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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cameron: Derek Jeter: Not Just a Good Hitter for a Shortstop

Number 2ix?

As his career comes to a close, nearly everyone who covers baseball has weighed in on Jeter’s legacy, and unfortunately, part of that legacy is his status as a poster boy for disagreements between the traditional media and the statistically inclined crowd, especially regarding his defensive value. Jeter’s poor ratings at shortstop have made him the subject of numerous articles on defensive performance, and that has created the perception that Jeter has been a poor defender; a notion which Jeff did a nice job of debunking earlier this year.

But that’s not the only misconception I heard fairly regularly about Jeter. Perhaps because his career spanned the era where nearly ever team had a shortstop who could hit 30 home runs, even Jeter’s offensive value has been called into question, and more than once, I’ve had people ask me if Jeter was even really a great hitter; would we hold him in the same high esteem if he had (perhaps rightfully) been moved to an easier defensive position earlier in his career?

The answer should be yes, absolutely. Jeter doesn’t need to be compared to shortstops to be recognized as one of the best offensive performers of all time. ...

Of course, the primary driver of their respective rankings is playing time, as Jeter has nearly 4,000 more plate appearances than Ortiz. On a per plate appearance basis, Jeter isn’t Big Papi, but even if we even out playing time, Jeter still ranks ahead of some of the more notable sluggers of our time. For instance:

Player OFF/600
Sammy Sosa 18.4
Derek Jeter 16.7
Adam Dunn 15.5
Ryan Howard 15.3

Sosa hit 600 homers in his career, Dunn might get to 500, and while Howard has declined fairly rapidly, he was a legitimate force as a cleanup hitter for the better part of a decade. And Jeter has been their offensive equivalent, only he’s done it for 50 to 100 percent more plate appearances. Adam Dunn isn’t an all-time great player, of course, but if he had a 20 year career while performing at his career averages, would anyone question whether he was really a productive hitter? ...

JE (Jason) Posted: September 27, 2014 at 09:09 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, hitting, shortstop, yankees

 

 

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