Fonzie Is Raking
Alfonso Soriano has enjoyed a very interesting career. He has played in both the National and American Leagues with a total of four teams, including one twice. He has delighted some with his play, and frustrated others. He has even been something of a polarizing figure, particularly in Chicago, where he spent the better part of seven seasons roaming the outfield for the Cubs. However, setting these notions aside for a moment, let us stop and behold the season Soriano is currently enjoying. Because folks, Fonzie is flat out raking.
At the age of 37, Soriano is putting together a remarkable year. As of this writing, his season totals include 32 homers, 98 RBI, and 18 steals. These numbers are quite impressive, and unusual for a variety of reasons, one being the idea that a player’s production should logically decline as they get older and reach the nadir of their career.
In the case of Soriano his production peaked in 2006 with the Washington Nationals when he hit 46 homers, stole 41 bases, and scored 119 runs. In his following five injury plagued seasons in Chicago, while still productive, Soriano experienced a steady decline in his numbers.
Then, in 2012, Fonzie experienced something of a renaissance, producing 32 homers and 108 RBI, not to mention his highest batting average in four seasons. The 32 bombs were the most since his first season in Chicago in 2007, and the 108 RBI were a career high. In addition, Fonzie’s much maligned defense in left field improved dramatically. Soriano finished the season with only one error and a career high fielding percentage, along with 12 assists.
Which brings us to this season. Soriano provided much needed power and stability in the middle of an offensively challenged Cub lineup until the inevitable trade finally happened, and Fonzie returned to New York. Soriano had gotten off to a slow start in 2013, but got hot in the latter part of June and carried the Cub offense for over a month before his departure.
However, after returning to New York in late July, business really picked up. Soriano has been a notoriously streaky hitter for most of his career, but his production since joining the Yankees has been off the charts. Specifically, Fonzie enjoyed a four game stretch in mid August that is almost unparalleled in MLB history.
From August 13th through August 17th, Soriano went completely insane, compiling 13 hits in 18 at bats with five homers. The Fonz drove in a ridiculous 18 runs during this period, and scored nine. The 18 RBI in four consecutive games tied an MLB record, and Soriano became the only player in MLB history to have 18 RBI and at least 12 hits in a four-game stretch. Clearly, Fonzie does whatever he pleases.
With 14 games remaining, Soriano has an outside shot at breaking his career high for RBI set last season, and the 18 steals are his most since 2008. The Fonz has also achieved two significant career milestones this season, with his 2000th hit and 400th homer. In addition, he has quite simply carried the Yankees offensively, totaling 15 homers and 47 RBI in 46 games with the team, and somehow still has them on the fringes of playoff contention.
So, how about a tip of the cap, or perhaps a double thumbs up, to the Fonz. He is putting in the work, and defying the gods of time and logic in the process. I do not particularly care for the Yankees, but Fonzie seems like a good dude, and I hope the raking continues.