Friday, October 19, 2012

Diminishing returns: when sluggers turn bad

Money and postseason success don't always go hand and hand



It was tough to watch Alex Rodriguez do so poorly in the playoffs this year. The playoffs are generally a time where superstars earn that tremendous salary that they are paid, and raise their legend and status even more by doing well.


This year, despite Alex Rodriguez getting paid $29 Million dollars, he didn't do very well in the playoffs and he was benched by skipper Joe Girardi. This hasn't been done all that often, but when it made a difference of continuing to watch a superstar in a free fall and putting team priorities first.


As Phillies fans we know a little about how doing poorly in the playoffs sometimes leads to bad results. Ryan Howard had a terrible Division series in 2011, but despite that, still played on and possibly held the Phillies back from advancing the the NLDS against the Cardinals that year.



Here is a break down of Howard's playoff numbers over the years:



Year Age Series Opp Rslt G PA AB R H HR RBI SO BA OBP
2007 27 NLDS COL L 3 13 12 1 3 1 1 7 .250 .308
2008 28 NLDS MIL W 4 16 11 1 2 0 1 5 .182 .438
2008 28 NLCS LAD W 5 23 20 4 6 0 2 2 .300 .391
2008 28 WS TBR W 5 24 21 3 6 3 6 9 .286 .375
2009 29 NLDS COL W 4 18 16 3 6 0 6 4 .375 .389
2009 29 NLCS LAD W 5 21 15 5 5 2 8 4 .333 .524
2009 29 WS NYY L 6 25 23 3 4 1 3 13 .174 .240
2010 30 NLDS CIN W 3 13 11 0 3 0 0 5 .273 .385
2010 30 NLCS SFG L 6 25 22 1 7 0 0 12 .318 .400
2011 31 NLDS STL L 5 21 19 1 2 1 6 6 .105 .143
5 Yrs (10 Series) 46 199 170 22 44 8 33 67 .259 .357
5 NLDS 19 81 69 6 16 2 14 27 .232 .321
3 NLCS 16 69 57 10 18 2 10 18 .316 .435
2 WS 11 49 44 6 10 4 9 22 .227 .306
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 10/19/2012.




In 5 games of the 2011 Division series, Howard played all 5 games. He turned in a .105 BA before on the last at bat of the season, tore his achilles on the way to him running out a ball to first base. Then look at the 2010 series against the San Francisco Giants, with 22 AB's, Howard struck out  12 times. Howard's batting average in the 2009 World Series was .174 in 23 AB's, Howard struck out 13 times.



This was an off year for Rodriguez who is a sure first ballot election to the Hall of Fame. He's played the game for 19 years already and he is still 36 years old. I don't think that we can really say that about Howard. Though Ryan has hit a lot of home runs, he isn't in the same category as Rodriguez when it comes to Hall of Fame credentials.



When you look at salary, then you see some similarities among these two players. Howard raked in $20 Million dollars this year, and the Phillies have him signed for another $105 Million over the next 5 years, which could see a steeper decline for Howard in his batting abilities. Rodriguez has made a fortune playing the game of baseball, he's earned $329 Million over his career according to baseball-reference.com.



Here is how Alex Rodriguez has performed in the playoffs over the years:



Year Age Tm Series Opp Rslt G AB R H HR RBI SO BA
1995 19 SEA ALDS NYY W 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .000
1995 19 SEA ALCS CLE L 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000
1997 21 SEA ALDS BAL L 4 16 1 5 1 1 5 .313
2000 24 SEA ALDS CHW W 3 13 0 4 0 2 2 .308
2000 24 SEA ALCS NYY L 6 22 4 9 2 5 8 .409
2004 28 NYY ALDS MIN W 4 19 3 8 1 3 1 .421
2004 28 NYY ALCS BOS L 7 31 8 8 2 5 6 .258
2005 29 NYY ALDS LAA L 5 15 2 2 0 0 5 .133
2006 30 NYY ALDS DET L 4 14 0 1 0 0 4 .071
2007 31 NYY ALDS CLE L 4 15 2 4 1 1 6 .267
2009 33 NYY ALDS MIN W 3 11 4 5 2 6 2 .455
2009 33 NYY ALCS LAA W 6 21 6 9 3 6 3 .429
2009 33 NYY WS PHI W 6 20 5 5 1 6 8 .250
2010 34 NYY ALDS MIN W 3 11 1 3 0 1 2 .273
2010 34 NYY ALCS TEX L 6 21 4 4 0 2 4 .190
2011 35 NYY ALDS DET L 5 18 1 2 0 3 6 .111
2012 36 NYY ALDS BAL W 4 16 1 2 0 0 9 .125
2012 36 NYY ALCS DET L 2 7 0 1 0 0 3 .143
11 Yrs (18 Series) 74 272 43 72 13 41 75 .265
G AB R H HR RBI SO BA
11 ALDS 40 149 16 36 5 17 42 .242
6 ALCS 28 103 22 31 7 18 25 .301
1 WS 6 20 5 5 1 6 8 .250
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Generated 10/19/2012.

As you can see, Rodriguez hasn't been all that prolific in the postseason. Yes, he's gotten big hits and delivered when he should have but if you look at the number of home runs and RBI in 18 different series that he's been in, it isn't a whole lot of production.

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