In his most recent Friday chat on ESPN.com, Joe Morgan answered this question from Scott in New York City:
I’m a big fan of Alex Rodriguez, but I wonder if it’s time to stop calling him the best player in baseball. He bats .280. Thoughts?
Joe’s response was this:
Be careful, if you say anythign agianst the Yankees people think you hate the Yankees! You have to give ARod the benefit of the doubt because he is still adjusting to play in NY. He is the centerpiece of everything there and tried to do too much early. He still has that great ability. I would wait until next year to judge him.
I do think Scott Rolen is having a better year that ARod.
What has impressed me the most about ARod has been his ability to handle the transition to 3B.
For once in my life, I may agree with Joe Morgan, even if I don’t agree with all of his spelling. (Or is it “spellign”?) Let’s look at A-Rod’s projected stats for the end of this season:
Batting average: .279
Runs scored: 112
Home Runs: 40
Stolen Bases: 28
On-Base Percentage: .366
Slugging Percentage: .515
Most of those categories are below his career averages, but guess what? That is a great year! And when you consider the fact that he IS playing great defense at a new position, and that he IS playing his first season in the toughest city in the world, and that he IS the team leader on the second-best team in baseball … well, let’s just say that if anyone in the world deserves the benefit of the doubt in a “subpar” season, it’s Alex Rodriguez.
And until someone else comes along who consistently plays better all-around baseball than A-Rod, I will consider him the best player in the game.