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Friday, September 12, 2014

Derek Jeter ... overrated. Derek Jeter ... overrated. Derek Jeter ... overrated.

Intangibles won't get you on the subway, so don't go there.  Imagine the cadence of the Yankee bleacher creatures when reading the title of this post.  Then imagine Red Sox fans chanting it in Fenway Park in Jeter's final three scheduled regular season games.  They would actually be correct.

New York Yankees Top 10 Batting Leaders:

RankPlayerPlate AppearancesPA
1.Derek Jeter1253112531
2.Mickey Mantle99079907
3.Lou Gehrig96639663
4.Babe Ruth91989198
5.Bernie Williams90539053
6.Yogi Berra83508350
7.Roy White77357735
8.Don Mattingly77227722
9.Joe DiMaggio76737673
10.Willie Randolph74647464
Who is the worst hitter on that list?  Let's sort them by their Yankee OPS+:

OK, Jeter is second worst.  It doesn't make him a bad hitter or bad player.  It just introduces some perspective, which is lacking in the current Jeter-mania.  Catchers Bill Dickey (127) and Jorge Posada (121) are also higher than Jeter but had fewer than 7,400 PA.  Based on 5,000 PA, not 7,400, Jeter drops to number 20 among Yankees, tied with Hank Bauer.  Also ahead of Jeter: Robinson Cano (126) and Paul O'Neill (125).

So among Yankee contemporaries Jeter is behind Williams, Cano, O'Neill, Posada, not to mention Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and, lest we forget, Alex Rodriguez.  OK, the last three used performance enhancing drugs (PED) but Jeter never objected to playing with them, benefiting from their contributions to the Yankees winning.  The point is that the Yankee teams during the Jeter era won, not because Jeter was the best hitter, but because there were hitters better than Jeter.  Jeter was valuable as a good, but not great, hitting shortstop.

Jeter was the starting shortstop on five Yankee championship teams .  Before the start of tournament play in 1995 it was easier for teams to win the old World Series.  Compared to the seasons before 1969 when there was only the World Series, it was about twice as difficult for a team to win a championship during the Jeter years.  So, Jeter's five championships are about comparable to ten of the old type.  That's very much to Jeter's credit.

But that credit must be shared, especially with the most forgotten Jeter teammate, Bernie Williams, who was on four of those teams.  Jeter's role and contribution is simply not in the same league as those of the Yankees big four: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle.  Nor three time MVP Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.

And this is only dealing with Jeter's status as a Yankee.

Previous posts with this theme:

Derek Jeter's best batting season: number 66 all time ... among Yankees.  Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Derek Jeter's best OPS+ : 153 in 1999, tied among Yankees for 66th best with Jorge Posada and Danny Tartabull...

... On Base "Percentage" (OBP) ... best 50 Yankee seasons.  Jeter's best OBP: .438 in 1999, number 32...

Consider this the next time somebody implies that Jeter belongs in the same company as the Yankees big four, listed chronologically: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle.  Jeter played 20 seasons but was the best batter on his team only in 1999.

Jeter leads the Yankees in career hits; Jeter is also career leader in:
outs ... double plays ... strike outs

In ranking Jeter, why ignore Banks, Yount, Rodriguez?  Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ernie Banks, Robin Count and Alex Rodriguez were all MVP shortstops, Banks twice, before changing positions in the middle of their careers: Banks to first, Yount to center (another MVP), Rodriguez to third (two more MVP).

In all the adulation and evaluation of Derek Jeter, who has played the field only at shortstop, why not include the shortstop portions of those three careers? ...

From 1903-2013 there have been these number of shortstop seasons with OPS+ greater than or equal to:
175: 6
160: 16
150: 27
140: 54
130: 96
120: 175

Top 25 shortstop seasons 1946-2013: ...

Jeter is on this list once: number 15.  Ranks of multiples:
Rodriguez: 4, 6, 7, 8, 19
Banks: 9, 11, 20, 25
Ripken: 5, 20, 25
Yount: 2, 16
Garciaparra: 9, 14
Ramirez: 17, 23

Garciaparra, Jeter and Rodriguez all started about the same time and were the big three shortstops who could hit, field and run.  From 1996 through 2003 Garciaparra was number two behind Rodriguez.  In his first full season of 1997 Garciaparra led in AB, Hits, 3B; RoY, MVP-8; second in MVP in 1998.  Led in BA 1999, 2000: .357, .372...

Let's compare the truncated shortstop careers of these players to Jeter.  Ripken is included for fun; he has two listings: one for his time as a shortstop, which went to age 35, and another that has a comparable number of PA to make it relevant to the others.  Garciaparra is also included for fun; he continued as a shortstop after leaving the Red Sox but is not a serious contender to Jeter.  Garciaparra's OPS+ peeked at 140 in 2000; career 124...

Rodriguez and Banks are the best hitters.  Jeter's hitting is comparable to Ripken through 1989 one year before Ripken won his second MVP.

Yount's standing is more difficult to judge.  His MVP season is clearly better than any season that Jeter ever had.  Jeter's best hitting season was 1999 but he led only in PA and Hits.  Other than PA and AB, Jeter's only other "black ink": Hits in 2012, Runs 1998...

What if Torre had done what many Yankee fans wanted at the time: moved Jeter and played Rodriguez at shortstop?  I had long thought that Jeter was a natural center fielder, better than teammate Bernie Williams.  That would have been a natural move.  If Jeter could have made that transition and stayed in center for most of the rest of his career, he might have wound up like Yount and been regarded as a Hall of Fame player.  But if Jeter moved to second, that would have lowered his value as would moving to left field or third base where a power hitter is preferred.  I think moving to left would have ruined Jeter for the Hall and he might have already stopped playing for the Yankees...

And what if Banks, Yount and Rodriguez had all retired rather than move to different positions?  Would they make the Hall of Fame?  Since ten seasons are required, technically Banks would not have qualified 1953-1961.  But Rodriguez (1994-2003) and Yount (1974-1984) would.  Let's say that Banks had played part of another season.  I think both Banks and Rodriguez would be elected easily.  Yount probably but less certain.

What if Jeter and Ripken had stopped playing at comparable points?  Ripken would have one MVP but Ripken would not have broken the record for consecutive games played set by Lou Gehrig.  Jeter would have been a member of four championship teams, not five, same as teammate Bernie Williams.  I think that Ripken's chances would be about the same as Yount's.  Jeter would probably not make it.

If Rodriguez had stayed at shortstop through his third MVP season of 2007, he would be regarded as at least the second greatest shortstop of all time, behind only Honus Wagner (1897-1917).  Rodriguez voluntarily agreed to switch positions when he joined the Yankees in 2004, seemingly without resentment.  That should be considered when taking his measure.

Derek Jeter is not a great hitter or fielder. So, how can he be a great player?  Friday, February 14, 2014

When you hear about Jeter's rank among shortstops, consider both Banks and Rodriguez who may not be included in career comparisons.

As you go through this post think about this fundamental question: who is he better than?  As a hitter, who is Derek Jeter than?  Who is the best hitter Jeter is better than? ...

As demonstrated in the previous post Jeter's batting does not place him among the Yankee greats listed with their career OPS+ rank among all batters...

In 18 seasons Jeter was the best Yankee hitter once.  ONCE!  I find that shocking.  During his own era Jeter was not the best hitter on his own team.  Generally, Jeter was number four ... on his own team.  How much could Jeter have possibly been needed? ...

Fielding?  As a Yankee fan I always liked Jeter's fielding.  I often defended him against other Yankee fans who criticized Jeter unmercifully.  However, the people who claim to understand the various and evolving fielding metrics evaluate Jeter as below average.  I'm tired of fighting.  With the game on the line I trusted Jeter more than any other shortstop to retire the batter on a routine ground ball.  That might sound like faint praise but "late and close" is a situation used to evaluate batters, so why not for fielders, too?

Derek Jeter is not a great hitter or fielder.  So, how can he be a great player?  I don't have a good answer.  But I'd vote for him for the Hall of Fame.  He's a Yankee and I like him.  That's my view as a fan.

Derek Jeter announces his retirement after 2014 season and the slobbering is in full force on the Selig TV Network.  Thursday, February 13, 2014

Massive slobbering is spreading across the land.  I fear a farewell tour.  Oh, the humanity...

I learned of this news about Jeter's upcoming retirement on the MLB Network, where they are trying to determine if Jeter is in the top ten human beings of all time.  Certainly CEO Allan Huber "Bud" Selig is singing Jeter's praises, perhaps to cast the hated A-Rod into an even deeper place in baseball purgatory.

Top ten players?  Top ten shortstops?   Blah, blah, blah.

Jeter's rank is largely due to his longevity.  When he has played the field it has only been at shortstop.  Had he been switched to another position in his later years Jeter might not even be playing any more.  He doesn't hit for enough power to play third base or left field...

Most of the blathering on MLB Network is about totals, like times on base.  I thought comparing Jeter to Rodriguez again might provide some perspective.

On the all time Yankee list I'd rank Jeter 6 or 7 among non-pitchers.  Here they are in order by OPS+:

1. Babe Ruth 206
4. Lou Gehrig 179, MVP, triple crown
6. Mickey Mantle 172, 3 MVP, triple crown
22. Joe DiMaggio 155, 3 MVP
201. Bill Dickey 127
236. Yogi Berra 125, 3 MVP
438. Derek Jeter 117

The big four come first, then Berra, then Dickey or Jeter.  That's my ranking without a system as a Yankee fan.  I think that's high praise for Jeter.

I love Jeter but I hope he will forego a dreadful repeat of the Mariano Rivera farewell tour.  I'm really hoping that the Steinbrenner Kids do not repeat their numerology circus and retire Jeter's number 2 ...

At least now the Yankees can plan for Jeter's successor without tripping over his legacy.  The Yanks can also schedule yet another tribute day which may be needed to draw fans in case the Yanks are drifting out of contention late in the 2014 season.  If only A-Rod could ride to the rescue.

Team captain:

When, if ever, did Jeter take a player aside and instruct him on how a Yankee is supposed to conduct himself?  Jeter had plenty of time last season to speak to Cano, who was super dogging it to first base in his walk year.  Did Jeter ever speak to the PED suspects: Giambi, Sheffield, Rodriguez?  How about the pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte?

Druggies Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte to honor Derek Jeter in Houston. Is that the right way?  Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Derek Jeter did it the right way.  That's what you constantly hear.  If you're one of the people who say that to distinguish Jeter from players like teammate Alex Rodriguez (suspended this entire season for using performance enhancing drugs (PED)), what's right about having users of PED as honored quests to honor Jeter?  One of the basic things implied by the phrase "the right way" is that Jeter did not use PED as did both former teammates Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte

Derek Jeter honored in Milwaukee by another druggie, Ryan Braun.  Sunday, May 11, 2014

You can't make this up...

... two Brewers were sent out to embrace Jeter during a brief ceremony: Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez.

Braun was suspended for the final 65 games of the 2013 season for being implicated in the Florida clinic scandal over performance enhancing drugs (PED) ...

Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig made a fortune as dual owner of the Brewers and commissioner during the steroid era.  Now his outgoing golden boy is being honored by players who violated Selig's drug policy.  Hypocrisy doesn't get much thicker than this.

Derek Jeter honored in Texas by druggie Ivan Rodriguez.  Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ivan Rodriguez represented the Texas Rangers in a ceremony honoring Yankee captain Derek Jeter before his final game in Texas...

Ivan Rodriguez very likely used PED in winning the 1999 American League MVP award, ironically beating out Jeter, who had his finest season.

Jeter is either a really nice guy or is painfully oblivious.  I have not watched closely but this is the third Jeter ceremony in which I've noticed that teams have chosen as their representatives players who either admitted using PED or who do not pass the "liar, liar, pants on fire" test...

What's with Jeter posing with druggies?  Is he oblivious as previously suggested or is he magnanimous?  If the more positive, then why doesn't Jeter speak up for his former best buddy and ten year teammate Alex Rodriguez?

Michael Pineda wears his Yankee uniform like a slob. Why doesn't captain Derek Jeter correct him?  Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rafael Soriano, keep your shirt together!  Thursday, June 28, 2012

George Michael Steinbrenner III must be turning over in his grave.  Spinning! ...

Rafael Soriano, act like a Yankee!  Joe DiMaggio is watching.

Where was the leadership?  I'm very much put off by the selfish theme of the Jeter celebrations.  I am surprised that Jeter is not embarrassed by the over the top junk that the Steinbrenner Kids have allowed to be used.  Two really obscene examples:
1. Yankees wearing a dead man's patch with Jeter's number on TWO parts of their uniforms: cap and sleeve.
2. Yankee Stadium flying Jeter flags in place of the 30 team flags.

Am I the only Yankee fan offended by these excesses?  They are included in my conclusion that Derek Jeter is overrated.


Saturday, September 27, 2014
Derek Jeter's WAR rank among SS by year and career. Jeter showed up for work.

Sunday, September 28, 2014
I come to bury Jeter, not to praise him. Derek Jeter was not good enough to be the best player on a championship team.


William J. Tasker said...

Of course his career will never match the hype and the over-adulation. But have you listened to his peers talk about him the last month or so? Give the guy his due. He is a first ballot HOF guy. Over and out.

Kenneth Matinale said...

I did an objective analysis and you did not even address much less refute it.

I'm guessing some players think the Jeter adulation is too much but don't want to speak up, plus there's a lot that players do not know. Last night on ESPN John Kruk said: "Babe Ruth wasn't elected in the first ballot?". And Jeter should be? That's silly. It's a silly precedent but I don't see Jeter as that good a candidate to be the one to break it.