Ivan Rodriguez continues to defy the odds. 

At the age of 38, few thought he would be a productive everyday player in the majors in 2010. However, out of the gates, Rodriguez is leading the majors in hitting and despite speculation of an upcoming fall to reality, he has kept on hitting.

Entering Friday’s game he is batting .405/.432/.514. While that kind of production is likely unsustainable, the Nationals need to try and take more advantage of it while it’s here.

What Rodriguez has done 2010 to help spark his resurgence is create a new approach at the plate.

With 305 career home runs, he is one of the all-time best power hitting catchers. However, after failing to hit 15 homers or more home runs in any season since 2004, he realized that it is no longer part of his game.

As a result we have seen a Ivan Rodriguez more focused on making strong contact and swinging for singles, not the fences. This can be reflected in his .108 ISO which is the lowest he’s posted since 1992.

Without swinging for the fences, Rodriguez has been able to cut his strikeout percentage to 12.2, the lowest it’s been since 1996. This has helped his increased batting average as he is no longer trying to drive pitches but trying to place them.

The result has been simple, he’s gotten on base better than any player on the Nationals.

Despite his outstanding output, Rodriguez hasn’t been able to produce it into runs produced.

Combining to drive-in and score 22 runs, he ranks only fifth on the Nationals line-up in producing runs. Often batting in the sixth slot, he’s getting on base in front of people who are not hitting well enough to drive him in, and while he’s hitting behind some very good hitters, he’s not driving the ball well enough to hit in the big boppers.

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