Bomber Bites with Billy Brost: A-Rod Can Contribute


Every so often, the man who normally writes this column seven days a week, needs a day or so off here and there to handle personal business or work-related business. Joe Vitulli has been one of the most dependable, thought-provoking writers that Yanks Go Yard has ever had. When Joe needs that time to take care of things, I as his editor, has zero issue stepping up, and taking the reigns. So for today and tomorrow, please bear with me as I’ll be steering the ship of Bomber Bites!

Back at the end of August, I asked our Yankees’ Insider and numbers man, Scott Alfano, to do some research for me for a piece that I thought made sense the entire time the Yankee fan base was going nuts about the suspension of Alex Rodriguez, and his impending return at the end of the 2014 season. Senior writer and radio host Ricky Keeler, has probably been one of our staff’s most outspoken person when it comes to his disdain for the disgraced slugger. 

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Not that I am a fan of A-Rod. I am not. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and remember the early years of A-Rod’s career as a Seattle Mariners shortstop. I didn’t like him then, I don’t like him now. But, it’s not always about who I like as a player and who I don’t. What it comes down to, is A. Can the Yankees eat that much money to make him go away? B. Deal him to someone and eat most of the contract? or C. Live with the fact that he’s not going anywhere, and you better get used to the idea that he is going to be one of the most productive hitters in your lineup, even at almost age 40.

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

It’s a painful thought for Yankees’ fans. Unfortunately it’s the truth. Scott Alfano ran some numbers as I mentioned earlier. In 2013, in 44 games, A-Rod had 181 plate appearances, scored 21 runs, and hit 7 home runs. We are all aware that Willie Mays‘ career total is easily within reach, which means the Yankees will pay A-Rod MORE money than he is already due.

Ricky Keeler and I have discussed A-Rod for a good chunk of this season already. Here is my argument: the Yankees have to pay the guy regardless, so why not hope he comes back and hits? I’ve said all along, that if A-Rod could hit .270, with 20 home runs, 70 RBI and play 120 games between third base, first base, and designated hitter, are you really going to try and tell me the Yankees wouldn’t take that? If you believe that for one second, send me an email, and we’ll get you scheduled for a urinalysis ASAP.

Now it’s time to see if my hunch about A-Rod actually projects out to a productive season. Scott broke down A-Rod, and projected how he would perform at each 100 at-at interval, starting at 100 at-bats, and projecting out through 600 at-bats. Let’s see what we came up with:

-At 100 at-bats, Rodriguez is projected out at 13.5 runs scored, 24.4 hits, 4.5 doubles, and 4.5 home runs. Pretty meager numbers so far huh?

-At 200 at-bats, A-Rod is projected out at 26.9 runs scored, 48.7 hits, 9 doubles and 9 long balls. Again, I’m not quite feeling the love just yet.

-At 300 at-bats, Rodriguez is looking at 40.4 runs scored, 73.1 base knocks, 13.5 doubles, and 13.5 home runs. Now we are starting to see what I had thought all along. We are at one-half of a normal season’s worth of at-bats, and the production appears to be there, even for 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez.

-At 400 at-bats, A-Rod bumps up to 53.8 runs scored, 97.4 hits, 17.9 doubles, and 17.9 home runs. We’re still 200 at-bats shy of what a full season’s worth is considered, and Rodriguez is almost to where I believed without looking at any projections, he might be able to hit in 2015.

-At 500 at-bats, we are almost to the finish line, as Alex is projected to score 67.3 runs, have 121.8 hits, 22.4 doubles, and the same with home runs. So, with less than 600 abs for the season, he’s projected to surpass what I thought was acceptable for A-Rod, at the 20-home run plateau. Let’s go ahead and finish this off and see where we are at…

-Finally with 600 at-bats during the 2015 season, Alex Rodriguez projects out to scoring 80.8 runs, record 146.2 hits, 26.9 doubles, and the same with home runs. Almost 27 home runs with 600 at-bats eh? For $30 million, I know it’s not the 40+ bombs he once was known for producing each season, but at 40 years of age, he’s worth the investment because of the anemic Yankees’ offense the past two seasons, and because the last 40-year-old face of baseball, Derek Jeter, offensively, was an embarrassment. I’ll take those number any day.

I’m not completely correct with these projections however. The projections Scott Alfano used were based strictly off of A-Rod’s injury-shortened 2013 season. He’s been out of the game for an entire year. He has bad hips, but on the bright side, he’s been able to rest and workout to get completely healthy and strong. I also believe an A-Rod with a chip on his shoulder, with something to prove, and no PEDs to support him, comes through like the great natural athlete he was PRIOR to his substance use when he joined the Texas Rangers.

One more thing about the projections…if we lived with EXACTLY what the numbers say, A-Rod won’t hit anywhere near my belief of .270. The projection? Try a hair under .244. It could be worse…Vernon Wells, Kelly Johnson or any number of a collection of stiffs could be manning the hot corner in 2015 for the Yankees. Even if the Yankees bring Chase Headley back, there are enough at-bats for he, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran to all rotate between their respective positions and the DH slot in Joe Girardi‘s lineup. Love him, hate him, or don’t care, A-Rod is back, and he’s going to hit.