Key Stats: For the first time since the 1998 season, Alex Rodriguez failed to reach 30 and 100 last season. He played in only 99 games last season, but if he did stay healthy for 150 games, he was on pace for something close to 24 home runs and 93 RBI. Good for any player, but for A-Rod those numbers look like a whimper. Is the end near?
Skeptics Say: Don’t look for motivation to come in the form of money. The Yankees have their hands tied for five more years after this season. A-Rod is now 36 years old, and if we are calling this the post-steroid era, virtually nobody produces at this point in their careers. The highest any player was ranked that was 36 or older last season was 117 (Johnny Damon).
Peer Comparison: Pablo Sandoval is ranked ahead of A-Rod in the majority of the the sites listed below in what they’re saying. And while Sandoval certainly has the advantage on A-Rod in age and health, I don’t see how Kung Fu Panda can get taken ahead of A-Rod.
Even if A-Rod’s routine 30 home run seasons aren’t so easy to come by anymore, consider that Sandoval has never hit more than 25 in a season. Advantage A-Rod in home runs.
Even if A-Rod’s routine 100 RBI seasons aren’t so easy to come by anymore, Sandoval has never had more than 90 RBI in any season. Advantage A-Rod in RBI.
A-Rod is talking about having the DH position be a revolving door for the team and clearly doesn’t have the ability to steal 40 in a season anymore. If I had to pick who would steal more this season though the choice would be A-Rod – even if neither player is drafted with the hope of getting steals from them. Advantage A-Rod in steals.
Sandoval has never reached 80 runs in a season. The Giants offense will be counting on an on again year from Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt to be a force in order for Sandoval to have more run scoring chances this year. I’ll take the guy that has Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson in the middle of the order. Thank you though. Advantage A-Rod in runs.
Sandoval will hit for a better average, but still four out of five categories go to A-Rod.
Lineup Outlook: The big question for Joe Girardi is that if A-Rod is hitting at a 25 home run type of pace this season and Granderson is the same player as last year, does A-Rod stay in the cleanup spot that he was in 94% of the time last season. A-Rod is certainly the type of player that needs to be treated like a star. Fantasy players should draft him with the expectation that he will hit cleanup in a very good lineup.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #10 Third Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #8 Third Baseman & #72 Overall; Yahoo: #7 Third Baseman & #46 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #5 Third Baseman & #45 Overall; RotoChamp: #108 Overall
Projection: A-Rod’s line drive rate for the last two seasons has been well below where it was for many seasons before that. It’s for this reason that when push comes to shove, it will be very difficult to actually pull the trigger on this guy rather than the injury factor. Look for more home runs with the HR:FB rate rising, but the same average.
87 R 29 HR 96 RBI 6 SB .274 AVG .370 OBP .875 OPS