The New Alex Rodriguez
Eric Chavez is a hero. When the Yankees lost their Hall of Fame third baseman last month Eric Chavez rediscovered his lost All-Star abilities. Saying All-Star next to Eric Chavez looks funny because he’s never actually been one, even though he has been one. It’s weird how baseball works sometimes.
Since the day Alex Rodriguez broke his hand, Eric Chavez has been Alex Rodriguez. At least what we want Alex Rodriguez to be. In the month of August he’s been batting .425 with 10 RBIs and has an astronomically high 232 wRC+. If 100 is league average, Eric Chavez has been double the average hitter, plus a little extra on top of that. He has a 131 wRC+ on the season, which is currently better than the last three seasons that Alex Rodriguez has been able to put together. At 1.4 WAR, Eric Chavez has been worth nearly as much as Alex Rodriguez’s 1.8 WAR. As just a part time player, Eric Chavez is having a better season pretending to be Alex Rodriguez than Kevin Youkilis is trying to be himself.
The one thing that Eric Chavez can’t do that Alex Rodriguez can do is hit left handed pitching. Chavez has a -35 wRC+ against left handers. Again, if 100 is league average and 0 is doing absolutely nothing, a -35 would be bad just for showing up. That’s where platoons come in. The newly acquired Casey McGehee can hit southpaws like Chavez hits righties and Jayson Nix has been there too, being equally as bad against both righties and lefties. Not Chavez-against-a-lefty bad, but still not good.
Eric Chavez has more than made up for a lost A-Rod. So much so that when Alex Rodriguez comes back I find it hard to justify seeing less of him. At this point in their careers everything they can give is a plus, but right now Eric Chavez is in the middle of a renaissance, while Alex Rodriguez is in a fast decline.
By: Jason Cohen