No More 'A-Rod-Is-a-Choker' Stories, Please
For the bulk of his career, Alex Rodriguez's October failures were part of his legacy, used by amateur psychiatrists as evidence of some sort of intrinsic shortcoming of character on his part. He was always "A-Fraud" or "E-Rod." He wasn't a true Yankee.
It's safe to say: We can now put those claims to rest, after Rodriguez destroyed the Minnesota Twins in the AL Division Series, going 5 for 11 with six RBI and hitting game-tying home runs in the late innings of both Games 2 and 3.
Here are two stat lines (batting average/on-base/slugging):
The first is A-Rod's lifetime performance in the regular season. The latter is his lifetime performance in the postseason. Yeah, his OPS drops from .966 in the regular season to .900 in the postseason. But guess what? So does everyone's. Why? Because the pitching is better.
Here are two more stat lines:
Those are the lines for all MLB hitters during Rodriguez's career (1994-2009) in the regular season, followed the by postseason. So Rodriguez is 194 points of OPS better than the average hitter in the regular season, and 164 points better in the postseason. Not a huge difference.
Rodriguez's reputation as a choker was largely constructed from 2005-07, when he went 7 for 44 (.159) with one homer and one RBI in three straight first-round losses for the Yankees. But those three series spanned a mere 13 games, hardly long enough to draw any sorts of conclusions, especially not the kind that were designed to condemn a man's character.
As we found out over the past week, the problem wasn't with A-Rod's character, but with the sample size of his postseason record.
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