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At age 28, Alex Rodriguez had his least productive season (.286/.375/.512) since he was 21, and he was moved to third base to accommodate Derek Jeter. Still, the question about Alex is not whether he will be a Hall of Famer, but where he stands against the very best who have played the position.

Alex Rodriguez was the 1st overall pick of the 1993 draft, and zipped through the minors to get cups of coffee in 1994 and 1995, before arriving as one of the greatest 20 year olds to ever play the game in 1996. His defence was raw at first, but very quickly he emerged as an above-average defensive shortstop with a fine arm.

Here's how he stacks up against the 2 career Runs Created above average leaders among shortstops at this stage in their careers:

Player         G     AB     H    HR     W     BA    OBP   SLUG   OPS+
A-Rod 1430 5590 1707 381 639 .305 .381 .574 143
Wagner 770 3006 1019 32 223 .339 .393 .484 148
Vaughan 1305 4894 1591 78 728 .325 .416 .473 141

Arky Vaughan started out fast, but had a short career. Honus Wagner was a great player from the beginning, but what is most notable about him is his outstanding performance in his 30s. His dedication to fitness probably contributed greatly to that.

Rodriguez started out very young, and has been durable. Wisely, he played only 155 games this past season, instead of his customary 161 or 162. His defensive adjustment to third base was quick and easy. He is arguably the best defensive third baseman in the league already, and if not that, he is at least competitive with Eric Chavez for that title. Rodriguez' record in the post-season is exemplary; he's hit .330/.395/.583 while his teams have won 3 and lost 4 series, but he has not yet made it to a World Series.

Rodriguez is on pace to become the second best shortstop of all time behind Wagner (or if he continues as a third baseman for many years, to be competitive with Mike Schmidt for the title of greatest third baseman). Curiously, Wagner converted from third base to short in mid-career, while Schmidt converted from short to third very early in his career. Rodriguez was the first shortstop since Wagner to be one of the top 3 hitters in the league for an extended period. While he was not one of the best hitters in the league last year, there is good reason to believe that he may be one again for another run of years.

Let's try for Alex Rodriguez final career statistics. For the Green projection method, we'll try an orange-tomato soup to steel us for the cold. Saute onions, add cumin and garlic, then canned diced tomatoes, stock and juice and grated rind of one orange. Cook 30 minutes, inhale and pronounce:

2200 runs, 750 homers, 2350 RBIs, .295/.378/.569.
Hall Watch 2004- Alex Rodriguez | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 07:18 PM EST (#6614) #
Mike, I think it bears asking ... when all is said and done, will A-rod be the greatest third baseman ever to play the game? It's probably time to stop the Hans Wagner comparisons and start calling up Michael Jack Schmidt.
robertdudek - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 07:47 PM EST (#6615) #
It's important to note that A-Rod went from the best hitter's park in the AL to a park that helps pitchers and lefthanded batters a bit, at the expense of righthanded hitters.

His Texas numbers are inflated; therefore, he's been in slow decline since 2000. He hasn't made any progress in his K/W rate since 2000, either. He had just 62 extra base hits last year, after three straight seasons with over 80.

A great, great player, whose shift to third base cuts his value by about 15 runs a year.
_NIck - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 08:37 PM EST (#6616) #
I think A-Rod may be over rated. When he was in Texas his team never could win. And though he played well in a transition year in NYY the New Yorl offense remained just about the same as it was b4 A-rod arrived.
I still dont see how A-rod won the MVP over Delgado a year ago, Delgado was better in most useful Most Valuable Player Vote. Average, RISP, RBI.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 09:31 PM EST (#6617) #
Mick, it seemed prudent to treat A-Rod as a shortstop. He's put in 8 seasons there and 1 season as a third baseman. The fact that he's a far superior shortstop to Jeter played no role in my decision, I assure you.:)

One more note on him. He stole more bases in 2004 than he has since he was 22, and he did so with a terrific 7-1 success ratio.
_RCS - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 09:33 PM EST (#6618) #
Nick, you're joking, right? If it weren't for Barry Bonds, A-Rod would be the greatest player on earth now. No exceptions.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 09:45 PM EST (#6619) #
A-Rod's performance during the years 2001-2003 was basically stable. I expect that he will return to that level of performance (with adjustments for the park differences Robert has noted) for the next few years. I attribute his decline last year (beyond the park effects) to the fact that he was learning a new position.
_NIck - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:01 PM EST (#6620) #
Bonds is loaded with Stereoids, at least A-rod doesnt lok as Juiced up
robertdudek - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:04 PM EST (#6621) #

With all due respect, I don't think learning an easier (albeit different) position should have any effect on batting. He simply wasn't as good as his numbers in Texas might have you think, and he's in a park now that doesn't suit his hitting talents. I don't think his numbers will be much better.

I think Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds possibly Beltre might now be better players than Rodriguez, now that he is a third baseman (i.e. he aint gonna be playing short until Jeter leaves the Yankees).

According to my park-adjusted and position-adjusted stats (which I regard as superior to offensive VORP), A-Rod ranked 22nd among position players in the majors last year.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:26 PM EST (#6622) #
Robert, you might very well be right. I take home/road splits with a grain of salt, but A-Rod's away line didn't change much between 2002-03 and 2004.

I'd definitely rather have Pujols going forward than A-Rod. Rolen and Edmonds are difficult calls; both were better last year, but over the long haul because of durability and consistency questions, I'd rather have A-Rod.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:43 PM EST (#6623) #
I am getting annoyed at Scott Carson. He took a cheap shot at John Kerry in a column a week ago, and now he continues his grudge against Pedro Martinez in his newest one. He fails to point out that there hasn't been a better pitcher in baseball the last 6 years than Pedro. Instead of putting that, he bashes Pedro's hairstyle? and the way he chums around with the other players on the team. I know Scott is a meat and potatoes, conservative type guy when he's evaluating the league (in which he does a superb job most of the time) but he needs to leave out the political shots in his work, and his obvious grudges against some players (Pedro, Ramirez, to name a few, he took a shot at Pedro calling him not even the best pitcher on his staff.) Scott, just because Curt Schilling is a born again Christian (nothing wrong with that though) doesn't mean he's any better of a person than Pedro. I'm sure Pedro has good qualities too, just FOX loves the flag wavers and Bush supporters like Schilling. (like during the playoffs, depicting Schilling as an American hero.) Sorry if I offended Scott or any conservative minds in here, and Scottie I love you and your're work, I just think you're grudges and way of thinking are affecting a bit of your otherwise outstanding work!
_Fawaz K - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:59 PM EST (#6624) #
I suspect the Kerry crack was little more than a joke (shit, I'm an uber-liberal Bush-hater that found much of the flip-flip propoganda absurd, and I still told flip-flop jokes). As for Pedro - Carson's far from the only one that finds him to be petulant and, after this contract fiasco, a mercenary. He did say the last 7 seasons were successful and I don't think he said that Schilling was a better person (it's implied, but that's more to do with his distaste for Pedro), merely a better pitcher. He's right.
_Jonny German - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:01 PM EST (#6625) #
Pete, there's no need to post the same thing in two threads, and we'd appreciate it if you didn't hijack threads like this one that have a specific focus. Thanks.
_Jim - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:09 PM EST (#6626) #
Yes, of course, Adrian Beltre is a better player.

Beltre Career OPS +


So in order
A Rod Age 24 - 167
A Rod Age 25 - 164
Beltre Age 26 -163
A Rod Age 20! - 160
A Rod Age 26 - 152
A Rod Age 27 - 148
A Rod Age 22 - 135
A Rod Age 23 - 133
A Rod Age 28 - 133
A Rod Age 21 - 119

So, out of their ten best seasons - ARod had 9 of them. A Rod had 2 seasons better then the year Beltre just had (and he had them at SS).
He's got 205 steals at an 80% clip, Beltre has 62 at a 70% clip.

Beltre's 3 OBP before this season were 310/303/290. None of them were an OPS+ of 100. Never hit more then 23 HR before this year. Never drove in more then 85 runs. Even with the slow 'decline' of A-Rod he's got a career slugging percentage over .100 higher then Beltre and a career OBP that is over .050 higher.

Yes, there are some serious park effects in play here, but they are included in those OPS+ numbers.

ARod is also at least the equal of Beltre at third and is one of the better shortstops in the game. If you want to penalize A-Rod for Yankees' stupidity that is your decision.

All I see here is a truly brilliant player who had an off year and a good player with a lot of potential that had one big season after years of disappointment. There is not an objective way in the world to say that Adrian Beltre is a better player then Alex Rodriguez. He had a better 2004. That is all.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:16 PM EST (#6627) #
Sorry bout that hijacking. I now know what that means. I apologize.

As for A-Rod, the guy will go down as the best shortstop of all time. Hands down. And Barry Bonds? The biggest cheater.
_Jim - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:17 PM EST (#6628) #
'And Barry Bonds? The biggest cheater.'

Yeah, if you don't count the guys who layed down in the World Series. Or Hal Chase.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:24 PM EST (#6629) #
Last time I checked even the guys who layed the World Series weren't treated like Gods in the Now generation like Barry Bonds was. Unbelievable.
robertdudek - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:31 PM EST (#6630) #
I said nothing about their career accomplishments. I was speaking of who might be better than A-Rod right now. Beltre is 3 years younger than A-Rod and had a much better year in 2004. I don't think it's a slam dunk for A-Rod going forward, do you?

A-Rod's value is tied up with the Yankees and the Yankees have chosen to play him at third. In fact, A-Rod chose to have his value reduced (in order to join the Yankees). So if you want to blame someone for that - blame A-Rod.
robertdudek - Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:36 PM EST (#6631) #
That's just it. It may LOOK like A-Rod had an off-year, but judging from the OPS+ chart of his career, it looks more like he's just in the slow deecline phase of his career, and 2004 fits right into that scenario.
_Daryn - Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 08:57 AM EST (#6632) #
Texas, 2003, With A-Rod, 71-91
Texas, 2004, W/o A-Rod, 89-73

Seattle, 2000, With A-Rod 91-71
Seattle, 2001, W/o A-Rod 116-46

Now, I'm NOT saying A-Rod is no good... he's VERY good.. I've had him in Fantasy Ball since he was in AAA and would take him first every year, even if he doesn't finish first every year....

BUT.. baseball is a team sport.. and both teams he left did +-20 Wins better the year after he left.... Its are argumnent AGAINST tying up lots of payroll in star players...

Note When A-Rod went TO Texas, they went
Texas, 2000, W/o A-Rod 71-91
Texas, 2001, With A-Rod 73-89

When A-Rod went TO NYY, they went.
NYY, 2003, W/o A-Rod, 101-61
NYY, 2004, With A-Rod, 101-61

Yes a bunch of mitigating factors, but he "seems" to make a bigger impact when he LEAVES a team!
_Jim - Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 09:18 AM EST (#6633) #
I can't help but look at those track records and say that I think A-Rod will be better from here on out with about a 95/5 certainty.

That year from Beltre is just so out of whack with everything else he has ever done. The only way you can suggest that Beltre is better then A-Rod is off of one huge year that I doubt Beltre will ever touch again. I like Beltre, think he's a very good player and I'm glad he finally broke out. I just think to claims that he's better then A-Rod is an overreaction to one year.

A-Rod's OPS + were on the decline, but I don't know if I trust park factors enough to really go crazy over that 'decline'. When you are as good as he was at 24, 25 years old, it's nearly impossible to get better....
robertdudek - Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 12:16 PM EST (#6634) #

You don't trust park factors? Do you also not believe curve balls exists?
_Jim - Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 01:21 PM EST (#6635) #
I trust park factors.

I mean that if I see OPS+ of 152 and 157, I think that 5 points of difference in something like OPS+ is in it's error range. While 157 was probably a better season then 152, I don't consider it written in stone.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 25 2004 @ 03:00 AM EST (#6636) #
Right now, as a shortstop, A-Rod is basically even with Vaughn (I think probably a little better, but it's close); and they're both a little behind Wagner. If he's not going to be a shortstop anymore, he can hardly overtake Wagner.

And Barry Bonds? The biggest cheater.

a) How Bonds is a bigger cheater than Giambi or Caminiti is unclear to me;

b) How Bonds is a bigger cheater than Whitey Ford or Don Drysdale or Gaylord Perry (or Graig Nettles or Norm Cash or Albert Belle)... is also a little hard to fathom;

c) How Bonds is a bigger cheater than Pete Rose seems extremely dubious;

d) How Bonds is a bigger cheater than Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte is flat-out dumb.

even the guys who layed the World Series weren't treated like Gods in the Now generation like Barry Bonds was

Fifty years after he died, eighty years after he tanked the bloody World Series people still want to put Joe Jackson in the Hall of Fame. There are still books being written about them; we had D.B. Sweeney as Joe Jackson in one movie and Ray Liotta as Jackson in another, both of which bought into the Mythologizing of the Dumb and Ignorant bit that's gone on far too long.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 25 2004 @ 03:06 AM EST (#6637) #
the New York offense remained just about the same as it was b4 A-rod arrived.

Did you happen to notice that Jason Giambi fell right off the edge of the earth last year, and that the guy Rodriguez replaced in the lineup (Soriano) was a pretty fair hitter himself?

That the Yankee offense actually scored 20 more runs than they had the previous year despite losing Giambi and Soriano was largely due to Rodriguez and Matsui.
_RCS - Monday, December 27 2004 @ 12:36 AM EST (#6638) #
No won loves the best, and AROD & Bonds are the best. Pujols is a lovely player, but no way I take him over AROD. No way.

I will never understand the venom against AROD. People have forgotten that the party line, the word on the middle school playgroud to which we've reduced our lives, about Michael Jordan pre-title was that he was selfish, greedy, incapable of making his teammates better, a flawed player around whom a champion could not be built, and a player who couldn't get it done when it mattered. These folks sang a different tune with the deification, ascension of Jordan in the 1990s. I think AROD will have this day in the sun, too.
Hall Watch 2004- Alex Rodriguez | 25 comments | Create New Account
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