The beginning of a major league baseball season always brings new challenges for players. Some are learning a new pitch, others are figuring out a hitch in their swing. For Alex Rodriguez, he is just having trouble adjusting to hitting in a 40-year-old body.
For the majority of his career, A-Rod was in top physical condition, allowing him to make plays in the field, leg out doubles and triples with ease, and hit majestic home runs effortlessly. As he got older, as is the case with most players, his body began to give way and he found the things he used to do with ease, challenging.
Through his first nine games of 2016, the slugger is hitting a dismal .118, with only four hits, two being home runs. Numbers like this are unacceptable for any professional hitter, let alone one of the game’s greatest. But now is not the time to worry about A-Rod, he is an incredible hitter and will figure out whatever is wrong and turn it around.
There is no denying that Alex Rodriguez’s production has declined over the course of his career. The now full-time DH is not going to drive in 100+ runs anymore, but can still give you 20-30 home runs. The fact that he is now no longer playing the field will cause him to miss away series in National League parks, and give the slugger some much needed rest.
The three-time American League MVP proved that he could still deliver the long ball, hitting 33 home runs in 2015, his most since he hit 35 in 2008. Rodriguez’s main concern is his timing and pitch recognition. His 145 strikeouts in the 2015 season were a career high, and it’s a trend that has continued into 2016.
The 2016 baseball season has been off to an unusually cold start, especially up north in New York. The cold temperatures have limited some of the offensive production for players, and sitting around in the dugout on 30 degree days can take its toll on anyone.
For Rodriguez, that might just be the cause of the slump he is in. He is sitting around the dugout waiting for his turn to hit, embracing the elements and his body is having a tough time handling that. He goes up to the plate and looks clearly overmatched by pitchers whose stuff isn’t that good to begin with. If the elements throw him off by a split second, that can be the difference between a double in the gap or a strikeout. Back in the day, he could have gotten away with it, but now his hands are slower, and he can’t make up that kind of time.
Mother Nature is finally starting to realize it is baseball season, and the chilly days of winter seem to be behind us. The ballparks are starting to warm up, and soon so will Alex Rodriguez. The cold weather that has started the 2016 Major League Baseball season is the cause of his poor start, making his swing a bit longer, and throwing his timing off. Great hitters always struggle towards the end of their careers, and Rodriguez is no exception. He will begin to heat up and do what he can to push the Yankees into the postseason.