Stock in A-Rod preferred over Bonds?

Daniel Barone

The biggest disgrace to baseball this off-season, the New York Yankees, recently purchased the best player in baseball … so I hear. Experts everywhere have casually referred to Alex Rodriguez as the best player in the game. I hope that they are just caught up in the hype of the trade and haven’t seriously forgotten the clear-cut greatest talent in this era – Barry Bonds. While he has had a shadow cast over his talents by the recent steroid controversy, A-Rod will be second best until anything is proven for sure.

Until this off-season, Bonds was touted as the best hitter since Babe Ruth … how quickly these same people forget. A-Rod’s potential gives him a chance to be the best, but for now, take a back seat kid. The 39-year-old veteran Bonds is not only the best player in baseball, but arguably one of the most dominating athletes in sports.

Over the past three seasons, Bonds has out-batted Rodriguez, averaging over .346 and 54 homeruns, while setting major league records in homeruns as well as walks. A-Rod’s numbers are comparable in homeruns with 52, but his batting average is 41 points lower at .305. Bonds has won the MVP each of the last three years, while A-Rod has taken the honor only once.

The word “domination” comes to mind with Bonds. His average of 174 walks over the past three seasons is unprecedented, as he has set and broken his own record during that time period. This limits him to about 150 less at-bats than A-Rod, yet he still produces more homeruns.

Bonds’ effectiveness goes beyond power and batting average. His on base percentage over the last three seasons is an unheard of .542, compared to A-Rod’s .395. Bonds strikes out an amazing .38 times per walk, while A-Rod is just average at 1.98.

There is only one major category in which A-Rod looks any better than Barry. He has about 18 more runs batted in over the last three seasons. If this is enough to consider him the best, despite having about 150 more at-bats last season, then I guess I’m wrong, but you can’t argue with statistics. If Barry had those at-bats, he would certainly have a triple crown to go along with his homerun and batting crowns in 2001 and 2002, respectively. If he didn’t terrify pitchers so much, he would be granted the luxury of the at-bats that A-Rod and everyone else in the league have.

Bonds has led his team to the playoffs twice in the last three years, and we all know A-Rod was losing and losing in Texas. Arguing the third best player in baseball would be quite a challenge, but defining the top two places on the Major League podium in order is easy. A-Rod will not step atop until Bonds’ age becomes more of a factor upon his abilities.