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Thursday, July 26, 2012
A-Rod might not be a big loss for Yankees

By ESPN Stats & Information

Alex Rodriguez is expected to be out six to eight weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his left hand.

But will the New York Yankees really miss A-Rod?

Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez
According to AccuScore, which utilizes 10,000 computer simulations, A-Rod’s absence won’t impact the Yankees much. Assuming Rodriguez misses eight weeks, it won’t cost the Yankees even a full game. Regardless of whether he’s there or not, the odds of them winning the AL East are still better than 97 percent.

In terms of history, it’s unlikely the Yankees will surrender their eight-game lead in the AL East. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the largest lead the Yankees have had at any time in a season in which they did not finish in first place was six games in 1933 (June 6-7).

For most of his career, A-Rod steered clear of injuries and missing large chunks of games, but that hasn’t been the case recently. Last year he played in 99 games and has appeared in 94 this year. Prior to last year, the last time he played in fewer than 124 games in a season was 1995, when he began the season as a 19-year-old.

The Yankees haven’t been affected much over the past three seasons when Rodriguez is not in the lineup. Since 2010, they’re a combined 63-29 (.685 win percentage) without him and 188-142 (.570 win percentage) with him.

A-Rod’s power has declined significantly over the years. Since winning his last MVP in 2007, his at-bats per home run rate has more than doubled. He hit a homer once every 10.8 at-bats in 2007 but has homered once every 23.5 at-bats this season.

His slugging percentage has taken a hit recently as well. His .449 slugging percentage this season is his lowest since 1995 (.408).

Entering Wednesday, 16 third basemen were qualified for the batting title. The cumulative batting average and slugging percentage of those 16 players is slightly better than Rodriguez’s numbers this season.

What about A-Rod’s replacement at third base?

The Yankees might not miss a beat with Eric Chavez. This season, Chavez has a higher slugging percentage, higher home run percentage, higher isolated power and lower strikeout percentage.

That’s right: Chavez is hitting homers more often than the man who’s fifth on the all-time home run list, and striking out less often.

It’s easy to assume A-Rod’s absence will be a crushing blow to the Yankees. But the numbers suggest they should be just fine without him.