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Friday, August 12, 2016

Alex Rodriguez: greatest Yankee since Mickey Mantle.

The New York Yankees have an unparalleled big four: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle. Mantle retired after the 1968 season but his last big season was 1964. Alex Rodriguez is the greatest Yankee in the 52 years since then.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/leaders_bat.shtml

That link has top ten Yankees for seasons and career.

I don't like the total, as opposed to average, stat Wins Above Replacement (WAR). But for those who do, Rodriguez is ranked 8th in Yankee WAR for non-pitchers and 9th in offensive WAR, both with far fewer plate appearances (PA) than any of the others in the top ten. Top ten Yankees in WAR:


RankPlayerWAR Position PlayersPA
1.Babe Ruth142.79198
2.Lou Gehrig112.49663
3.Mickey Mantle109.79907
4.Joe DiMaggio78.17673
5.Derek Jeter71.812602
6.Yogi Berra59.68350
7.Bill Dickey55.87065
8.Alex Rodriguez54.46512
9.Willie Randolph53.77464
10.Bernie Williams49.49053
Now those same ten sorted by WAR/PA:

WARPAWAR/PA
Ruth142.79,1980.01551424223
Gehrig112.49,6630.01163199834
Mantle109.79,9070.0110729787
DiMaggio78.17,6730.01017854816
Rodriguez54.46,5120.008353808354
Dickey55.87,0650.007898089172
Randolf53.77,4640.007194533762
Berra59.68,3500.007137724551
Jeter71.812,6020.005697508332
Williams49.49,0530.005456754667

OPS+, minimum 5,000 PA:
Rk Player OPS+ PA From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Babe Ruth 209 9198 1920 1934 25-39 2084 7217 1959 2518 424 106 659 1978 1852 1122 35 94 110 117 .349 .484 .711 1.195 *97/8H31
2 Lou Gehrig 179 9663 1923 1939 20-36 2164 8001 1888 2721 534 163 493 1995 1508 790 45 106 2 102 100 .340 .447 .632 1.080 *3/H976
3 Mickey Mantle 172 9907 1951 1968 19-36 2401 8102 1676 2415 344 72 536 1509 1733 126 1710 13 14 47 113 153 38 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397H/645
4 Joe DiMaggio 155 7673 1936 1951 21-36 1736 6821 1390 2214 389 131 361 1537 790 369 46 14 130 30 9 .325 .398 .579 .977 *8/79H3
5 Alex Rodriguez 137 6516 2004 2016 28-40 1508 5573 1012 1579 262 9 351 1095 779 60 1291 104 0 60 151 152 30 .283 .378 .523 .900 *5D/H63
6 Dave Winfield 134 5021 1981 1990 29-38 1172 4485 722 1300 236 35 205 818 477 53 652 8 9 42 155 76 36 .290 .356 .495 .851 *97/8HD5
7 Tommy Henrich 132 5410 1937 1950 24-37 1284 4603 901 1297 269 73 183 795 712 383 34 60 62 37 19 .282 .382 .491 .873 *93H/87
8 Don Mattingly 127 7722 1982 1995 21-34 1785 7003 1007 2153 442 20 222 1099 588 136 444 21 13 96 191 14 9 .307 .358 .471 .830 *3/D9H7584
9 Bill Dickey 127 7065 1928 1946 21-39 1789 6300 930 1969 343 72 202 1209 678 289 31 51 49 36 32 .313 .382 .486 .868 *2H
10 Robinson Cano 126 5791 2005 2013 22-30 1374 5336 799 1649 375 28 204 822 350 65 689 54 10 41 171 38 28 .309 .355 .504 .860 *4/DH6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/12/2016.

Rodriguez is right behind the big four in both the total WAR and the average OPS+.

It's pointless to look at WAR or OPS+ for individual seasons as the big four take all of the top ten spots. Mantle had OPS+ 177 in 1964. Here are the tops for Yankees since then.

Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Bobby Murcer 181 1971 25 NYY AL 146 624 529 94 175 25 6 25 94 91 13 60 0 1 3 9 14 8 .331 .427 .543 .969 *8/H
2 Paul O'Neill 177 1994 31 NYY AL 103 443 368 68 132 25 1 21 83 72 13 56 0 0 3 16 5 4 .359 .460 .603 1.064 *97H/D
3 Alex Rodriguez 176 2007 31 NYY AL 158 708 583 143 183 31 0 54 156 95 11 120 21 0 9 15 24 4 .314 .422 .645 1.067 *5/D
4 Alex Rodriguez 173 2005 29 NYY AL 162 715 605 124 194 29 1 48 130 91 8 139 16 0 3 8 21 6 .321 .421 .610 1.031 *5/6D
5 Jason Giambi 172 2002 31 NYY AL 155 689 560 120 176 34 1 41 122 109 4 112 15 0 5 18 2 2 .314 .435 .598 1.034 *3D
6 Reggie Jackson 172 1980 34 NYY AL 143 601 514 94 154 22 4 41 111 83 15 122 2 0 2 7 1 2 .300 .398 .597 .995 *9D/H
7 Bobby Murcer 169 1972 26 NYY AL 153 654 585 102 171 30 7 33 96 63 7 67 2 0 4 6 11 9 .292 .361 .537 .898 *8/H
8 Jason Giambi 161 2005 34 NYY AL 139 545 417 74 113 14 0 32 87 108 5 109 19 0 1 7 0 0 .271 .440 .535 .975 *3D/H
9 Don Mattingly 161 1986 25 NYY AL 162 742 677 117 238 53 2 31 113 53 11 35 1 1 10 17 0 0 .352 .394 .573 .967 *3/5D
10 Bernie Williams 160 1998 29 NYY AL 128 578 499 101 169 30 5 26 97 74 9 81 1 0 4 19 15 9 .339 .422 .575 .997 *8/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/12/2016.

Wow, Bobby Murcer, who knew? O'Neill did his in only 103 games because the season ended in August due to a dispute between the players union and team owners. Giambi was much better than many Yankee fans realized at the time.

MVP since 1964:
Thurman Munson 1976
Don Mattingly 1985
Alex Rodriguez 2005
Alex Rodriguez 2007

At least 40 home runs since 1961 when Roger Maris hit 61 and Mantle hit 54; BOLD indicates leading the league:
Rk Player HR AB Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Alex Rodriguez 54 583 2007 31 NYY AL 158 708 143 183 31 0 156 95 11 120 21 0 9 15 24 4 .314 .422 .645 1.067 *5/D
2 Alex Rodriguez 48 605 2005 29 NYY AL 162 715 124 194 29 1 130 91 8 139 16 0 3 8 21 6 .321 .421 .610 1.031 *5/6D
3 Tino Martinez 44 594 1997 29 NYY AL 158 685 96 176 31 2 141 75 14 75 3 0 13 15 3 1 .296 .371 .577 .948 *3/DH
4 Curtis Granderson 43 596 2012 31 NYY AL 160 684 102 138 18 4 106 75 4 195 5 1 7 5 10 3 .232 .319 .492 .811 *8/HD
5 Curtis Granderson 41 583 2011 30 NYY AL 156 691 136 153 26 10 119 85 0 169 12 4 7 12 25 10 .262 .364 .552 .916 *8/HD
6 Jason Giambi 41 535 2003 32 NYY AL 156 690 97 134 25 0 107 129 9 140 21 0 5 9 2 1 .250 .412 .527 .939 *3D/H
7 Jason Giambi 41 560 2002 31 NYY AL 155 689 120 176 34 1 122 109 4 112 15 0 5 18 2 2 .314 .435 .598 1.034 *3D
8 Reggie Jackson 41 514 1980 34 NYY AL 143 601 94 154 22 4 111 83 15 122 2 0 2 7 1 2 .300 .398 .597 .995 *9D/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/12/2016.

The most recent Yankee to lead the league was Mark Teixeira with 39 in 2009, his first Yankee season. The only other Yankee to lead since 1961 was Graig Nettles with 32 in 1976.

Finally the top ten Yankees in career home runs:
Rk Player HR AB PA From To Age G R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Babe Ruth 659 7217 9198 1920 1934 25-39 2084 1959 2518 424 106 1978 1852 1122 35 94 110 117 .349 .484 .711 1.195 *97/8H31
2 Mickey Mantle 536 8102 9907 1951 1968 19-36 2401 1676 2415 344 72 1509 1733 126 1710 13 14 47 113 153 38 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397H/645
3 Lou Gehrig 493 8001 9663 1923 1939 20-36 2164 1888 2721 534 163 1995 1508 790 45 106 2 102 100 .340 .447 .632 1.080 *3/H976
4 Joe DiMaggio 361 6821 7673 1936 1951 21-36 1736 1390 2214 389 131 1537 790 369 46 14 130 30 9 .325 .398 .579 .977 *8/79H3
5 Yogi Berra 358 7546 8350 1946 1963 21-38 2116 1174 2148 321 49 1430 704 49 411 52 9 44 146 30 26 .285 .348 .483 .830 *2H79/35
6 Alex Rodriguez 351 5573 6516 2004 2016 28-40 1508 1012 1579 262 9 1095 779 60 1291 104 0 60 151 152 30 .283 .378 .523 .900 *5D/H63
7 Bernie Williams 287 7869 9053 1991 2006 22-37 2076 1366 2336 449 55 1257 1069 97 1212 39 12 64 223 147 87 .297 .381 .477 .858 *8D/9H7
8 Jorge Posada 275 6092 7150 1995 2011 23-39 1829 900 1664 379 10 1065 936 78 1453 74 1 47 186 20 21 .273 .374 .474 .848 *2DH/34
9 Derek Jeter 260 11195 12602 1995 2014 21-40 2747 1923 3465 544 66 1311 1082 39 1840 170 97 58 287 358 97 .310 .377 .440 .817 *6/DH
10 Graig Nettles 250 5519 6248 1973 1983 28-38 1535 750 1396 202 20 834 627 55 739 31 8 62 115 18 25 .253 .329 .433 .762 *5/HD6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/12/2016.

Only Yogi Berra gets between Rodriguez and the big four. Rodriguez hit 50.4% of his 696 home runs for the Yankees. Among the top ten only Nettles has fewer at bats.

3 comments:

Eric Matthews said...

Very compelling argument. However, the argument applied to the Hall of Fame (“I know a Hall of Famer when I see one”), if applied to this, puts (at least) Munson and Mattingly ahead when applying the sobriquet "greatest Yankee since Mantle." Career Yankees who were the heart and soul of their respective teams.

George Wagner said...

As far as STATS, he might just be # 5. As far as representing the Yankee franchise, being a team leader, being a winner, representing MLB and representing the human race, well, there are a dozen or so Yankees that rate higher than him "as a Yankee".

Kenneth Matinale said...

Surprising that neither comment mentioned Derek Jeter. When Rodriguez joined the Yankees he changed position to accommodate Jeter.

By the way, Hall of Fame criteria: 4 of 6 are about character.

Yankee players since Mantle who might be considered: Dave Winfield, Jeter and Robinson Cano. All three played well longer than Munson or Mattingly.

If his one year suspension and subsequently exemplary behavior is not enough to Rodriguez back into acceptable human race status, then I guess he should have been executed as any offense would warrant that by the logic in the two comments.