Willie Mays Newsbeat
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Mays beats A-Rod by nine lengths.
An easy way to measure Mays’ dominance over A-Rod is to look at the all-time wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboard1. By total WAR, Mays ranks as the fifth most-productive player in major-league history, trailing only Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and pitchers Cy Young and Walter Johnson. Mays also ranks as the third-best non-pitcher ever, according to JAWS, which attempts to balance a player’s aggregate WAR compilation against the brilliance of his peak. Among position players in the history of baseball, only Ruth had a better prime — as measured by WAR in a player’s best seven seasons — than Mays did when he was at the top of his game.
Rodriguez also ranks highly in WAR, but his numbers are nowhere near those of Mays. A-Rod ranks 17th all-time in total WAR, trailing Mays by about 40 wins. At his career rate of WAR per 162 games, Rodriguez would have to play five and a half more seasons of 162 games apiece — that is, until age 44 — to catch Mays. It also bears mentioning that Rodriguez hasn’t even played more than 150 games in a season since 2007; at a more realistic rate of 125 games per year, he’d have to play until age 46 (with no decline in performance) to reach Mays’ total.
Since Rodriguez has recently missed big chunks of playing time in which he could have been accumulating raw WAR, his peak ranking fares a bit better than his overall WAR rank. That’s why A-Rod sits at 12th all-time in JAWS. But the difference in JAWS between No. 3 Mays and No. 12 Rodriguez is the same as the difference between Rodriguez and No. 33 Charlie Gehringer.
And the gap isn’t likely to close much before Rodriguez retires. While A-Rod is having a resurgent start to the 2015 season, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system still only predicts about 0.7 more wins above replacement left in his career before his contract runs out (and, coincidentally, he begins to provide negative value) following the 2017 season.
So, any way you cut it, Mays provided much more value in his career than A-Rod.
Posted: May 09, 2015 at 01:12 PM | 171 comment(s)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Does A-Rod even exist?
According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Rodriguez goes deep with number 660, the Yankees will have a precise period of time — two weeks, as per one of the sources — to declare this as a marketable milestone. If they were to do this, then Rodriguez would sign over the rights to his image and associated branding for the price of $6 million.
The same drill would go into effect should A-Rod tie Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds (762), as well as pass Bonds with his 763rd homer.
But the Yankees have no intention of making such a declaration, as they feel A-Rod’s rich history of illegal performance-enhancing drug usage renders his accomplishments unmarketable. Once the Yankees formalize this decision, then A-Rod has a set period of time — 30 days, according to one source — to file a grievance. Though Rodriguez has shied away from publicly discussing this, every indication is that he will challenge the Yankees’ interpretation of the side deal.
Major League Baseball will support the Yankees’ efforts in such a grievance, and the Players Association will lead the charge for A-Rod. Independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, the same man who reduced Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension to the entirety of the 2014 season, would hear the case.
The Yankees must prove they utilized good faith in declining to notate A-Rod’s homer as a milestone, and the Yankees already are taking precautions to avoid giving the Rodriguez camp more ammunition.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The number held no significance at the time. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron had reached that total, but both men then zoomed passed it. Aaron reached 660 in 1972 — also against the Reds — but by the time Mays reached it, Aaron had passed 700. Ruth reached 660 in 1933 at age 38. In 2004, Barry Bonds became the fourth player to reach and pass 660.
Now Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees is poised to join them. Rodriguez hit his 658th career home run on Friday night and is two short of that gleaming 660 signpost that Mays planted beyond the Shea Stadium wall almost 42 years ago.
Posted: April 22, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 26 comment(s)
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