. Sample size evens out over 162 games, but in these series it won’t. So the best analysis I can give you is that this team has proven it can hit just fine with runners in scoring position, there’s no significant difference between what they did inside and outside these opportunities. If you’re wondering if this team will ever get another big hit, the answer is yes. And if you’re wondering is Alex Rodriguez really sucks in the playoffs, you won’t find the answer in his 9 at bats this year, you’ll find it in his .273/.383/.490 triple slash over his playoff career.

8 thoughts on “Apparently Alex Rodriguez Sucks

  1. Clint

    The small sample size argument is fine, but that won’t appease the common fan. It sucks that a player can be judged totally from a 5 game series but thems the breaks. In NY it’s always about what you do in Oct. You don’t hit now, we’ll write you off. I loved Alex for 2009 but he’s gotta do something now too. No one is rational this time of year.

  2. DB Cooper

    If you move A-Rod down in the order now you will mess with his head and you’ll never get him back. Does anyone not remember when Torre did that? Live with it. It ain’t gonna change.

  3. GMC

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. As mentioned above, for most fans its what have you done for me lately and not what you are capable of doing. I feel like so many people are quick to forget 2009 and how Alex carried the team.

    The fact that people calling into to NY sports radio are asking for him to be benched and for Chavez to be put in just shows you how ridiculous the fan base can get in October. Same thing applies to Swish, Tex and Granderson.

  4. Frank

    You can’t compare now to 2009 or his lifetime stats in post season. He’s just not same player he was then, both physically and in terms of baseball skills. The fact is he just can’t hit a plus FB. His bat is definitely slower.

    • Jay

      I completely agree, small sample sizes are not completely relevant to determining the ability of player in the playoffs, but go by the eye test. Arod is having quality at bats, taking close pitches, and workign the pitcher for the most part, but despite seeing that many pitches, when he does swing he does not look good, he is not squaring up the ball and in general has looked over matched SO FAR. I have more faith in him coming out of it than some of the others though. Nunez is frustrating to watch, swings at everything and makes weak contact. Great he hit a double last night that barely made it out of the infield. Swisher is pressing as he always does in the playoffs and is swinging way to hard at way too much. He looks just as lost as nunez up there. Tex’s hitting has been fine but his inability to run right now cost us the tying run last night and is looking like ti is going to be a real issue, not that he was ever fleet of foot, but you have to get in from second on granderson’s single last night. You are correct that small sample sizes do not tell the whole story, but neither do career batting lines. How they are hitting right now is what matters and a lot of the hitters in the lineup right now are not exactly inspiring confidence.

    • GMC

      I agree with you on the fact that he is in no longer the same player as he was in 2009. I was just addressing the fact that he is always the whipping boy even after what he did in 2009. As mentioned above, there are definitely other Yankees that look worse at the plate right now (I’m looking at you Granderson). Having said all that if Alex was dropped to a lower spot in the order I would definitely understand.

  5. john

    Great article on this at fangraphs today:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-friendly-reminder-about-a-rod-and-october/

    ARod has actually been more “clutch” in his career than Jeter.

    Not all with the Yanks, but interesting….

  6. Diana P

    I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that there are so many Yankees struggling to get a decent hit in the post season. Guys have slumps, they struggle however, there’s usually a balance. I’ve never seen so many struggle at the same time. Everyone is quick to list who isn’t hitting and yet I haven’t heard anyone mention Long’s name in the conversation. What is the hitting coach doing? What does he have to say about this?

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