Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 8/17/12

There was a time when Eric Chavez was on a hall-of-fame-level career path. Through 2006 — his age-28 season and his eighth full major league campaign — Chavez had a .271/.350/.489 batting line, 212 home runs and six well-deserved (at least most of them) Gold Gloves. Basically, if you think Scott Rolen should be a hall-of-famer, you can see Chavez traveling the same path — especially considering the pitcher-friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum:


Source: FanGraphsEric Chavez, Scott Rolen

This year, Chavez is putting up a .303/.362/.547 (139 wRC+) season in 224 plate appearances with the Yankees. He’s been a more-than-able replacement for Alex Rodriguez, and he’s been a surprisingly big reason why the Yankees have been able to pull away from the pack in the AL East.

Chavez’s 139 wRC+ is the best season of his career; he ranged from 123 to 133 in his four-year peak from 2001 to 2004. Chavez is hitting for as much power as ever (.244 ISO, second to a .252 mark in 2001) and he’s striking out just 15.6% of the time.

Part of the reason behind his success is way the Yankees have been able to leverage his skills. Chavez has taken 199 of his 224 plate appearances against right-handers, which helps him take advantage of his large career splits: .364 wOBA in 2590 appearances against righties, as opposed to just a .308 wOBA in 1,099 plate appearances against southpaws. Chavez’s line becomes even more impressive without the 22 plate appearance against lefties — they’ve held him to just a .143/.167/.143 mark, leaving a .324/.387/.598 mark against righties.

Although one would expect the new Yankee Stadium to be boost his comeback efforts, that hasn’t been the driving force. Six of Chavez’s 13 home runs have come on the road, and seven of the 13 have gone to either center or left. Indeed, he has a spray chart that leans pull — though it’s certainly not dead pull. As you can see, he’ll attack left field, too:

The laundry list of injuries — strained forearms, herniated disks, something called “spinal fusion surgery” and the list goes on — combined with his revived production at age 34, makes me wonder what could have been. Could he have been another Rolen? Perhaps an Adrian Beltre? He had that combination of glove and power that is so rare at third base.

For one last comparison, consider the following:


Source: FanGraphsEric Chavez, Evan Longoria

Of course, we’re comparing very different eras, but in many ways Longoria and Chavez share the same skillset. Perhaps, if Longoria can stay healthy, we can see an answer to the Chavez’s “what if?” scenario even as the 34-year-old revives his career in the Bronx.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Rex Ryan: IK Enempkali could fill void left by Mario Williams

Report: Indians have best deal on table for Chapman

White Sox GM: Chris Sale has not requested trade

Nebraska’s Foltz, ex-MSU punter Sadler killed in car accident

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Bennett to Seahawks: Pay me or 'get rid of me'

Victor Cruz expects to be 'ready to go' for training camp

DeMarcus Cousins: All-NBA vote ‘absurd’ and ‘a joke’

Andrew Luck: Colts were 'gutsy' to keep Pagano, Grigson

Report: Lesnar, Jones tested positive for same substance

Todd Bowles: Geno Smith 'can be a good starter' for Jets

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker