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New York Yankees News and Notes: March 10, 2011

The Yankee Analysts take a look at what may be the root cause of A-Rod's 2010 struggles:

A-Rod wasn’t all that smart a hitter in 2010, at least not as smart as he’s usually been. For his career Rodriguez has swung at pitches outside of the strike zone 20.9% of the time. Obviously that rate has been working for him, but in 2010 it jumped up to 25.3%. A-Rod connected when he swung at these pitches as well. For his career Rodriguez has made contact on 52.1% of the pitches outside of the zone that he’s swung at. In 2010 that number jumped up to 65.6%. Chasing pitches outside of the zone is bad enough, but making contact on them — often weakly — is worse.

There's no official stat for "weak ground balls" but if you watched the Yankees much last season you know what I'm talking about.  Although his 2010 was far from terrible - he was still a top-10 third baseman - this analysis really goes a long way in explaining career low batting average, BABIP, and line drive rate.  Put it together with a full recovery from his hip surgery, and I'm optimistic.  A-Rod will probably never duplicate his 2007 performance again, but I think he's got a few 2008s still in him.

  • In case you've been out of the country, under a rock, or without electricity for the past, oh, 95 days, Fangraphs gives a short and sweet rundown of where the Yankees stand heading into 2011
  • Lastly, I don't mean to burst anybody's bubble, but Eric Chavez is going to be the backup corner infielder?  He's played 8 major league games at third base in the past two seasons (out of 41 total games) and has hit like Ramiro Pena in the past three seasons.  Pass.