Back in May of 2005, we saw the debut of Robinson Cano. He wasn’t exactly a highly regarded prospect — the Diamondbacks rejected him as part of a trade-deadline Randy Johnson trade in 2004. But he tore up AAA in April, and was given the call once the Yanks realized that Tony Womack wasn’t going to cut it (which was about four and a half months after the rest of the league knew it). He ended up being an enormous upgrade, hitting .297/.320/.458 for the season, with 14 homers and 34 doubles on his way to placing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He also struck out only 68 times in 551 plate appearances, a more than respectable 12% rate (which went along with his minor league numbers post-2002). However, one bit of criticism prevailed: the dude swings at everything.
Somewhat lost in the Bobby Abreu/Robinson Cano debacle of late has been the performance of Alex Rodriguez. While A-Rod’s stats overall â€” .329/.407/.714 with 15 HR and 39 RBI â€” are still exception, his season has been some of a Jekyll and Hyde performance so far.
Through the first 18 games of the year, Alex Rodriguez had 75 at bats and was an absolute beast. He hit .400 with a .453 OBP and a whopping 1.053 slugging percentage. As we all know, he had 14 home runs, 7 doubles and 34 RBIs. He was hitting home runs at a pace of one every 5.36 at bats.
But in the 18 games since then, a different Alex Rodriguez has emerged. In 65 at bats, Alex has hit .246 with a pedestrian .355 OBP and a pathetic .323 slugging percentage. He has 3 extra base hits â€” 1 home run, 2 doubles â€” and just 5 RBI in this stretch of games. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 1 HR every 65 at bats.
So what’s the real Alex Rodriguez? For all of his recent struggles, A-Rod is still on pace for 68 HR and 176 RBI. If he can rediscover his power stroke soon, things will be looking up for A-Rod. He just missed in Seattle, driving two balls to the wall in the deepest parts of a vast outfield. Are we about to see another HR tear from A-Rod? It couldn’t come at a better time.
I know that these guys are rooting for April Alex to return and carry the Yankees through to the end of May. I fear that if his stroke doesn’t come back, the Yankee boo birds may return, making this summer a long one from Alex as that opt-out clause comes do.
It’s never a dull moment around these Yankees, eh?
Three in a row! That’s a winning streak. And hey, the Yanks are now in a virtual tie for second place.
It was bound to happen really. Their run differential suggests a team that should be 15-11 instead of 12-14. So now that the luck is evening out, the Yanks will begin their rise through the standings. But the outfield better start picking up the slack.
Tonight marked the Yanks’ 26th game of the season. We’re 16 percent of the way through the season, and here’s what the Yankees’ outfielders have done as a group. They’ve had 317 at-bats and are hitting .230 with a .319 OBP and a .261 slugging. They have 3 HR, 42 RBI and a whopping 16 extra base hits. Alex Rodriguez, by himself, has 22 extra base hits.
With Doug Mientkiewicz sucking up at-bats as the first baseman, the Yankee lineup basically has four spots giving them no offensive production. And in game 2 of the double-header, Wil Nieves, now 0 for 17 this year, played. It was a veritable train wreck.
But the Yankees keep on scoring runs. Their 150 runs scored is second overall to the Florida Marlins. So Derek and Alex and Jorge and Jason are picking up the slack. Right now, that’s ok, and I have to belief that Matsui and Melky and Damon and Abreu will start hitting again. When that happens, look out. This Yankee lineup will become a juggernaut.
Of course, in the meantime, I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Bobby Abreu, but that’s a discussion we’ll have tomorrow.