Alex Rodriguez has now gone 81 at-bats without a homer, a span of 21 games (6/12/11 - 07/6/11). This is the longest single-season home run drought since joining the Yankees in 2004, and 31st longest drought since the start of his MLB career. He’s had six homerless skids of more than 60 at-bats and his career-high is 102 without a long-ball over a 32-game stretch that bridged the 1994-1995 seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Arod went 28 at-bats between 499 and 500 in 2007 -- tying Mickey Mantle for the third-longest homerless streak between 499 and 500. He also went 45 at bats between 599 and 600.
This development has a life of its own, but certainly one that’s flying under the radar as a result of Jeter’s pursuit to become the 28th Major League Player to collect 3,000 hits. Rodriguez has remained quiet, avoiding the public study.
Rodriguez is third on the team in home runs with 13 and leads with a .299BA and in the last 28 days, he is 31 for 87 (.356), 8DB, 2HR, 18RBI, .418OBP, .517SLG and .936OPS. This production would be comfortable for any other player but Alex is getting paid to go yard.
Alex was the best player in baseball, a superstar that could easily crush 40 plus homers in any given year. His supremacy was unrelenting. But gradually as is the case with most players his production is slowly declining. Alex will be 36 on 7/27 and it’s obvious that he’s no longer the player he once was -- facing a fourth straight year of declining slugging percentage (573/532/506/492). He hasn’t seen the north side of 30 homers since 2008, and it could very well be the result of the hip injury or just simply getting baseball old.
Will Rodriguez’s physical attributes continue to deteriorate or will he follow in the career path of other great sluggers in their mid 30’s: Ruth, Mays, Aaron, and Griffey averaged 180 home runs after they turned 35 years old, and none of them retired until after they turned 40.
Once Jeter enters the grounds of one of the most exclusive milestones in baseball history, the focus may shift to Rodriguez’s declining baseball skills.
Other sluggers with prolong home run droughts (Bleacher):
Rafael Palmeiro: In 1989 he went from May 5 to June 16, a total of 38 games and 142 at-bats, without hitting a home run. Even with that power slump, he managed to bat .331 during that period.
David Ortiz: He went 52 games and 143 at-bats without a home run, running from Sept. 12, 1998 to June 7, 2000. He batted only .238 during his drought. In 1994, He went homerless from May 15 to June 29, a total of 41 games and 147 at-bats. During his slump he batted .224.
Andre Dawson: From Sept. 11, 1976 until May 13, 1977, he went 44 games and 156 at-bats without a homer. He also struggled with his average during that slump, batting only .231.
Luis Gonzales: In 2006, from Apr. 21 to June 25, Luis went 56 games and 201 at-bats without leaving the yard.
Greg Vaughn: His worst slump took place starting Aug. 6, 2001, and ending May 17, 2002, a period of 63 games and 219 at-bats without a HR. His batting average during this episode was .151.
Ted Kluszewski: From May 13, 1958 through May 6, 1959, He went 88 games and 249 at-bats without hitting one out. Ted batted .317.
Gary Sheffield: From May 4, 1989, to Sept. 12, 1989, Sheffield went 66 games and 260 at-bats without a home run.
The worst slump for a notorious slugger since 1954 occurred in Palmeiro's 1988 season. During the span of June 26 until Sept. 29, Palmeiro went 76 games and 279 at-bats without a round-tripper.