Thursday, July 24, 2008
His On-Base-Percentage is 40 points lower than his lifetime average. Unless he goes on a second-half tear, he won't reach his 180+ hits per season. He has only five stolen bases and may not reach double digits for the first time in his career. He can't seem to pull the ball anymore and most of his hits are Texas Leaguers to right. His range has diminished at short over the years. His patented stab, leap and throw from deep short is a compensation for this, as is his "inside-out" swing a compensation for losing bat speed and not being able to pull the ball. He deserves a lot of credit for making those adjustments and maintaining himself a valuable piece of the Yankees. All these things, in sum, point to the start of a decline. Even his "inside-out" swing seems to be starting to backfire, as umpires no longer give him that inside pitch - instead of a ball, it's now a strike. We'll have to wait and see. Regardless, that Cooperstown plaque is waiting for him.