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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Derek Jeter's WAR rank among SS by year and career. Jeter showed up for work.

Among shortstops he had the most Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in his first full season: 1996.  And again in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003; second in 1997, sixth in 1999 when he played only 129 games.  Derek Jeter?  No, Alex Rodriguez.  In 1997 Nomar Garciaparra beat Rodriguez, who played only 141 games.  Jeter led in 1999, his career year.

Jeter's SS WAR rank from 1996 through 2003: 6,4,2,1,4,3,7,8.  In 2014 Jeter was ranked number 34, partly due to his playing less.  One of the two things that I do not like about WAR is that it is a total; the other is the fielding component, which continues to evolve.

Rodriguez led in batting average (BA) in 1996 and runs and doubles and total bases (TB).  In his remaining SS years Rodriguez led in:
1998: plate appearances (PA), at bats (AB), hits
2001: runs, home runs (HR), TB
2002: HR, RBI, TB
2003: runs, HR, slugging average (SLG), MVP.

Garciaparra became the first right handed batter since Joe DiMaggio to lead in BA in consecutive seasons.  He led in:
1997: AB, hits, 3B
1999: BA
2000: BA, IBB
2002: 2B

Jeter led in:
1997: PA
1998: runs
1999: PA, hits
Later years:
2005: PA
2010: PA
2012: PA, AB, hits.

They were the big three shortstops but the pecking order was clearly: Rodriguez, Garciaparra, Jeter.  In 2004 Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees and agreed to switch to third base as part of it.  Alex Rodriguez was well on his way to becoming the greatest shortstop of all time, replacing Honus Wagner, but he agreed to move so that Derek Jeter could continue to play shortstop for the New York Yankees.  On Thursday Jeter played his final game in the field, all at shortstop.  Rodriguez won two more MVP awards playing third for the Yankees.

But Jeter is the best shortstop of his generation, the only one from 1996 through 2014 with WAR above 50: 72.  But Jeter led in WAR in only that one career season, 1999.  Jeter was the best shortstop of his generation because he showed up for work ... and was the only one to stay at shortstop all that time.  Jeter was good, but not great, for 17 seasons.  Other than Rodriguez, the only other players to lead shortstops in WAR in multiple seasons from 1996-2014 were:
Hanley Ramirez: 2008, 2009
Troy Tulowitzki: 2007, 2010, 2011.

Among shortstops since 1901, Jeter's 1999 career year of 8 WAR ranks number 30:

Played 50% of games at SS, (requiring WAR_bat>=2), sorted by greatest WAR


But Rodriguez, Banks and Yount all drop out of the discussion because they changed positions to help their teams.  Let's look at career WAR of at least 50:


Rk Player WAR/pos From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Honus Wagner 113.8 1901 1917 27-43 2299 9640 8507 1414 2766 506 210 78 1375 836 648 99 198 601 26 .325 .392 .462 .853 *63/9574H81 PIT
2 Cal Ripken 95.5 1981 2001 20-40 3001 12883 11551 1647 3184 603 44 431 1695 1129 107 1305 66 10 127 350 36 39 .276 .340 .447 .788 *65/DH BAL
3 Robin Yount 77.0 1974 1993 18-37 2856 12249 11008 1632 3142 583 126 251 1406 966 95 1350 48 104 123 217 271 105 .285 .342 .430 .772 *68D/7H3 MIL
4 Ozzie Smith 76.5 1978 1996 23-41 2573 10778 9396 1257 2460 402 69 28 793 1072 79 589 33 214 63 167 580 148 .262 .337 .328 .666 *6/H SDP-STL
5 Luke Appling 74.5 1930 1950 23-43 2422 10254 8856 1319 2749 440 102 45 1116 1302 528 11 74 129 179 108 .310 .399 .398 .798 *6/5H43 CHW
6 Arky Vaughan 72.9 1932 1948 20-36 1817 7722 6622 1173 2103 356 128 96 926 937 276 46 116 70 118 .318 .406 .453 .859 *65/H74 PIT-BRO
7 Derek Jeter 71.7 1995 2014 21-40 2745 12598 11191 1923 3463 544 66 260 1310 1082 39 1839 170 97 58 287 358 97 .309 .377 .440 .817 *6/DH NYY
8 Alan Trammell 70.4 1977 1996 19-38 2293 9376 8288 1231 2365 412 55 185 1003 850 48 874 37 124 76 156 236 109 .285 .352 .415 .767 *6/HD5478 DET
9 Barry Larkin 70.2 1986 2004 22-40 2180 9057 7937 1329 2340 441 76 198 960 939 66 817 55 59 67 178 379 77 .295 .371 .444 .815 *6H/4D CIN
10 Joe Cronin 66.4 1926 1945 19-38 2124 8840 7579 1233 2285 515 118 170 1424 1059 700 34 166 57 87 71 .301 .390 .468 .857 *6H/5347 PIT-WSH-BOS
11 Pee Wee Reese 66.3 1940 1958 21-39 2166 9470 8058 1338 2170 330 80 126 885 1210 3 890 26 157 19 176 232 45 .269 .366 .377 .743 *65/H BRO-LAD
12 Lou Boudreau 63.0 1938 1952 20-34 1646 7024 6029 861 1779 385 66 68 789 796 309 34 164 155 51 50 .295 .380 .415 .795 *6/5H324 CLE-BOS
13 Luis Aparicio 55.8 1956 1973 22-39 2601 11230 10230 1335 2677 394 92 83 791 736 22 742 27 161 76 184 506 136 .262 .311 .343 .653 *6/H CHW-BAL-BOS
14 Bobby Wallace 55.2 1901 1918 27-44 1743 6902 6187 681 1618 271 80 10 704 552 440 34 129 154 10 .262 .325 .336 .661 *6/54H91 STL-SLB
15 Joe Sewell 53.7 1920 1933 21-34 1903 8333 7132 1141 2226 436 68 49 1054 842 114 80 275 74 72 .312 .391 .413 .804 *65/H4 CLE-NYY
16 Joe Tinker 53.2 1902 1916 21-35 1806 7153 6441 774 1690 263 114 31 783 416 526 10 285 336 12 .262 .308 .353 .661 *6/54H9 CHC-CIN-CHI
17 Bert Campaneris 53.1 1964 1983 22-41 2328 9625 8684 1181 2249 313 86 79 646 618 15 1142 64 199 60 106 649 199 .259 .311 .342 .653 *6/H574D83921 KCA-OAK-TEX-CAL-NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/27/2014.


Floyd "Arky" Vaughan, Pittsburgh Pirates
1933 Goudey baseball card
via Wikimedia Commons
Jeter is number 7, which is very good.  But for some perspective, Jeter is behind Arky Vaughan who had 7,722 PA to Jeter's 12,598 and counting.  Even Yount shows up in third place.  Rodriguez has now played fewer than half his games at short; his WAR is 116 even being suspended the entire 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs (PED).  Wagner would have more WAR but only 9,640 of his 10,439 PA are covered.

Jeter's regular season greatness is his longevity, a result of hard work.  Jeter showed up for work.

2 comments:

Cliff Blau said...

Alex Rodriguez games fielded:
SS 1272
3B 1189

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rodrial01.shtml

Kenneth Matinale said...

Good catch but A-Rod's 105 games as DH drops his SS percentage below 50%. I'm guessing that's why he was not included when I ran my ad hoc query at baseball-reference.com. Including A-Rod drops Jeter another notch.