A-Rod leads middle of the order turnaround

Platooning the defense
Robinson Cano's eight-game surge to the top

For much of April we’d see the most frustrating facts about the middle of the Yankees’ order. They simply weren’t producing, and it was costing the Yankees runs — sometimes in game-changing situations. While the starting pitching was rough around the edges to start the season, the middle of the order was as much to blame for the team’s middling start. Lately, though, they’ve turned things around a bit. It all started with Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod started the season with peaks and valleys, but he really started to turn it around when the Yankees returned home from Texas to face Detroit. He entered that series hitting .221/.329/.382 (15 for 68 in 79 PA). Since going 3 for 4 with a homer against Detroit he has hit .371/.458/.484 (23 for 62 in 72 PA). That includes two homers, but just one double. In fact, if there is any concern about A-Rod it is his lack of doubles. He has just three on the season, which could indicate that he’s just not driving the ball as he should.

Even better, in the small sample of 46 PA he has handled lefties reasonably well. He’s hitting just .263 against them (10 for 38), but he does have two homers and one of his three doubles. He had just two homers in all of 2011 against lefties after hitting six in 2010. In each of the last two seasons A-Rod has produce an OPS against righties that far exceeded his mark against lefties — nearly 100 points last year and 130 points in 2010. The turnaround, albeit against a small and selective sample, is encouraging.

A-Rod’s season started turning favorably at the end of April. As we’ll see later this afternoon, the other two major contributors have gotten started a bit later.

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Platooning the defense
Robinson Cano's eight-game surge to the top
  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    My, how our standards have fallen.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      As stated in the article, the power isn’t there. That is concerning, especially if that continues as his contract continues on. However, if he’s getting hits, especially in key situations, that’s a good thing. Much better than what we saw at the very beginning of the season.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        I can’t imaging what Joe’s blog is going to look like in 2017 when Arod is 42 years old making $20 million per year.

        Maybe something like ” A Rod may be on the verge of turning things around after he went 0-3 with a walk and managed not to urinate on himself in the batters box today”

        • TomH

          “Urinate on himself”? You must be about 11 if you think that 42 is old. Or maybe someone in your family is pissing himself and you want to spread the shame.

          Grow the hell up.

          • Midland TX

            In all seriousness I think you’re onto the fact that there are tons of high school kids or infantilized twenty-something bro types making these comments, judging from their emotional volatility.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              Every hear of hyperbole? Try getting a sense of humor.

              No one really thinks 42 year old’s are incontinent.

              • Manny’s BanWagon

                Sorry, this was intended for Tom H.

    • Mike Imperiale

      I agree with you. The last time I checked in on baseball in the real world versus Joey G’s version in Spin City, we weren’t paying $25 mil for a singles hitter batting in the 4 hole. ARod’s pitch recognition/selection is awful, his timing is awful, he is not driving the ball, and his memory must be shot if he can’t remember Little League advice to protect the plate with 2 strikes. I know the umpiring has sucked but it’s toture to keep watching him either flail weakly or do a statue job on a called 3rd strike.

      • Midland TX

        Last time I checked, “we” weren’t paying anything, bro. Maybe it’s a few years past the point where you should be indignant or surprised that A-Rod’s contract is bad.

        • Mike Imperiale

          His contract doesn’t make me indignant, “bro”. My point, which you missed by one of your famous Texas Miles, is that his power production and overall hitting performance is far below what we should expect and what we need from the cleanup hitter, regardless of who is paying him, “bro”.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            +100000

  • Tampa Yankee

    First, all i read was the first 3 lines then the last paragraph and all i can say is this is bat shit crazy. Second, no one wants that contract and third, Cashman did not give ARod the new extension, he was against signing him and that was a Hank deal.

    • Tampa Yankee

      Come on, you should have left that up due to its ridiculousness. Now my comment is just floating out there… lol

      • jsbrendog

        damn now i want to know what it said. i hate when i miss the good stuff!

    • michael

      I’m glad it’s not a black eye on Cashman’s record. The team still needs to pay him to clog a roster spot til 2017 no matter if Cashman or Bert and Ernie offered the contract.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    39-42. 4 years of pain as ARod struggles to stay healthy enough to hit 10HR’s a season and slowly moves down in the batting order. Will Yankee fans and management be able to handle this?

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Mike and Joe are going to have to keep a daily thread open just for all the bitching about A rod to be posted.

      • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

        We will need to create the opposite of the prospect watch box.

        Suggestions?

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          A Rod’s Rigor Mortis watch

  • Frank

    Ridiculous post. The guy is a shell of himself and everyone knows it.

    • Guest

      This post is all kinds of fail. We are all dumber for having read it, and may G-d have mercy upon your soul.

  • michael

    Alex has a reverse platoon split throughout his career. He’s struggled against lefties in the small sample sizes (109 PA 2011, 172 PA 2010) of the past few seasons, which could be part signal through the noise. It’s not commonly mentioned he’s .390 vs LHP and .408 vs RHP career, to begin with. The considerable strength of his value against LHP is his walk rate of 15%, which should continue to provide value through age even if he’s experience unfavorable variance with batted balls.

  • Andy

    I don’t believe Alex’s power is gone. He’s only 36. If he hits a couple HRs in a week suddenly his numbers will be right where you expect them.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      So you think he will hit 40? I don’t but hope I am as wrong on this as I have been on Ibanez’s bat so far.

      • Havok9120

        Is 40 the number at which it won’t be “gone?”

  • Guest

    Some of the comments on this thread are a bit over the top.

    People are commenting as if A-Rod has been atrocious so far this season. That’s just flat out wrong. He has been very good. His power numbers are certainly underwhelming, but he’s getting on base a ton, having very good at bats, and he definitely does not look over matched out there. And, as someone correctly pointed out, he hits two homeruns this week, he gets back on pace for hitting 30-35 HR’s. Then all of a sudden, he’s not a decrepit shell at all.

    We all know that he’s likely to regress sharply over the next few years and the contract is bad, but let’s acknowledge the fact that RIGHT NOW at least, he’s still a very good hitter and one of the best hitters at his position.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      +1. I hate the contract and he is overpaid for the type of production he’s likely to put up now and going forward, but let’s get serious, the guy is not a bad ball player (at least not yet).

  • rek4gehrig

    My my, tough crowd.

    • TomH

      It’s both obvious that ARod is hitting reasonably well at a certain level. It’s equally obvious that, as the article makes clear, there is a serious power outage.

      What isn’t clear is the reason for the latter. My fear is that it may represent something physical (hip again? knee again?) that gives him enough ooomph to get a steady diet of singles and an occasional double, but not much more.

      Perhaps I’m projecting onto him my fear that it’s physical, but I thought that he’s been running a bit gingerly lately.

      Well, we’ll find out soon enough. The contract is what it is and it’s ridiculous to keep bringing it up, as if no one had noticed the problem–rather like references to Montero-Pineda-Cashman.

      • Guest

        Well, its more like he’s hitting the occassional HR. 5 hrs is not good for him at this point of the season, but he’s always hit them in bunches and should be due for a bunch pretty soon. 2 Hr’s in the next say 5 games, and he’s back on pace to hit about 30. Not great, not terrible.

        He’s only had three doubles though. That’s…problematic.

  • Fin

    Everyone knew it was an awful contract when he signed it, including Cashman. It then just kept getting worse. First it was roids stuff, then it was his hip. As soon as he hurt his hip, the value they were going to get out of that deal fell through the floor. It will be interesting to see if he plays out his entire deal. I’m not sure Arod will keep playing when he is reduced to a bad bench player in his 40s. We have seen guys walk away from large amounts of money before, when they thought they could no longer produce, lets hope Arod is one of them.

    The good thing about Tex and Arods contracts are they stopped the Yankees from even glancing in Puljos direction. I’m a glass half full kinda guy.

    • LiterallyFigurative

      I can’t think of too many who have walked away from THAT kind of money. Alex would be walking away from $25-30 million per season if he retired a year or two early. Even for all the money he’s made it’s alot.

      Billionaires don’t want to come up off of $30 million dollars. Hard to see a hundred millionaire doing so.

      • Fin

        I dont think he would walk away until the last year or so of his deal. I doubt it will happen, but if his hip bothers him as he gets older and he doesnt want to sit on the bench for 100+ games a year, you never know.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    A-Rod is hitting on a level plane, not trying to lift the ball. As a result, he’s getting more solid singles and line drives than power shots.

    I believe it will level out over the course of the season. We might not predict 40+ Hr’s but A-Rod could still be in for 30-32.

  • Havok9120

    The same people who have been complaining in every hitting thread for weeks about a lack of contact skills and being too boom and bust and reliant on power are in here complaining about the guy with the .300 average and the .400 OBP.

    Yes, the contract is bad. Atrocious even. Yes, he’s had a power outage. We know. Which doesn’t mean he isn’t playing great defense and giving you the exact offensive production you’re claiming we need more of.