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  1. Is there any significant split for Rodriguez when he was on the Yankees vs. his other teams, Seattle and Texas?

    Comment by Anonymous — October 9, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Another thing to point to for his lower post-season numbers is that most of those PA’s have come with the Yankees, while A-Rod had monster seasons in 2005 and 2007 for the Yankees, he was consistently a better player from 1996-2003 a period in which he collected 57 if his 309 post-season PA’s (obviously none with the Rangers arguably the best three year period of his career). He actually has more PA’s (71) in the last three seasons when he has failed to put up a 127 wRC+ in the regular season. So his playoff numbers are far more skewed to the more pedestrian latter end of his career then the impressive beginning of it.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  3. A-Rod had pretty good post-season numbers with the Mariners. He obviously never made the play-offs with the Rangers.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  4. And then there’s this:

    Comment by nickolai — October 9, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  5. Thank you for this. Thank you so much. I’m actually pretty astonished by the Jeter clutch rating. Just goes to show you how pervasive The Narrative is. Not that he hasn’t been clutch necessarily, but not nearly to the extent that most people think.

    P.S. Second to last sentence typo: “Have have hit well in October.”

    Comment by Matt Hunter — October 9, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  6. I think one of the main reasons for the unfair treatment of A-Rod is that his poor performances in the postseason (while still covering a small number of PA’s relative to his overall body of postseason work) have covered many years because they often occurred when the Yankees were knocked out relatively early in the playoffs. People don’t realize that the 15 games he played in 2009 (for example) should be weighted about equally to the 18 games he played in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. Unfortunately, people see this as “1 year of success” vs “4 years of failure.”

    Comment by Michael — October 9, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  7. But I made The Flip. Let’s see ARod do that.

    Comment by Jeter — October 9, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  8. Bewteen 2005 and 2007, the Yanks had 3 straight ALDS exits where A-rod hit .127 with 1HR and 1 RBI combined. Not to mention going 2 for 21 in games 4-7 of the 2004 Boston series. (While making 25 million) That is how you earn a choker reputation.

    Comment by Jabronies — October 9, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  9. There’s only one relevant statistic when it comes to the word “clutch,” and that’s R.I.S.P. Batting Average. Tell us what A-Rods is in the postseason since he’s been a Yankee. THAT is the trth, nothing else.

    BTW–I’ve never heard Jeter referred to as the games best player. A-Rod? All the time. He’s come thru ONE YEAR. 2009, and even then he had a subpar WS.

    Jeters biggest clutch moment that got them to a WS for the Yankees wasn’t in the batters box. It was in Oakland. It was a play no other guy in the league makes and it allowed the Yanks to beat the team in baseball that year.

    Jeter’s “clutch” tag wasn’t dreamed up. His RISP batting this year was TWICE as good as A-Rods, especially with 2 outs.

    Comment by Mike Graney — October 9, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  10. It’s silly to judge Arod based on 10 post season plate appearances this year. It’s also silly however to judge 37 year old Arod based in his career playoff numbers, or career regular season numbers for that matter.

    Arod is not that great of a hitter anymore, plain and simple. He still posted a solid batting line on the year, but since coming back from a broken bone, he’s put up a .316 wOBA, with a slap happy .106 ISO.

    His poor performance down the stretch might have just been a rough patch, or he might still be suffering from lingering effects of the injury. I don’t know. At best he is an above average, but not great hitter. At worst, he’s slightly below average. This is not the knee jerk Arod critiquing of years past.

    Comment by Jkp — October 9, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  11. This is exactly how the reputation is “earned.” Not necessarily fairly though. (I mean look even at the ALDS that year or his overall ALCS or postseason numbers that year.)

    Comment by Michael — October 9, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  12. If RISP avg is the only way to measure “clutchness”, then I suppose Granderson was hugely more “clutch” with his single with RISP last night (though it didn’t score a run), than Martin was with his HR in the 9th in game 1.

    Comment by Michael — October 9, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  13. We all get how he gets the reputation, he was the best player in the game, the highest paid, on the team with the highest expectations. But sorry this argument doesn’t hold water. A-Rod was excellent in the playoffs in 2004, and he wasn’t bad in 2007, .267/.353/.467. So basically the point is that in 2005 and 2006 he had 48 PA’s in 9 games in which he was terrible at the plate. This is meaningless statistical noise and is definitely SSS.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  14. I could watch that all day. God I hate ARod.

    Comment by Jim — October 9, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  15. But you have to remember that the playoffs in general is always small sample size. It’s also, really, the only part of the baseball season that matters. So when you come up short again and again and again in the playoffs, even if it’s a small fraction of the PA’s that you produced well during the regular season, it’s going to stick out.

    The problem with the basic premise of the article is that it ignores the fact that, yes, three bad games in an ALDS your team loses count just as much as 15 good games you had in taking your team to the World Series. Alex was fantastic in the 2009 playoffs; we never would have won without him. He rightly gets credit for that. Other than that, he’s a disaster. He was great up through game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, but ever since then, Alex’ failings have tended to go hand in hand with the Yankees’ failings, and, rightly or wrongly, he’s going to be blamed for that even if it’s correlative and not causative (although, of course, it is at least partially the latter).

    Comment by Jim — October 9, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  16. Of course any talk about “clutchness” has SS issues. How many times in a career will any player come up down 1 with 2 outs in the 9th of a deciding game of a playoff game. Its fun to call Arod a choker, hes choked in several huge spots, theres the time hes was moved down to 8th in the order, the time he was fed popcorn, the mirror pics, etc. As the highest paid player in the league more is expected of him than 267/.353/.467. Case closed. Hes a front running choker!

    Comment by Jabronies — October 9, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  17. I think part of Arod’s “not clutch in the playoffs” reputation comes from at least a feeling that he has made a large number of final outs of games. He always seems to come up with 2 out in the ninth with the Yankees down by a run. And he never seems to hit the home run we all want him to. Instead he strikes out to end the game. See last night, see game 5 of the 2011 ALDS, see game 6 of the 2010 ALCS. I’m sure there are others, and it would be interesting to see how many final outs Arod has made in the playoffs compared to other Yankees. Ok, in 2009 he was a monster. But the next two years he struck out to the end the season. Sure, it’s bad luck that he keeps coming up in those situations. Sure, someone else could have hit a home run earlier in the game. But in the end, Arod always seems to strike out to the end the game.

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  18. He hasn’t come up short “again and again” he came up short in 2005 and 2006. In 2000 against the Yankees he hit .409/.480/.773, in 2004 against the Twins he hit .421/.476/.737, in 2009 against the Twins he hit .455/.500/1.000 and then against the Angels .429/.567/.952. Isn’t it fun picking out random series to make a point rather than look at the entire body of work. I think from the series above I have proven that A-Rod is the greatest post-season hitter of all time.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  19. Dave,

    One thing that jumps out at me that needs to be factored in is where Jeter and A-Rod are talent-wise at this point in their careers. Obviously, neither is the player they used to be, but it seems Rodriguez is in more serious decline, though if you’d asked a couple of years ago, I’d have said Jeter. Yes, A-Rod was out with injuries that limited him to 122 games, but he did little to distinguish himself, especially for someone being ridiculously overpaid at $30M. Meanwhile, through part of the year Jeter was being touted as a candidate to win the MVP award; that was unrealistic, of course, with the stats players like Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton were amassing, but Jeter at least deserved mention, leading the league with 216 hits to go with 99 runs scored and a .316 BA. I think this needs to be factored into any discussion of what they can bring in October. In a game situation, A-Rod’s still more of a threat to hit one out (though the cool weather may limit home runs overall in the current series with the Orioles), but he’s also more strikeout prone. So, if the Yankees are in need of a blast to get even, like last night, Rodriguez is still more likely to hit one out, but if they need someone to get a rally started, Jeter’s still that guy, with an uncanny ability to deliver going to the opposite field.

    Comment by Ken Francis — October 9, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  20. It was statistical noise, but it was hardly meaningless.

    While his 48 awful plate appearances in 2005 and 2006 playoffs were completely non-predictive, they were HIGHLY meaningful to the Yankees. Just as his fantastic performance in the 2004 playoffs was both non-predictive and HIGHLY meaningful to the Yankees.

    Comment by David — October 9, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  21. Is it more clutch to get an RBI single with a runner on second or a home run with a runner on first? Because one of these is not counted in RISP average.

    Comment by JG — October 9, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  22. Ha. I should really refresh before posting when I’ve had the tab sitting open for a while.

    Comment by JG — October 9, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  23. I think this is true to an extent. Power is the difference in perception between Jeter and A-Rod. The point is you expect him to hit a home run. If he singles, or walks he didn’t do his job because he was supposed to be “the guy” and passing the baton isn’t good enough. When Jeter is up there is no expectation of a HR because he’s not a power hitter. So if nobody’s on and he gets out nobody cares because the guys in front of him weren’t on for him to drive in, if he gets a single or a walk, it was clutch and it’s somebody elses fault that he wasn’t driven in. The difference in expectation means that A-Rod disappoints the ludicrous expectation so much more.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  24. I think some of these numbers may be skewed by his MONSTER 2009 ALDS, ALCS, and World Series… I don’t have have the numbers, and you guys are both inspiring and intimidating with all your knowledge, but this is my feeling. 2009 Yankees win the World Series. A-Rod hitting out of his mind… two game winning homers off the opposing team’s closer (how’s that for clutch?). Every other post season with A-Rod, Yankees haven’t won the World Series.

    Comment by GregH — October 9, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  25. This is a great point, especially in light of the Jeter comparison. Jeter has followed up every full regular season of his career except one (2008) with at least some postseason play, so it makes sense that his playoff numbers match his regular season numbers pretty closely.

    Comment by Ian R. — October 9, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  26. To David’s point, I realize its not meaningless to the Yankees, it’s just meaningless when assessing his true talent level.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  27. thats funny, pick one thing he does and say he deserves MVP honorable mention. What about his range at SS or his lack of power. There are likely 15 players in the AL who would be picked ahead of Jeter in any AL MVP discussion…

    Comment by Aggie E — October 9, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  28. The real issue is that A-Rod is a jerk, therefore people will hate him regardless of what reality is.

    Comment by nice guy — October 9, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  29. Confirmation bias. Pretty much sums up ‘mainstream’ baseball media/followers.

    Comment by snoop LION — October 9, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  30. It’s a good enough point that it’s worth making twice.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    Baseball Reference has all of his post-season stats. His 2009 post-season does skew his numbers up, but that’s the nature of stats, the point is that you should look at the largest numbers available to gain true perspective of what is relevant and what is just an outlier. So look at his post-season numbers and decide for yourself what you think is an outlier.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  32. Right. I don’t think this is the same type of criticism leveled at arod. People used to complain that he amassed stats when games were decided and failed in high-leverage situations. Now, fans are concerned that age and injuries have slowed his bat down to the point where he is simply incapable of earning his salary. He either needs to track down some more “bole” or strap in for a long four years (although the $30 million a year will probably mitigate a bit for the hard feelings).

    Comment by rockymountainhigh — October 9, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  33. I think this is over-blown too. I don’t think A-Rod is likeable, and Derek Jeter is loved because he’s immensely likeable. But in actuality A-Rod has taken it upon himself to engage young players and work with them and coach them, while Jeter leads by silent example. I think A-Rod is the better team mate.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  34. Your point about expecting Arod to hit a home run, while not expecting Jeter to hit a home run is true. But my point was more about Arod making the final out of games. Google “Alex Rodriguez strikes out to end season” and you find two youtube videos of Arod doing just that. Google “Derek Jeter strikes out to end season” and you don’t find any videos of Jeter doing so. In fact, you find a video of Arod striking out to end the season. Arod didn’t have to hit a home run to avoid this. He could have walked, he could have singled, he could have grounded out. But he struck out. Like a bitch

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  35. Jeter can make plays that I can’t?

    Comment by Brendan Ryan — October 9, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  36. Girardi is cutting off Cano from Jeter and Ichiro by hitting arod third. It makes no sense.

    Comment by rockymountainhigh — October 9, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  37. I think part of the reputation is unfair and undeserved. However, Arod’s playoff numbers just with the Yankees (when the pressure and spotlight have been exponentially greater) have been less impressive than his overall playoff numbers. In 55 postseason games with the Yankees:

    252 PA, 205 AB, a .254/.381/.463 slash line, 10 HR, 33 RBI. The on base percentage is impressive, and basically matches his regular season career line, but the average is pretty horrible for a guy with a .300 career regular season line. And the slugging percentage is about 100 points below his career line.

    Now, as other posters have noted, ARod’s career with the Yankees has encompassed his current decline phase, so perhaps it is unfair to compare it to his career lines that also encompass his younger years as well as the decline. I mean, he was 28 when he started his Yankee career, so it makes sense that his postseason numbers wouldn’t match his overall career numbers that include all the great seasons with the Mariners and Rangers.

    However, his career regular season numbers with the Yankees are only slightly below his career numbers overall. In 1249 regular season games with the Yankees:

    5476 PA, 4673 AB, a .292/.387/.538 slash line, 302 HR, 960 RBI.

    So ARod has been a markedly worse hitter, especially in terms of hits and power, in the postseason with the Yankees than in the regular season with the Yankees. Some of that can be attributed to facing better pitching, but the slash lines alone tell the story:

    .254/.381/.463 vs .292/.387/.538

    Whether it’s not being clutch or not adjusting to postseason pitching, ARod turns from an excellent (borderline elite) regular season Yankee to a good, above average postseason Yankee.

    Comment by DL80 — October 9, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  38. I personally hope we get a Yankees Reds World Series to see if Arod breaks out his karate on Bronson Arroyo again.

    Comment by Tim — October 9, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  39. I did some number crunching the other day while thinking about this. While with the Yank’s he’s put up a .864 OPS in the playoffs, which I was surprised about considering the amount of negative attention he receives. However if you take out his big year in 09 his numbers fall to .763 OPS, which was more around what I was expecting, and more deserving of criticism especially coming from a player of his magnitude and paycheck. ARod’s overall numbers look good, but if we assess 09 as a career year per se as we do with other players with career years in general. We can see his performance outside of 09 leaves room for justifiable criticism. Granted I’ve yet to calculate the rest of his numbers as Dave did, but I think his different OPS’ at least gives us a general idea of what we he’s so chastised about.

    Comment by AJP — October 9, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  40. Also the fact that Jeter has done it for one team changes the perception amongst the fans. Yankee fans don’t really count his Mariners stats into the equation, because he wasn’t under the NYC lights, and Mariner fans certainly aren’t going to stick up for A-Rod and say that he was pretty good in the post-season for them.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  41. Yes because he’s a good enough player to be on a post-season team. Teams that start no bat players like you will hardly ever get to the post-season. It’s hard to make plays from the couch.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  42. So is the point that he struck out? Is a K to end the season worse than other kinds of outs? I guess Alex just needs to apologize for being one of the greatest players of all time and give his money to charity. Because the hate for him is really over the top.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  43. No, Jeter’s being seriously considered by some sports writers as one of the top candidates. And using your argument, say there ARE 15 players more deserving than Jeter, then there would be 115 more deserving than A-Rod.! Seriously, though, the Yankees won the AL East, so someone has to be considered as potential MVP. Obviously, Robinson Cano gets consideration, but Jeter, too.

    Comment by Ken Francis — October 9, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  44. Oh, yeah the $$$ vs. the boos. LOLs

    Comment by Ken Francis — October 9, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  45. I nearly forgot…

    Comment by Ken Francis — October 9, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  46. Slugging percentage uses BA, so to say his slugging percentage dropping .74 points is mostly due to the .38 point drop off in his BA. So really the only thing that drops precipitously is his BA. I don’t have his BABIP’s, for the playoffs, so this could be bad luck, or it could be that pitchers are pitching around him, see his increased walk rate. It really isn’t necessarily indicative of a performance drop off.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  47. NO! No skankees in the WS. I wish no good fortune on that team. I want an Orioles/Nats series!

    Comment by kiss my GO NATS — October 9, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  48. FYI — The reason this fella knows so much about what ARod and Jeter are really like is because “Preston” is the internet nickname that Tony Pena uses when he’s reading FanGraphs.

    Comment by bowie — October 9, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  49. Yes, if we take out 22% of his PA’s when he was absolutely dominating, his numbers look bad. Isn’t this true of basically everyone everywhere?

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — October 9, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  50. Dustin Pedroia did the exact same thing against the Indians a few years ago.

    Comment by Go Tribe — October 9, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  51. Just saying… in the playoffs, the last three times Arod has been up with 2 outs in the ninth and the Yankees losing, he struck out to the end the game.

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  52. “His 2009 post-season does skew his numbers up, but that’s the nature of stats”

    Couldn’t agree more. People keep wanting to discount his 2009 season, which just so happens to mean taking away his best performances. It would be like arguing against Trout’s 2012 by saying, “His numbers are skewed by his June and July.”

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — October 9, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  53. I know nothing about what they are really like. I know that Jeter’s public persona is a PR persons dream. Alex on the other hand has done just about everything to make him publicly unlikeable. However player after player who comes up with the Yankees credits Alex Rodriguez with helping their development, Cano, Melky Cabrera, Eduardo Nunez, etc. all say that Alex helped them out and there are often articles written about A-Rod staying after practice to coach extra BP with the young players. Would I ever want to hang out with Alex and have a beer, probably not. But I definitely want him on my baseball team.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  54. Read a book…better yet, read The Book.

    There are problems with the Yankee lineup. Cano not hitting 3rd is not one of them.

    Comment by Los — October 9, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  55. And even removing those PA’s your saying Alex hits about the same as Cal Ripken.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  56. But Dustin Pedroia is a hard nosed player that plays the game the right way!!!

    Comment by leoleo — October 9, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  57. Yankees get considered for the MVP just for being Yankees. They could hit .230 all year and some NY/NJ sportswriter will vote for them. In my experience no place on earth has more home bias than NY/NJ. There are more than 20 players more deserving than Jeter for the MVP. In fact, Jeter is 32nd among AL hitters and 45th among all AL players in WAR in 2012. A great season for an old player, but nowhere near the MVP!!! Not even close! If I could vote, I would vote for guys like Josh Reddick and Matt Weiters long before I even considered Jeter! But my higher place votes would go to Trout, Cabrera, Verlander, and then Cano.

    Comment by kiss my GO NATS — October 9, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  58. Somewhat unrelated question: is there a way to see only postseason stats on the leaderboard? Trying to see A-Rod’s postseason stats for just the Yankees…

    Comment by Matt Hunter — October 9, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  59. Lulz

    Comment by Robert Andino — October 9, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  60. Excuse me, but you have to put the numbers in context. When your in the playoffs you’re facing the Justin Verlander’s of the world nearly everyday and you never ever face the Bruce Chens or even worse the Brian Andersons of this world. Having an OPS > than 800 lifetime against the Verlanders should get someone automatic consideration for the the Hall of the most amazing people ever to have lived no matter what they did club! AROD has been a great hitter in every context and I hate his guts because he is juice fueled Yankee!

    Comment by kiss my GO NATS — October 9, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  61. To David’s point,

    I honestly read “HIGHLY” as HGH at first and thought he was on to something

    Comment by diegosanchez — October 9, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  62. everything post 2000

    Comment by jim — October 9, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  63. “Is a K to end the season worse than other kinds of outs?”

    Preston, there are still some Mets fans that foolishly hate Beltran because of how the ’06 season ended. When it comes to a narrative, yes, a K to end the season is worse than other kinds of outs.

    Comment by vivalajeter — October 9, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  64. I agree with others who talk about his monster 2009. Overall, I think the narrative is consistent with the way he’s actually performed.

    He was great in 2004 up until the Yankees were up 3-0 on the Sox. The Sox had their historic comeback, and Arod was terrible over those 4 games. Then he sucked in 2005. He was even worse in 2006, with only 1 hit in the series. They Yankees were out in the first round both years, and he was terrible. 2007 came around, and he had an incredible season (9.8 WAR) – but he was nothing special in the playoffs, and the Yankees lost in the first round again. Over the course of 4 years, they blew a 3-0 lead over their sworn enemy, then they lost in the first round the next 3 years; all the while, Arod was nothing special (and at times, he was pathetic).

    2009 came around and he had a monster post season. People gave him credit that year, and he deserved it – he was terrific, and they won the WS. The next 2 years he sucked again though.

    So overall, he was fine up until the point when they were up 3-0 over the Sox, and nobody considered him a choker up until that point. But he didn’t do anything meaningful until 2009, so he justifiably took the blame. He hasn’t done anything since 2009, and he’s justifiably taking the blame.

    If they criticized him before 2004, that might be a problem. If they downplayed his role in 2009, that might be a problem. But he deserves the criticism from being a lousy hitter in the other years.

    Comment by vivalajeter — October 9, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  65. But it is one year of success versus four years of failure. Him hitting in 2009 and not hitting in the other years is part of the reason why he played more games in 2009 and fewer in the other years. …perform or go home.

    Comment by Jason H. — October 9, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  66. I believe the very reasonable argument for dropping A-Rod in the batting order comes not from an unfounded belief that he is not a clutch player in the postseason, but from the correct observation that he is not hitting well now, has not been driving the ball regularly for some time, and will probably never again be the hitter he used to be.

    I don’t believe the idea that the #3 hitter is less important than 1, 2, 4 & 5 – that conclusion was drawn from an interesting study with flawed methodology. What’s abundantly clear is that Robinson Cano would get up sooner, probably with more people on base, and possibly more often, without a struggling A-Rod between him and Ichiro.

    Comment by Jon L. — October 9, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  67. I put my money where my mouth is and went through every Yankees playoff game since Arod joined the team and recorded what happened when the Yankees were losing or tied with two outs in the ninth inning or later. This has to be about as clutch a situation as possible. Either win the game, tie the game, or go home (or keep playing, one of those…).

    In these situations, Arod went 1 for 8, with 4 Ks, 2 BBs, 1 RBI, and 5 LOB. Not a great line.

    Jeter, strangely, has had only two such plate appearances since Arod joined the team, and went 0 for 2 with a K and 2 LOB. So he sucks too.

    But the absolute worst Yankee in this situation has been Ruben Sierra. 1 for 7, 4 Ks, 7 LOB, no RBIs. No wonder the Yankees collapsed in 2004. Their starting lineup for Game 7 of the ALCS included geriatric versions of Gary Sheffield, Kenny Lofton, Tony Clark, and the great Miguel Cairo. Holy shit, how did I watch them.

    The only Yankee to have any real success in is this clutchest of all clutch situations is Jorge Posada. 2 for 5 with a HR, and 4 RBIs.

    Overall, the Yankees have not been good in these situations. They have gone 13 for 63 with 12 BBs (.206 BA, .333 OBP), and Posada and Arod have been the only ones to drive in a run.

    So this isn’t the end all be all of where or not Arod sucks and Jeter is great. In the 2009 playoffs Arod hit 2 game tying homeruns in the ninth or later. In the 2004 ALDS Arod stole third and scored the winning run in the ninth one game, and drove in the tying run in extras in another. In the 2009 WS Jeter grounded into a rally killing DP in the ninth of game 5. My point was, at least recently, Arod has been as bad as you could possibly be in the AB you’re going to remember all winter, the last one of the season.

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  68. I think what we’re really forgetting here is that arod is cooked and couldn’t hit a ball off a tee into the outfield.

    Comment by mjmetro — October 9, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  69. Dave,

    One of the problems with your analysis is that you are aggregating Arod’s postseason career. This is not how fans experience it, however. Fans experience it at bat by at bat. For this reason, trends are more important than the aggregate. As a Yankee fan, I can tell you exactly how we experience Arod’s post-season performances. As a Yankee, Arod either feels like the greatest hitter in the world (2004 until the last 4 games, 2009), or an automatic out (every other year). The expectation for him is set by the times he seems like the greatest hitter in the world. We’ve seen what he can do in the playoffs. Hell, he carried the entire team in 2009. That is what I expect every year. But, more often than not, what I get is the automatic out version, and it’s disappointing.

    Jeter, on the other hand: old reliable. You never have to worry about that guy. It feels like he always does his thing, because he doesn’t have the massive bimodal distribution of performance that Arod does.

    I have no problem with the narrative because, as a Yankees fan, I want the team to win the WS every year. Arod can win the whole thing himself some years, but only hurts the team the other years. Jeter, he helps the team every year.

    That is my perception as a fan. However, it would be interesting to know whether the hot/cold players would produce more WS wins through time, or wether the steady-as-she-goes players would. I suppose it would depend on how the frequency and magnitude of the hot spells.

    Comment by Jason H. — October 9, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  70. The SSS doesn’t mean that it is meaningless statistical noise, it just means you can’t rule it out. There may very well be a real effect going on. SSS means that you cannot test whether there is a real effect or statistical noise because you lack statistical power to distinguish between the two hypotheses.

    Comment by Jason H. — October 9, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  71. steroids.

    that is all.

    Comment by bSpittle — October 9, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  72. The “Arod is not clutch” narrative is almost as played out as the “mainstream baseball media has narratives” narrative.

    Comment by Colin — October 9, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  73. There really are common narrative though:

    Here is ESPN asking whether Arod should be moved down in the lineup. If you’ve watched the games, you’d see that Arod has been swinging the bat ok. He’s hit the ball hard a few times, but hasn’t found holes. If there Yankees thought Arod was their number 3 hitter before the series began there should be no reason, based on the past two games, to change that. …yet, there is ESPN begging for him to be dropped in the order, so they can then write about how he had to be dropped in the order.

    …the FanGraphs narrative is, of course, that the “mainstream” media is always wrong, and that they are the keepers of the truth, all the while completely oblivious to the fact that FanGraphs is a full fledged member of the mainstream media. …a bit like conservative pundits complaining about the media’s liberal bias from their perch in the media….

    Comment by Jason H. — October 9, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  74. I realize this does not address the all-too-imporant Jeter-vs.-Rodriguez debate, but it’s something over which I’ve been puzzling for the last month or so. Ichiro’s hit pretty well since coming to New York (.345 wOBA in 240 PA), but his overall season was rather poor, and I’m not sure which version they’re expecting to appear in the two hole.

    I understand that Girardi is fond of following Torre’s model for going R-L-R (with a liberal helping of S) as much as possible down the batting order, but just as a thought, wouldn’t Jeter-Rodriguez-Cano-Teixeira or even Jeter-Swisher-Cano-Rodriguez be an improvement? Even as his numbers dip with age and injury, A-Rod remains a quality hitter. Playoffs are just games against other good teams when the temperature is below the season’s mean.

    Comment by AC of DC — October 9, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  75. I love Alex Rodriguez.

    Comment by Daniel — October 9, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  76. I could be way off here but from what I have seen from A-Rod I would imagine that his huge 2009 post season (“clutch” hit after “clutch” hit) would have really boosted his post season WPA. If we take that out I would imagine that the rest is fairly poor.

    Comment by Jarrod — October 9, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  77. Mike Axisa from RAB also wrote about this today:

    The main thing I noticed about the article is that it is saying A-Rod should be moved down in the order yet it fails to come up with a better solution that the current one i.e. he can’t name someone that will be better positioned to hit in A-Rod’s spot.

    Comment by Jarrod — October 9, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  78. But refusing to not hit Ichiro in a spot that isn’t second is hardly insane! I don’t not not like your post, though.

    Comment by Matthias — October 9, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  79. Okay I’ve been laughing up to now but “like a bitch”? You are making no effort to understand baseball and no effort to understand human beings. I’m sure Derek Jeter has a lot of thoughts about Alex Rodriguez but I’d be surprised if a guy with 15 years in the majors equates striking out with manliness, whatever that even is. Shit happens. Alex Rodriguez is an all time great.

    Comment by Daniel — October 9, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  80. Not to mention that the words “markedly worse” implies some sort of significant drop. Just 200 or 300 plate appearances is not enough when we’re talking about a 39-point average drop against better competition.

    Comment by Matthias — October 9, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  81. If we take out the at bats where he gets hits he’d really suck! In fact he has a batting average of .000, HA, A-Rod sucks.

    Comment by IHATEAROD — October 9, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  82. I think you will find that as far as “we all” go, most of us were quite happy with those strikeouts.

    Comment by Tim — October 9, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  83. OMG, how on earth did you run those numbers so fast? Your math is amazing!

    My point is pretty simple really, A-Rod has been to the Post Season with the Yanks 8 times (including this year) and 2009 was the only year he really helped out.

    2009 post season:
    0.365/0.500/0.808, 6hr, 18rbi.

    Post Season with the Yankees (excluding 2009)
    0.176/0.302/0.263, 4hr, 15rbi.

    Looks pretty clear to me….

    Comment by Jarrod — October 9, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  84. As an Orioles fan, what I really think is that ultimately this argument needs to be relegated to the hot stove league, where Yankees fans can soon (say, after the next two or three games) warm themselves, discussing it over the long, cold winter. : )

    Comment by Ken Francis — October 9, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  85. He’s no Beltran.

    Beltran: .362/.478/.819; 20:14 BB:K ratio with 9 steals and 0 times caught.
    Babe Ruth: .326 /.467/.744; 33:30 BB:K ratio. Got caught stealing as the final out of a WS.

    Of course, Beltran is not the best player of all time. Does he have the reputation of a guy who is possibly one of the best postseason players of all time? No, partly because he hasn’t won a WS, and partly because he struck out that one time.

    Just a friendly reminder.

    Comment by BlackOps — October 9, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  86. I’m going to assume that the “Alex Rodriguez is not clutch narrative” is entirely accurate. Here’s how that narrative goes looking at the stats year by year.
    -In 1997 at 21 A-Rod was to young to know he should be nervous.
    -In 2000 now a veteran and one of the best players in the game there was no pressure because people in Seattle don’t care about baseball and the rest of the country was asleep while they played.
    -2004 After three years of last place baseball, now the highest paid player in the game, in the biggest market, for the most scrutinized team, had great success in the first series hitting .421/.476/.737 must have gotten lucky.
    -But of course the pressure was way more when it was vs. the SOX, so Alex responded by folding to the pressure and having 4 great games. But then with a 3-1 lead and all of his success to bank on he could only manage 1 measley single in 3 games because the pressure of playoff baseball had finally gotten to him.
    -2005 Now after having played in what was probably the biggest pressure cooker series I can ever remember, A-Rod was to scared to get a hit and decided he was going to just walk, his .435 OBP doesn’t tell the story, he sucked because he didn’t hit the ball.
    -2006 Now pitchers realized he wasn’t going to swing because he was scared of the playoffs and mowed him down at will.
    -2007 After 05 and 06 the NY media felt bad for Alex and laid off of him, he responded by only being mildly disappointing.
    -2008 Alex was so afraid of the post-season he stayed home.
    -2009 The Yankees had sucked for so long (they hadn’t won since 2000!!!) there was no longer any pressure and Alex killed it. Until the WS when some pressure creeped back in and he didn’t even post an OPS over 1.000.
    -2010-12 Yankee expectations are back after the WS win, Alex predictably caves.

    This is the only possible explanation. Not that this is all the random ups and downs that come in short series and that his .867 career OPS in the playoffs shows that he’s been really good no matter when the game is.

    Comment by Preston — October 9, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  87. I loathe ARod as much as the next person but, to be perfectly subjective, he has struck out with runners on base to end the Yanques season two years in a row. Once looking … which still baffles me. A microscopic sample size … But the Stuff of Legends!

    Comment by philcastle — October 9, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  88. If you take steroids you aren’t one of the greatest players of all time.
    A-Rod took steroids.
    A-rod is not one of the greatest players of all time.

    That’s my opinion anyway.

    Comment by David — October 9, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  89. Well I was comparing him to Ruth, but yeah, I would say A-Rod is one of the best players of all time.

    Comment by BlackOps — October 9, 2012 @ 8:10 pm


    Comment by NBarnes — October 9, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  91. Whether or not the narrative is true, it’s fun and I am going to continue to perpetuate the myth for the sake of such fun.

    Comment by David — October 9, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  92. A-Rod didn’t drink himself to death like Mantle, or use greenies like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, or be a towering monument to the human ability to be a colossal asshole like Ty Cobb, so he can’t be one of the greatest players of all time.

    Comment by NBarnes — October 9, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  93. A Dave Cameroon article about SSS, follow this up with a contract valuation article, puh-lease.

    Comment by steve-o — October 9, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  94. What does drinking yourself to death have to do with your baseball achievements?

    Comment by David — October 9, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  95. Yikes. That’s pretty bad.

    Comment by David — October 9, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  96. Wow, perspective is a funny thing. If you had asked me for my opinion on Beltran I would have said that he was huge for the Astros back when, signed a big deal with the Mets on the back of that success and then done nothing since – I would also have mentioend that looking K.

    Guess he is still raking.

    Comment by Jarrod — October 9, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  97. Hey, don’t put words in our mouths. A-Rod’s last moment as a Mariner was standing on second base trying to will Edgar Martinez into driving him home in game 6 of the 2000 ALCS. At that moment, there wasn’t a soul in Seattle who wasn’t swooning over him.

    Comment by Breadbaker — October 9, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  98. You are making no effort to understand what I wrote. Calling Arod a bitch was a joke. He’s obviously one of the best players ever. I’m just proposing a possible explanation for why people think Arod isn’t clutch, i.e. he’s had more than his share of ABs with the opportunity to end playoff games and he hasn’t been particularly successful.

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  99. Yeah I know that

    Comment by Kenny — October 9, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  100. Classic Dave Cameron arrogant, snide, ignorant, BS column.

    Look, I give Cameron credit where credit is due. Most of the time, he’s very insightful. Sometimes, he’s a conceited, out-of-touch pr*ck. Pretty obvious it’s the latter right here.

    Look at Jeter’s CAREER NUMBERS. Look at his POSTSEASON NUMBERS.


    Pretty freakin’ obvious. Sorry, if it’s hard for people to swallow: wOBA matters. wRC+ matters.

    So does character. Jeter has character. That’s why he’s so successful. A-Rod was rarely the same player under pressure that he was in more normal circumstances.

    It’s funny how people can be so smart that they can prevent themselves from seeing the obvious.

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 10, 2012 @ 12:52 am

  101. Truth is overrated.

    Comment by David — October 10, 2012 @ 3:03 am

  102. My comment was not supposed to be in response to the comment above it.

    Comment by David — October 10, 2012 @ 3:15 am

  103. jkp,

    No one is saying we should expect 37 year old ARod to perform like 27 year old ARod. Dave used his career stats (regular season and post-season) to refute the narrative that post-season ARod is a choker. My take away is that we should probably expect 2012 post-season ARod to perform about the same or better than than 2012 regular season ARod with those expectations tempered by how much we expect that the injury is impacting him.

    Comment by hk — October 10, 2012 @ 7:18 am

  104. The reason smart people are calling for A-Rod to hit lower in the order (or be replaced by Chavez against RHP) has nothing to do with clutch and a lot to do with the fact that he has been atrocious since coming back from the injured wrist.

    Add to that the fact that Chavez has been great against RHP (.908 OPS vs. .717 OPS from A-Rod against RHP) this season, and you have a pretty good case.

    Comment by Hummingbird S. — October 10, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  105. There is one WS title up for grabs each postseason. ARod’s median postseason performances, based on OPS, were 2010 and 2005. He had OPSes in the low 600s each of those years. His average postseason OPS with the NYY–per postseason nor per at bat–is roughly 650.

    Comment by JW — October 10, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  106. To follow up, where a player has been very goo to great in a few postseasons and terrible in five or so postseasons, it makes no sense to average everything on a per-AB basis and present that average is indicative of overall performance. That works over a regular season or many regular seasons; it does not work over several postseasons with a remarkably bi-modal distribution of data.

    Comment by JW — October 10, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  107. Agreed. If a player, has, say, 1 great and 5 awful postseasons, that means you have been bad in the postseason to me, regardless of how good your numbers are skewed due to the one great season. I’m not saying this has predictive power, I’m just saying so far, the factical (to use Heideggerian parlance) matter is that he’s been bad so far.

    Comment by David — October 10, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  108. RationalSportsFan, you kind’ve proved the author’s point- If A-Rod was more consistent, you wouldn’t be able to remove one season and at the same time remove the 22% of his plate appearances that were the most productive.

    And Preston, Cal Ripken was never paid like A-Rod.

    Comment by gavzac — October 10, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  109. It really is about great expectations. The numbers he’s put up in regular seasons, the amount he’s paid (his present contract is totally insane, and Yankees fans are all too aware that the club will be paying him for 5 more years), the concept of him as a big power threat… as the guy who should go .300/.400/.500 (nevermind he’s just not that guy anymore).

    The expectations are such that he basically can’t meet them. In 2009, he met them. Not exceeded! MET! Crazy. His 2009 post-season was insanely awesome. He did indeed suck in the 1st-round exits 2005-2007. Which stinks, but then other guys didn’t hit either (just like the 2004 collapse: the whole offense stunk, not just ARod).

    Anyway, he’s old and busted now. I think the hip issue has robbed him of the ability to get around on good fastballs. He’s practically helpless against hard-throwing RHP.

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 10, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  110. Well, the “one good” postseason, 2009, involved 3 rounds of play – a 5-game series and two best of 7s. When he sucked, it was just the one 5 gamer.

    Now, they didn’t advance in part b/c he didn’t help them advance. But there have been plenty of short series in which other Yankees have stunk at the plate, but the Yankees advanced, and then said player had a good series in the next round. Jeter. Bernie Williams (well, he was the opposite: beastly in early rounds, bad in the WS). And so on.

    It all comes back to the idea that ARod should carry the team.

    This is why, even though people do get frustrated, there is such much less angst over Nick Swisher’s failures as a Yankee in the playoffs. He’s a good but not great player, expectations are lower, and gosh darnit, people like him.

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 10, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  111. I was just shocked to realize that Joe Torre invented alternating the handedness of a lineup…. that info alone made this entire read worth it.

    Comment by The Real Neal — October 10, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  112. I’m honestly not sure if you’re joking, Preston. Because it’s true that teams that start no bat players like Brendan Ryan will hardly ever get to the postseason.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — October 10, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  113. Not joking. The hardest thing to do in sports is to hit big league pitching. There are probably 100s of guys in America right now who are great athletes and could field better than half the players in the majors. But they can’t hit so it doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Preston — October 10, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  114. I mean, if a team pays you $300 million, then that team clearly expects you to carry the team, whether or not that’s fair, and so will the fans. If you weren’t expected to carry the team in big spots, you wouldn’t get paid a lot of money. The Yankees don’t pay players just to perform well in the regular season, they pay them to perform well in the regular and post season. Maybe that’s not fair, but that’s the expectation. Maybe that’s not “rational” but teams don’t always act rationally obviously.

    Comment by David — October 10, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  115. Not an ARod fan, but . . .

    If he essentially carried the Yankees to the ’09 WS title, as others here have alluded to, is that not a pretty amazing feat by itself? I mean, in all of those other playoff seasons, why couldn’t someone else have thrown the team on his back and carried them to a championship even once? It can’t be the same guy’s job every time . . . this is not the NBA.

    Believe me, Yankees fans: as a former Montreal Expos fan and a current Kansas City Royals fan, I wish I had some of your problems.

    Comment by Matt — October 10, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  116. I tend to think that using the word “reputation” lends itself to a not strictly scientific forming of narrative. Derek Jeter had the flip play… Alex Rodriguez will be remembered for slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s mitt. I am not a Derek Jeter fan by any means. But it seems here that some of the old timey stuff applies: that it’s not just what you’ve done, but it’s how you do it that matters too.

    Comment by Ricardo — October 10, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  117. A-Rod did have a great ’09 ALDS and ALCS, and a pretty good WS, too. (The BA wasn’t there, but the hits he did get came in key spots.)

    A-Rod didn’t win that series all by himself, though. Let’s not forget Hideki Matsui’s 09 WS, and let’s not forget that between game three of the 2004 ALCS and the 2009 postseason – the Yanks played in the postseason from 2005-2007 – A-Rod 9-60 (.150 BA) with exactly one RBI. That RBI came on a solo HR with the team trailing by four runs in game four of the ’07 ALDS. That solo HR accounted for his only RBI since the third inning of game three of the ’04 ALCS.

    A-Rod was the AL MVP in 2005 and 2007. You take a guy who’s supposed to be your MVP, the league MVP, you put him in the middle of your lineup, and over eighteen postseason games, the guy bats .150 with 1 RBI and three or four runs scored, and that just doesn’t cut it, not when you’re tearing-up your $252 million contract because that’s just not enough for you to play baseball.

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 10, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  118. I tend to think that using the word “reputation” lends itself to a not strictly scientifically formed narrative. Derek Jeter had the flip play… Alex Rodriguez will be remembered for slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s mitt. I am not a Derek Jeter fan by any means. But it seems here that some of the old timey stuff applies: that it’s not just what you’ve done, but it’s how you do it that matters too.

    Comment by Ricardo — October 10, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  119. I’m going to guess that HR by Ibanez isn’t going to help ARod’s case.

    Comment by Chris — October 10, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  120. Arod’s a bitch

    Comment by Raul — October 10, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  121. Hahaha A-Rod! Is this the fastest article has been dated on this site?

    Comment by Larry — October 10, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  122. Arid can suck my dick

    Comment by Raul — October 10, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  123. Take a seat Arod. You suck cock

    Comment by Girardi — October 10, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  124. Arod, why don’t you just take your hundreds of millions of dollars and just find something else to do. You like chasing really buff women right? Go do that

    Comment by Cashman — October 11, 2012 @ 12:27 am

  125. hahaha, A-Rod really does suck

    Comment by David — October 11, 2012 @ 7:40 am

  126. Not an A-Rod hater – root for him every game (so let’s dispense with the ad hominem stuff). The article above is fundamentally flawed – as noted – because it only looks at cumulative stats. The fact is, since game 4 against the Red Sox in 2004, A-Rod, in 8 postseasons, has come through in 1of the 8. That’s a factor that has to be considered and was completely ignored in the original post. 2009 is great. He should be praised for that post-season and that title. But, in the other post-seasons he has pretty much failed. There’s no doubt he is not a *consistently* clutch player. He is consistently not. He has 1 HR in 122 AB’s and 7 RBIs in 30 games (essentially 1/5 of a season). This from your clean-up hitter when the expectation weighed on his shoulders. A-Rod’s BA in those series': .133, .071, .267, .219, .111, .125.

    By contrast, Jeter has performed much more consistently. Jeter’s BA is over .300 in 10 of 16 postseasons with the Yankees. Only once did he hit under .200. Only 4 times did he hit under .250 in those 16 seasons. Even in the post-seasons with A-Rod, Jeter has been more consistent. Jeter also had a big 2009. But, aside from that, in the same postseasons where A-Rod has had 1 HR and 7 RBIs, Jeter had 3 HRs and 13 RBIs as the lead off hitter.

    THe reality is A-Rod has come up to the plate in most post-seasons where he needed to come through and failed consistently. Jeter has not had near as many failures.

    What would be interesting is to look at what A-Rod’s RISP OBP (or even WPA) is outside of 2009 on a year by year basis. Also to compare it with Jeter. And look at their stats in the 2nd half of games (6th inning & beyond) in the postseason.

    Comment by Jeff — October 12, 2012 @ 10:25 am

  127. Another item from ESPN Stats on A-Rod:

    His postseason performance, other than 2009, has been a bit of an issue.

    Consider some of these career numbers.

    He’s hitting .175 with 23 strikeouts in 57 postseason at-bats with runners in scoring position.

    He’s hitting .129 with 13 strikeouts in 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs.

    His batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage slashline is .237/.343/.412 with runners on base.

    Comment by Jeff — October 12, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  128. First as a Yankee fan I route for A-Rod and any other Yankees hitter. That said I am not familar with the stats you utilize here and have not read all the comments but I think it is simply proof that stats can lie.

    Keeping it simple clutch to me is hitting with 2 outs and runners in scoring position and I believe that A-Rod has the lowest postseason average of any player ever with a reasonable number of at bats, is that correct? A-Rod was a key contributor in the 2009 WS win but as a fan I don’t think I can come up with more than 1 or 2 times when A-Rod had a big hit when I felt (I know not a good word to comment on stats) the Yankees were in trouble not just contributing when the Yankees had things in hand which was the case in most of the 2009.

    I know it is probably unfair and others are strugging also but baseball is about what you can do now and over the last 3 years A-Rod is batting .159 with 0 HR and only 6 RBI in 19 games. Basically he has been a no show and struck out 32% of the time. That is simply terrible. He was a no show in other short series in 2005 and 2006 as well so this is nothing new for A-Rod.

    Comment by Ken — October 14, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

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