Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Projecting A-Rod

It only takes a few mental calculations to figure out that Alex Rodriguez—if he stays healthy—will put up sick career numbers. The number “800” has been thrown around quite often when discussing his final home run count. That number has long been reserved for Sadahuru Oh. It has never been a number discussed with regards to a MLB player—until now. Barry Bonds is 43 and thriving. There is no reason to think that A-Rod can’t thrive to a similar age. If he does, then records will fall.

I’m not sure that most baseball fans realize the pace that A-Rod is on for a number of statistics. So, I’m going to do my best to project what his numbers will look like when he retires. I’m going to assume--like Bonds--that A-Rod plays until he is 43. He may suffer a career-ending injury next week but for projection purposes, I think 43 is more than reasonable.

Here is a ballpark-look at what A-Rod’s career statistics will look like after the 2007 season (I simply used the first 102 games of the ’07 season to project the last 60 to come up with his projected career totals as of the end of 2007):

Projected Career Totals as of the end of 2007


Since A-Rod has played in 12 full MLB-seasons, I can divide the above totals by 12—and subtract the numbers from his first two partial seasons—to come up with an average season for his career.

Typical season over first 12 full seasons


If A-Rod plays until he is 43 (he'll actually turn 44 in July of the 12th year), then that means he’ll have 12 seasons to pad his statistics. I could simply multiply the “typical” season above times 12 but that might result in inflated career numbers. I want these projections to be as realistic and reachable as possible so I’m going to reduce his average season so that these projections will take into consideration a drop-off in production.

Projected typical season from 2008-2019


By adding A-Rod's projected statistics over the next 12 years to the numbers he has already amassed in his first 12 years, you get the monstrosity below...

A-Rod's Projected Career Statistics


Here is what the All-Time record books will look like for each statistic if A-Rod meets these projections:


1). Alex Rodriguez 2832
2). Rickey Henderson 2295
3). Ty Cobb 2246
4). Barry Bonds 2205 (and counting)
5) tie Hank Aaron 2174
5) tie Babe Ruth 2174


1). Pete Rose 4256
2). Ty Cobb 4189
3). Alex Rodriguez 4053
4). Hank Aaron 3771
5). Stan Musial 3630


1). Tris Speaker 792
2). Pete Rose 746
3). Stan Musial 725
4). Ty Cobb 724
5). Alex Rodriguez 704


1). Alex Rodriguez 880
2). Hank Aaron 755
3). Barry Bonds 754 (and counting)
4). Babe Ruth 714
5). Willie Mays 660


1). Alex Rodriguez 2831
2). Hank Aaron 2297
3). Babe Ruth 2217
4). Cap Anson 2076
5). Lou Gehrig 1995

Total Bases:

1). Alex Rodriguez 7870
2). Hank Aaron 6856
3). Stan Musial 6134
4). Willie Mays 6066
5). Barry Bonds 5924 (and counting)


1). Barry Bonds 2531 (and counting)
2). Rickey Henderson 2190
3). Babe Ruth 2062
4). Ted Williams 2021
5). Joe Morgan 1865
6). Carl Yastrzemski 1845
7). Alex Rodriguez 1753

Runs Created:

1). Alex Rodriguez 3155
2). Babe Ruth 2757
3). Barry Bonds 2659 (and counting)
4). Hank Aaron 2590
5). Stan Musial 2568

Keep in mind that these projections are taking into consideration a drop-off that may or may not exist. Contemporary players have been able to maintain their "prime" production into their late 30s. Since A-Rod very likely has 7+ seasons in his prime remaining, my projections may be on the low end. If that ends up being the case, A-Rod may even challenge Pete Rose for the all-time hits record. Rose's hit total hasn't been challenged but don’t be surprised to hear that number pop up in the near future as a feasible mark for A-Rod. Plus, I believe there are two factors that are present that could significantly increase the odds that A-Rod will break Rose's record. First, I think A-Rod is a "numbers" guy. I am fairly certain that he is always aware of where his career numbers stand. I think he is the kind of guy that has just as many--if not more--individual goals as he does team goals. I can see him sticking around to break records. Second, a friendly battle with Derek Jeter for career hits may ensue resulting in both players playing well into their 40s.

These projections have A-Rod so far ahead of anyone else in HRs, RBIs, Runs, Runs Created, and Total Bases that a significant drop-off in production or even a retirement at 40 would still likely see A-Rod as the all-time leader in those statistics by the time he is finished playing baseball. Interestingly, by the age of 32, Barry Bonds had two-40 HR seasons. Assuming A-Rod hits five more HRs this year, he'll have had eight-40 HR seasons by the age of 32. Additionally, A-Rod has led the league in HR five times. Bonds--in 22 seasons--did it only twice. A career-ending injury could make all of this moot but people should realize that we could be watching the most prolific baseball player of all-time. Most people have probably been too busy booing to even realize it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Players don't usually play until 43, as Bonds did ... unless they use steroids. 40 is as high as a reasonable projection should go.
A-Rod is a monster though. And who knows? In 8 years or so maybe performance enhancing drugs will be embraced and A-Rod will play until 45 hitting 45 a year and be over a thousand HRs.


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