Alex Rodriguez’ days of being in the conversation for top player picked in a fantasy draft are long gone. His days of being a top 50 pick (he had an average draft position of 44.8 in Yahoo! drafts this season) are disappearing as well. A-Rod’s numbers still make him a top 100 player and starting third baseman in a 12-team league, but not by much. Plus, he is currently on the disabled list with a broken hand, which puts him out of the fantasy baseball conversation for the next few weeks, and decreases the likelihood that he is fantasy keeper material.
Since his last MVP season in 2007, when he had a 1.067 OPS, A-Rod’s OPS has gone down every year: .965, .933, .847, .823. When he was injured in late July 2012, A-Rod’s OPS was .806. Ironically, he had improved his numbers in July, hitting .315 that month until an errant pitch from Felix Hernandez broke his hand and put him out of commission until September.
A-Rod did put up three more 30 homer – 100 RBI seasons after 2007 before going 16-62 in 99 games in 2011. This year, 30 homers is an impossibility, as is 100 RBI, even in the Yankees’ packed lineup. At press time, he has 15 homers and 44 RBIs on the year.
But while A-Rod used to be a perennial .300 hitter, he has hit just .286, .270 and .276 the last three seasons and was hitting .276 for the season at press time.
A-Rod used to be good for stolen bases (he is one of only three players in MLB history to have 600 homers and 300 steals) but only had eight steals in 2010 and 2011 combined. He did have eleven steals in 2012, which is an improvement.
Until he got hurt, A-Rod has started all but four games this season, which was pretty good considering that he has not played in 140 games in a season since 2007 and turns 37 in late July. Although the injury he suffered this season was not his fault, it still means another year where he will not play in 140 games.
At his age, A-Rod runs the risk of injury or regression. Last year, A-Rod had a strong first half, hitting .295 with 13 homers and 52 RBI in 80 games. But A-Rod played in just 19 games in an injury-plagued second half, hitting .191 with three homers and 10 RBI. When he eventually starts playing again, he could run the risk of another injury.
If you are in a head-to-head league, it’s possible that A-Rod will not contribute as much during the fantasy playoffs as you would hope, although he is expected to be back sometime in September. It all depends upon how quickly he heals.
Last season, A-Rod failed to receive any votes for most valuable player for the first time since 1997. His numbers in late June were similar to those of the Cardinals’ David Freese and the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. A-Rod’s days of being an elite third baseman appear to be coming to an end. With the influx of much younger third basemen such as Freese, Moustakas, Mark Trumbo of the Angels and Boston’s Will Middlebrooks, A-Rod’s days of being a starting fantasy third baseman may be numbered as well. If you are in a keeper league, now is the time to choose another keeper besides Alex Rodriguez.
Ben Hargrove writes for a variety of sports sites, including DraftStreet.
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