Congratulations to A-Rod on #600

And of course, he gets to keep the ball by going yard into Monument Park. Atta boy A-Rod.

Going forward though, can Alex Rodriguez hit 763? One would assume so since he is the youngest player to hit 600, but with how his season’s gone, it’s not as much a lock as it once was. His ISO has dipped to .209, his lowest mark since 1997.

I think it comes down to two things. Either his approach and/or his hip.

Approach) A-Rod has the worst BB% of the past decade for him, at 9.5%. His discipline also seems out of whack. His O-Swing% is 26.2%, well above his career norm of 20.9%. He’s also making contact 81.5% of the time, the first time in his career it’s above 80%. So he’s chasing pitches outside the zone more than ever, which is probably why he’s walking less. He’s also making contact with those pitches, but it’s weak contact. It seems like part of his success in the past was waiting for his pitch to drive and make good contact. So he would see lots of pitches, and not expand his zone. He may have swung and missed more, but he was taking good cuts. As A-Rod said in Spring Training about hitting:

“Have a plan with conviction,” Rodriguez said. “Look to do damage. Take your ‘A’ swing and drive the ball.”

Now he is chasing pitches and just going up there to hit the ball, rather than drive the ball. And driving the ball was a philosophy he always preached.

Hip) Scouts have said his bat speed and lower half have been slow this year. Watch him bat and you’ll notice the same thing. He can’t get around on inside pitches. He’s late and off-balance, causing him to pop it up on the first base side. His mechanics are out of whack. One reason could be his hip. He had surgery on it last year and came back fine. But he hurt it again earlier this season. If the hip injury is lingering, that could be why he has been slow. If that’s the case, hopefully he will be back to normal in 2011 and will put to rest any doubt that he can’t reach 600.

I’ve already talking about A-Rod and steroids, so you know I’m pulling for him, especially as a Yankees fan. Hopefully he’ll be completely healthy in the future, allowing him to drive the ball with authority again.

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