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Is This Really The Return of the Old Alex Rodriguez?


By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Time to pull out the Pokémon cards and Sidekick phones. Alex Rodriguez is back to playing like an elite baseball player.

In the first 12 games of the 2015 season, A-Rod is currently batting .316 with four home runs, 11 RBI, and a 1.157 OPS. Considering he last played a meaningful game in 2013 and ended the year batting .244 with seven HR, 19 RBI, and a .771 OPS in 44 games, I’ll say he has improved since we last saw him. Even as he's cooled down over his last five games, he's still racked up a tidy 8:5 K:BB ratio which has helped him score five runs with only two hits. He's obviously seeing the ball pretty well.

It is still a small sample size, and yet in this time, A-Rod has been a top 50 fantasy player according to Yahoo! He is now owned in 85% of leagues, skyrocketing from being drafted in less than 25% of leagues when the year started. Yahoo! is also listing him as the seventh most productive fantasy third basemen in the first two weeks of the year. Whether A-Rod can maintain this level of production is another story. My money would bet against it, but this is the same person who has averaged over 35 HR, 120 RBI and a .299 average over his career.

Part of this early success was due to his .421 BABIP and .395 ISO over those first 12 games. Both have since fallen to more reasonable levels. Even in A-Rod’s prime, his numbers were never higher than .347 and .331 in 2005 and 2007, respectively. The fact that his four dingers have come in just 12 hits and 38 at-bats will likely bring his inflated power numbers back to earth, unless he stays on his current track and hits 81 homers this year. I do like that his BB% has also gone up this year to 19.1% after just 9.6% in his last full season.

Rodriquez’s rapid increase in ownership is also due to injuries to fellow 3B Anthony Rendon and David Wright. He will be turning 40 in July, but he is playing like he is 20 again. Many owners have already done their due diligence with Rodriguez, picking him up based on his performance, and perhaps some hope he can in some way return to the A-Rod of day’s past.

For now, it would be smart to ride out his current hot streak, and if you are one of those owners who needed a replacement 3B, there's no reason to cut ARod loose. However, once his decline does happen, you should not hesitate to drop him back to waivers.