A-Rod robbed by Evan Longoria
Just look at the numbers (right). Outside of hitting with RISP, plus HR and RBI totals, which are very general statistical measures that fail to address the more nuanced aspects of a player’s season, I don’t understand how Longoria’s 2009 performance was perceived as better than A-Rod’s campaign. Is there something I’m missing (an overlooked number, maybe)? If you notice anything that is statistically significant, please, let me know, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen anything, in particular, that would suggest Longoria’s offense was, indeed, better than the offense provided by Alex Rodriguez in 2009. When compared to Alex, Longoria is a much better fielder—that’s definitely true, but a better hitter? Not at all, and the numbers certainly speak to that.
Further, A-Rod lost a significant part of his season due to a hip injury, one which ultimately needed to be corrected through surgical means. Because of the surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation period after the surgery, he played in 33 fewer games than Longoria (124 vs 157). Had he played in the same amount of games, he would have likely surpassed Longoria in HR and RBI totals (and he would have done so with ease). Still, even with 33 fewer games under his belt, A-Rod managed to be better than Longoria in almost every offensive category outlined in the featured table. He walked more, struck out less, and was faster on the basepaths. Basically, as captured by the BATTING statistic (park adjusted runs above average based on wOBA), Alex was just a better offensive player than Longoria was this season.
Now, I don’t want to diminish Longoria’s award, as it is his first Silver Slugger (though I’m sure there will be many more to come), however, after battling injury early on, Alex Rodriguez deserved to win his 11th Silver Slugger title after a very successful and effective offensive season. The award is provided to the best offensive player at his respective position and, in the American League, at third base, that player was not Longoria, but A-Rod. The managers and coaches who voted for this year’s winners simply got it wrong. After receiving the award in 2007-08, one can only wonder how much Alex’s controversial offseason—the steroid admission—had to do with this year’s result.