The Atlanta Braves return home this week could be described as little...
A-Rod vs. The World: Postseason Stats Version
This postseason has been mostly about the Yankees and their superstars, some of whom have been injured, some of whom have been benched, and some of whom are are coaching. I’ve decided to look into these superstars’ history in the postseason and compare them. My apologies to the Giants and Cards, you just are not as interesting as A-Rod, Jeter, and Ibanez.
First, some stats that are going to make Yankees fans happy.
Derek Jeter has a postseason career batting average of .308, OPB of .374, SLG of .465, and OPS of .838. He has 20 postseason home runs and 61 RBI. This is in 33 series, 158 games, 650 AB, and 734 PA. Very good numbers and rightly so; Jeter has been a very productive post season player. (Too bad he’s hurt.)
Now some stats that are going to make the Yankee fans cringe.
A-Rod has a postseason batting average of .265, OPB of 372, SLG of .467, and OPS of .838. He has 13 postseason home runs and 41 RBI. This is in 18 series, 74 games, 272 AB, and 324 PA.
Those numbers look pretty similar to each other. Jeter and A-Rod have exactly the same OPS, and they are within .002 points of each other in both OBP and SLG. Additionally when adjusted to the same amount of PA, A-Rod would have 29 home runs and 93 RBI.
Why do these number make Yankees fans cringe? It means A-Rod has been just as productive as Jeter has been during the postseason. It means they trash on A-Rod for no reason. A-Rod has done his job. He’s gotten a few fewer hits, but driven in runs and hit for power. Jeter has done what he does as well: get on base and let the big bats drive him in. Jeter has 111 postseason runs.
But let me give the Yankees fans at least a little ammunition. Strikeouts are a huge rally killer and look bad, they are also the least productive thing a hitter can do, and are something A-Rod is known for in the postseason. Jeter has 135 K’s compared to A-Rod’s 75. Adjusted for PA, that would put Rodriguez at 170 K’s, 35 more strikeouts over the same 734 PA. A significant number of strikeouts, yes, but that is exactly what is expected of A-Rod: more home runs, more RBI, but also more strikeouts. Yankees fans, you have nothing to complain about.
Just for fun I am also going to look at Raul Ibanez, the man Girardi pinch hit for A-Rod in the 9th, and the savior of Game 4 of the ALDS.
In 10 Series, 43 Games, 137 AB, 149 PA, he’s got a .248 BA, .349 OBP, .445 SLG, .754 OPS, 6 HR, 36 K’s. The averages are pretty self explanatory: not bad, but not great, and significantly worse than A-Rod and Jeter. Adjusted for 734 PA, Ibanez racks up 32 HR and 193 K’s. Again, basically what you’d expect: right around the same home runs as A-Rod and more K’s.
This shows that although taking A-Rod out and replacing him with Ibanez was not playing the odds, it was in fact a perfectly plausible move, when down a run in the 9th. There was little to lose and not much of a drop off. But it also shows that playing Ibanez over A-Rod for any significant time period is the wrong move from a stats-only perspective.
Now, because I somehow want to link this to my Mariners, and discussing any Mariner’s postseason stats would be disappointing (except for Edgar Martinez), I am going to link this to the Mariners in a different fashion. Here goes. Did you know that the last time Jeter missed a Yankees postseason game prior to this season was in 1995… against the Mariners? In fact it, was Game 5 of the ALDS–against the Mariners–a game with a lot of interesting historical significance. But since the great blogger Jeff Sullivan already did this story, and much better than I could, I am just going to link you to his article.