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Friday, May 23, 2014

Jack O’Connell: Shortstop = Derek Jeter

Touched toned = Jack O’Connell

Some years ago I got into a chat with Derek Jeter about playing shortstop. I mentioned to him that in doing some research for a story I was doing on Luis Aparicio, the Hall of Famer, I discovered that he only played shortstop in the major leagues. All 2,583 games of “Little Looie’s” career were at that position, which I thought was pretty interesting.

So did Jeter. We had been talking around the time Cal Ripken Jr. had moved from shortstop to third base about 15 years ago. We talked about how injuries forced players such as Ernie Banks and Robin Yount, two other Hall of Famers, to move off shortstop, to first base and center field, respectively.

“I’d like to try to play every game I’m in the field at shortstop,” DJ said. “It’s really the only position I know. If I’m good enough, I can do it.”

It is fair to say that Jeter has been good enough. He was in the lineup as the designated hitter Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Barring his going into the field later in the game, DJ will have to wait until Friday night to match what Aparicio did. It would be Jeter’s 2,583rd game at shortstop, which would tie Aparicio for second on the all-time list of games played at that position. It will be an appropriate place to do it considering that Aparicio played for the White Sox in 10 of his 18 major-league seasons. He also spent five years with the Orioles and three with the Red Sox.

And just like Aparicio, Jeter has played only shortstop whenever he has been on the field. Jeter has been a designated hitter in 58 games but has played no other position in the field. The DH rule went into effect in 1973, which was Aparicio’s last season in the majors, but he was never a DH that year.

Repoz Posted: May 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JE (Jason) Posted: May 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4712022)
If Mussolini had been a 21st-century American politician, I'm pretty sure he would have promised the public to make Derek Jeter columns run on time.
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4712043)
If Mussolini had been a 21st-century American politician, I'm pretty sure he would have promised the public to make Derek Jeter columns run on time.

Ah yes, Mussolini and columns. In Chicago there is a column donated to the city by Mussolini, in honor of the aeronautical feats of Italo Balbo, who led a squadron of flying boats from Rome to Lake Michigan in 1933. The column bears the text:
"This column, twenty centuries old, was erected on the beach of Ostia, the port of Imperial Rome, to watch over the fortunes and victories of the Roman triremes. Fascist Italy, with the sponsorship of Benito Mussolini, presents to Chicago a symbol and memorial in honor of the Atlantic Squadron led by Balbo, which with Roman daring, flew across the ocean in the 11th year of the Fascist era."

The column, one will note, is an ancient relic of an evil empire, and absolutely will not go to its left.
   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 23, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4712139)
"Derek Jeter to Yankees: F moving positions, it's all about me!"

The irony in this writers column boggles the mind.
   4. Jack of Hearts Posted: May 23, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4712140)
Wow, no wonder there's an anti-Jeter backlash. I have nothing against Jeter, but comparing him to Aparicio is absurd.
   5. OsunaSakata Posted: May 23, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4712148)
Wow, no wonder there's an anti-Jeter backlash. I have nothing against Jeter, but comparing him to Aparicio is absurd.


Yes. Of course, the reverse of comparing Aparicio to Jeter as hitters is also absurd.
   6. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 23, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4712266)
If DH isn't a position, then zero isn't a number.
   7. Moeball Posted: May 23, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4712271)
Should we have a pool to see who picks the correct date for the appearance of the 1000th article this year about how Derek Jeter is a saint?

I suppose there should be some prize for the winner...perhaps a nice gift basket?

   8. cardsfanboy Posted: May 23, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4712283)
"Derek Jeter to Yankees: F moving positions, it's all about me!"

The irony in this writers column boggles the mind.


Agreed...Michael Young received flack because he said he didn't want to move but was willing, but saint Jeter basically says that he'll never move and is lauded..... man I hate sport writers nearly as much as lawyers.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 23, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4712313)
. . . Jeter basically says that he'll never move and is lauded . . .

Far more accurate to say that the Yankees have never asked Jeter to switch positions. Jeter takes some pride in being his team's best option at his position, but that's true for a lot of players, even the DH guys.
   10. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4712341)
Far more accurate to say that the Yankees have never publicly asked Jeter to switch positions. Jeter takes some pride in not being his team's best option at his position since the A-Rod trade, but that's true for a lot of players, even the DH guys.


FYP
   11. Captain Supporter Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4712344)
Derek Jeter to Yankees: F moving positions, it's all about me!"

Far more accurate to say that the Yankees have never publicly asked Jeter to switch positions. Jeter takes some pride in not being his team's best option at his position since the A-Rod trade, but that's true for a lot of players, even the DH guys.


The anti Jeter feeling on this site boggles the mind. As the Clapper said, the Yankees never asked Derek to move, and he never said he would not move. Simple, right? Not to the idiots who post to this site, who seem to think they have a tremendous pipeline into everything that goes on behind the scenes in the Yankee clubhouse. Or seem to think the Yankees should somehow do what they would have done if someone had only given them some kind of job in baseball (yeah, right).

Fortunatly, most good baseball fans understand that they are watching the last year of a great Yankee and a great baseball player who handles himself like a true professional on and off the field, as evidenced by the four standing ovations Derek received from Cub fans earlier this week.

Some day we will hear one person actually connected with the game of baseball actually say something negative about Derek Jeter.

Some day.

   12. cardsfanboy Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4712351)
The anti Jeter feeling on this site boggles the mind. As the Clapper said, the Yankees never asked Derek to move, and he never said he would not move. Simple, right? Not to the idiots who post to this site, who seem to think they have a tremendous pipeline into everything that goes on behind the scenes in the Yankee clubhouse. Or seem to think the Yankees should somehow do what they would have done if someone had only given them some kind of job in baseball (yeah, right).


The anti-Jeter sentiment is because he is not a team player by actions or deeds. He has no self awareness, and the silly fawning over a guy who by the eyes was a poor defender 10 years ago, is utterly ridiculous.

Add in that at no point in time in his entire 20+ year career has he ever said anything beyond Crash Davis quotes and he's as annoying as heck. Heck this comment up above was the most revealing thing he has ever stated publicly.


Derek is a great ball player, a truly worthy hof, and even a guy that many players should emulate. But he's not the greatest shortstop of all time,(or even top 5) nor is he the greatest shortstop on the Yankees over the past decade.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4712354)
FYP

Well, no, you just recycled the same-old, tired argument that the Yankees never bought. The Yankees never thought A-Rod at SS was the better long-term option. Therefore, they never asked Jeter to change positions. Worked out pretty well.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4712357)
Some day we will hear one person actually connected with the game of baseball actually say something negative about Derek Jeter.

Some day.


Players poll, most overrated player.
(Jeter finished 3rd behind arod and Joba in that particular one)


Rodriguez said that Jeter “has never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. He hits second — that's totally different than third or fourth in the lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie [Williams] and Paul [O'Neill]. You never say, 'Don't let Derek beat us.' He's never your concern.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/derek-jeter-alex-rodriguez-unknowable-relationship-fascinated-years-blog-entry-1.1705080#ixzz32a7V3sVe


But yes...no player has ever said a bad thing about Jeter.
   15. tfbg9 Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4712358)
Or seem to think the Yankees should somehow do what they would have done if someone had only given them some kind of job in baseball (yeah, right).


Umm, I find this part a little unclear.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4712359)
The anti-Jeter sentiment is because he is not a team player by actions or deeds.

Of course, if he was a Cardinal . . . or just not a Yankee . . .

   17. cardsfanboy Posted: May 23, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4712378)
Of course, if he was a Cardinal . . . or just not a Yankee . . .


Really? The personal attack. Bastion of defense for a person who has no defensible position.

What Cardinal do you think that I have ever on this board elevated because of his Cardinalness. I guess Stan Musial is one, but I'm not remotely alone in that type of praise for him. Among current Cardinals you have two players who are "leaders" but both are pretty obviously supported by their actions and the effusive praise from their own teammates and coaches pointing out specific actions, instead of just generic Crash Davis quotes. And even those two have well known flaws.

Yadier is a hot head, who doesn't like his English and will avoid any public events he can speak at because of that. While Wainwright is from the same mold as Chris Carpenter who has a over developed sense of competition which can lead to glares and other crap on the mound for the slightest perceived slight.

The closest person to Jeter's type of leadership on the Cardinals (meaning he actually does nothing but still occassionally get praised for leadership) is Matt Holliday.
   18. bjhanke Posted: May 23, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4712381)
Ken Boyer was a very well-liked leader in the laid-back style of Musial. Bob Gibson was a respected and feared leader because he expected you to want to win just as much as he did, and got right in your face if you showed any signs of wanting it less. - Brock Hanke
   19. bjhanke Posted: May 23, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4712383)
Shortstop = Derek Jeter is wrong. 3B = Derek Jeter might be correct. RF = Derek Jeter might be correct. But, guys, let's face it. Derek Jeter is not now and never was a Major League shortstop. That his managers played him there is on them. - Brock
   20. Bourbon Samurai Posted: May 23, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4712403)
Funny I just looked up the career shortstop leader boards and he seems to be 12 in jaws and right around there in WAR. I'm sure his managers are ashamed, when they aren't counting their ring zzz
   21. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: May 23, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4712417)
DJ?

cubes
   22. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: May 23, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4712418)
doublepost
   23. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4712433)
Funny I just looked up the career shortstop leader boards and he seems to be 12 in jaws and right around there in WAR. I'm sure his managers are ashamed, when they aren't counting their ring zzz

As Brock's post made clear, his point is that Jeter never had the defensive skills required of a ML SS. One can quibble with Brock about the younger Jeter (he was hardly horrible) but not about the older one.

Jeter seems to be unique in MLB history for being allowed to stay at SS while posting such lousy defensive numbers. We can quibble about the accuracy of Rfield and dWAR but in this case it seems to jibe quite well with actual manager decision-making. Among players with 1200+ games at SS, Jeter "leads" with -9 dWAR and the next closest guy is Dunston at -2. And the next closest guy to Dunston is +2.

Because it seemed to work OK, 500+ games at SS from 30-35 ... Jeter is the worst and -3.7 dWAR again but is probably better than Raffy Ramirez and Donie Bush. You've also got Rollins and Renteria floating around zero, Kessinger and Guillen and Cronin around 1-2. So he's not that much worse than other guys allowed to stay there during those ages.

From age 36 on (min 250 games) he's again the worst at -3 dWAR with Larkin and Concepcion around 0.

I also find it interesting that from age 30 on, Jeter has -6.6 dWAR in 1400 games (6600 PA). Once he could no longer play SS (31), Banks had -7.4 dWAR in over 1300 games at 1B. Once he could no longer play SS, Yount had -6.7 dWAR in over 1300 games in CF. Fregosi had to move off SS mostly due to injury and he put up -4 dWAR in 470 games. From age 36 on, Ripken put up 1 dWAR in 600 games at 3B.

That's not to say that Jeter's managers made the wrong decision, especially given the personnel at hand (i.e. after making the ARod/Jeter decision you weren't gonna move Jeter to 3B as he declined). And it's not a decision many managers have had to face -- a good-hitting, horrible fielding SS who is still healthy enough to be durable out there (until recently). Who knows what decisions they might have made about Banks and Yount if they hadn't been hurt? (Of course maybe they would have continued to be positive defenders as they had been.) But there's no arguing that no SS in MLB history has been allowed to play such bad defense for so long.

As I noted in another thread, his dWAR (and total WAR and total WAA) are nearly the same as Tim Raines. And of course "Tim Raines at SS" sounds awesome ... except this was like the actual Tim Raines at SS, not a guy who could produce like Tim Raines while playing a decent SS.

So, yeah, one can fairly easily argue that Jeter's appropriate comps are 2B, 3B or CF or even corner players like Raines or Murray. He spent his career standing at the SS position but he was never much of a SS. One can of course easily argue that, like it or not, he spent his career at SS and that's where he belongs.
   24. Cblau Posted: May 23, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4712447)
#6- DH is not a position (but zero is a number). Position refers to where you play in the field. DH doesn't play in the field. Simple.
   25. bjhanke Posted: May 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4712459)
As Walt was kind enough to note, I didn't say that Jeter could not HIT. Nor did I say that you can't pile up a lot of WAR by hitting. But Jeter would have been more valuable to his teams at 3B or RF, where his arm, which is his best defensive asset, would have been maximized. BTW, this is not restricted to the old Jeter. Take a look at Bill James' book Win Shares. Bill has grades for everybody at every position who played a minimum number of innings. Jeter makes the innings cut, even though the book only goes through 2000, and Jeter started in 1996, so this is the YOUNG Jeter being ranked here. Remember, defense is, in general, a young man's game. Jeter's grade, compared mostly to guys who had already played their whole careers? D+. D+ is a TERRIBLE grade. It is almost never found in Bill's list, because the only guys who play that bad get discarded from MLB before they can make the innings cut. And that's the YOUNG Jeter. That's when I started following DJ's defense. It hasn't gotten any better and is probably worse. It is actually possible that his grade at the end of this year would be a F for the career. Yes, he is that bad, and always HAS been that bad. Even when he was young. Still doesn't take away any of his hitting WAR, but if you're trying to place him in the Hall of Fame / Merit, he's going to rank a lot lower than his bat would suggest. - Brock
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2014 at 12:22 AM (#4712462)
So, yeah, one can fairly easily argue that Jeter's appropriate comps are 2B, 3B or CF or even corner players like Raines or Murray. He spent his career standing at the SS position but he was never much of a SS. One can of course easily argue that, like it or not, he spent his career at SS and that's where he belongs.


I'm not as adamant as you on qualifying players at a particular position, but Jeter really does throw off the ratings of position players by position. He's a relatively very good hitter who had one of the longest careers ever at shortstop, so people are naturally going to be giving him bonus points for his length of career when comparing him to other shortstops with lesser career length. realistically speaking I don't see any reason to not compare Jeter to Yount or Banks....they moved off the position for different reasons, but in the big scheme of things Jeter really hasn't been that much different overall value than Banks or Yount, just because he happened to stick at short while being a pretty crappy defender.

At the same time, it matters that he stuck there. It's hard(if not impossible) to explain, but Jeter absolutely deserves some type of props for not have moved off the position.

Jeter actually makes future "greatest ever at position arguments" more fun.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: May 24, 2014 at 01:58 AM (#4712478)
I'll agree that comping Jeter to Banks and Yount is sensible ... although that's a slightly different question than where I would rank Jeter relative to those two on a career or all-time SS list, but I'll grant that it's reasonable in that context too. But that's mainly because of the point I was making ... the older Jeter's defense was so bad he was little more a SS than Banks and Yount were.

Anyway the point was that Jeter is pretty unique with regard to the specifics of his combo of offense, defense and position which makes him harder to classify/compare/rank than most outstanding players would be. Like you I'll cut enough slack over the crappy defensive numbers and grant enough credence to real baseball decisions to assume that he was a better defender (in the absolute sense) than the old Banks or (probably) Raines or Gwynn.

Naturally, at age 40, by Rfield/inning, Jeter's having his 2nd best season since 1998. :-)
   28. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:04 AM (#4712480)
nor is he the greatest shortstop on the Yankees over the past decade.

I'm extremely confused about this.
   29. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:36 AM (#4712484)
CFB wants to say that A-Rod is the greatest Yankee shortstop of the past decade. CFB isn't rational when he's not, you know, rational.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:42 AM (#4712486)
CFB wants to say that A-Rod is the greatest Yankee shortstop of the past decade. CFB isn't rational when he's not, you know, rational.


It's absolutely true, if Arod would have played shorstop he would have been clearly the better shortstop on the Yankees. It's not really that irrational. I understand that if you were a historian looking back in time and only had the results to go by, then that may not be the consensus then. But there is no doubt in my mind that if Arod would have came over and stayed a shortstop, he would have been much more valuable player than Jeter was.
   31. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:48 AM (#4712487)
It's absolutely true, if Arod would have played shorstop he would have been clearly the better shortstop on the Yankees.
And if A-Rod would have played first base, he would have clearly been the better first baseman on the Yankees. BUT HE DIDN'T.
   32. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:48 AM (#4712488)
Rod also would have been the best second baseman on the Yankees over the last decade if they had used him there. And if he had strapped on the tools, he'd have been the best catcher.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2014 at 03:25 AM (#4712490)
Rod also would have been the best second baseman on the Yankees over the last decade if they had used him there. And if he had strapped on the tools, he'd have been the best catcher.


I'll give you the first...but not sure arod would have been a world class catcher with the tools of ignorance on. Of course that is just hand waving the actual point, and intentional ignorance of the actual facts.

Both Arod and Jeter were shortstops. Arod was clearly the better shortstop when he came over, the team made a decision to move him to third, for at least two of those years, he was probably still a better shortstop than Jeter(eventually the lack of mobility at third which allows arod to add mass probably caught up to him, and he may not have been better after that time)

   34. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 24, 2014 at 04:10 AM (#4712491)
Both Arod and Jeter were shortstops. Arod was clearly the better shortstop when he came over, the team made a decision to move him to third...
Only one guy can play shortstop, and to insist that Jeter's somehow deficient because he wasn't as good as Alex Rodriguez in his prime is to purposely turn a blind eye towards all the things Jeter actually was. Rodriguez was the better shortstop when he came over, but he didn't play shortstop in New York. Judging Jeter on what could've/would've/should've happened and you get posts that are the Bizzaro version of the O'Connell column, and just as accurate.
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 24, 2014 at 06:24 AM (#4712492)
If ARod raced this year, we're not even thinking about California Chrome.
   36. bjhanke Posted: May 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4712549)
This is question related to the Hall of Merit, although Bill James uses the same approach when assigning players to positions in the New Historical.

Players are assigned to the position at which the accumulated the most value, even if it is not the position where they played the most games or innings (see New Historical, Ernie Banks essay, or Edgar Martinez, listed by the Hall of Merit as a DH). Obviously, Jeter is a shortstop. But ARod may well be, too, because he played his prime there and may still have more value there than anywhere else. Can someone who can look at BB-Ref (new computer today or Monday) tell me if he still counts, for the career, as a SS,or if he's now a 3B? Please remember that it's not SS vs. "3B and you throw in any DH or whatever in with the 3B". No, it's SS vs. 3B. Nothing else counts because nothing else has any chance of winning. Thanks - Brock
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4712589)
Only one guy can play shortstop, and to insist that Jeter's somehow deficient because he wasn't as good as Alex Rodriguez in his prime is to purposely turn a blind eye towards all the things Jeter actually was


All I said was that Arod was better. I'm not really sure why that is a controversial point of view for you.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4712591)
Players are assigned to the position at which the accumulated the most value, even if it is not the position where they played the most games or innings (see New Historical, Ernie Banks essay, or Edgar Martinez, listed by the Hall of Merit as a DH). Obviously, Jeter is a shortstop. But ARod may well be, too, because he played his prime there and may still have more value there than anywhere else. Can someone who can look at BB-Ref (new computer today or Monday) tell me if he still counts, for the career, as a SS,or if he's now a 3B? Please remember that it's not SS vs. "3B and you throw in any DH or whatever in with the 3B". No, it's SS vs. 3B. Nothing else counts because nothing else has any chance of winning. Thanks - Brock


Using bWar and just making the cutoff when he joined the Yankees..

Arod has a career War of 116, Waa of 77.4

In New York he has 52.5 War and 32.9 Waa
As a shortstop then he has 63.5 and 44.5.
   39. alilisd Posted: May 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4712600)
Brock, I don't know how to separate his DH time, but it's minimal at any rate, and doesn't come into play as far as I can tell. He has 63.5 WAR as a shortstop, 52.5 thereafter in 1,293 games, only 80 of which have been at 3B.
   40. base ball chick Posted: May 24, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4712623)
captain supporter

it is not exactly "anti-jeter" - it is roll eyes at the sportswriters constant description of him as The Greateset SS EVAH!!!!!! or The Greatest Yankee EVAH!!!!! or The Greatest Baseball Player EVAH!!!!! and probably a Perfect Saint in every way.

I am dead tired of hearing about how perfect he is ON the field, like the other ballplayers aren't serious and dedicated and prepared/ I am dead tired of hearing how "professional" and how he "carries himself" off the field. except for the few wife beaters and drunks, who is it that DOESN'T carry himself like a professional OFF the field?

it's absolutely sickening. and jeter has never said one interesting or intelligent thing i know of, like, EVER. he's an exact duplicate of craig biggio - only difference being that biggio was a better fielder and didn't Fist Pump.

it's obvious that the yankees wanted to keep jeter at SS because jeter wanted to stay there and he was already The True Yankee. so there he stayed, lousy glove or no lousy glove. besides, all the sportswriters and most of the fans clearly believed that the Jump n Throw proved jeter's sup-eriority, just like running into the stands to catch a foul ball.

it's the same with mariano being The Greatest Yankeee, heck, the Greatest Pitcher - actually, The Greatest Human Being EVAH!!!!!!!


barrrrrrrrrrrffffff
   41. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 24, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4712718)
It's strange to suggest Mariano is a human being.
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 24, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4712748)
Should we have a pool to see who picks the correct date for the appearance of the 1000th article this year about how Derek Jeter is a saint?


Derek Jeter's a saint - a St. Bernard. (JK)

I am of the opinion that Jeter could not have played 3B, given the Yankees' pitching tendencies and defensive alignments. Jeter's biggest problem on defense - from what I've seen watching a lot of video, and contrary to popular opinion - isn't a lack of range, but a relatively weak arm and poor throwing mechanics. Those issues would have been magnified had he moved to the corner. In the Yankees' defensive scheme, and with their pitching patterns, the 3B played further off the line than normal so that he could get to more balls to his left (and protect Jeter's inability to do anything with them), but that particular scheme necessitates having a 3B with a pretty good arm and release so that he can still react on the balls hit toward the line. That fit ARod almost to a T, and Jeter much less so. I think that the Yankees certainly realized that.

-- MWE
   43. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 24, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4712762)
Mike, then would the ideal alignment have been cano at third, Jeter at second and A-Rod at short?
   44. bjhanke Posted: May 24, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4712870)
Mike - That is very interesting to me. I've thought for years that Jeter's one real defensive asset was his arm. If he had a weak arm, did he have any actual defensive assets? It seems like he should have had at least one.

Mariano, as everyone who has seen a trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past can tell you, is a mutant. His movie biopic should be Mariano: Days of Closer Past - Brock
   45. bjhanke Posted: May 24, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4712920)
cfb and alilisd - Thanks. That's about what I thought. If ARod doesn't play better than he has been recently (not that he's been BAD, just not prime ARod) , or retires within this current contract, he's going to go down in history as a Shortstop. Keeps me calmer when thinking about Jeter and the Yanks, which is no doubt a good thing. ARod will probably end up very close to the #2 SS of all time. Didn't have the glove to compete with Honus. - Brock
   46. Howie Menckel Posted: May 24, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4712928)
Jeter seemed like he was excellent at chasing down pop flies into the OF and foul territory...
   47.     Hey Gurl Posted: May 24, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4712934)
Yikes, subject matter aside, that is some terrible writing in the excerpt.
   48. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 24, 2014 at 10:35 PM (#4713000)
I am of the opinion that Jeter could not have played 3B, given the Yankees' pitching tendencies and defensive alignments. Jeter's biggest problem on defense - from what I've seen watching a lot of video, and contrary to popular opinion - isn't a lack of range, but a relatively weak arm . . .

I think this has been asserted before, and knocked down.
   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 24, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4713013)
The anti Jeter feeling on this site boggles the mind.


Says the dude with the irrational ARod hatred, who acts as if ARod slept with his wife and ran over his dog.

As the Clapper said, the Yankees never asked Derek to move, and he never said he would not move. Simple, right?


Nope. You couldn't possibly know whether the Yankees asked Jeter to move, and whether he said he would not move.
   50. PreservedFish Posted: May 25, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4713031)
In the Yankees' defensive scheme, and with their pitching patterns, the 3B played further off the line than normal so that he could get to more balls to his left (and protect Jeter's inability to do anything with them), but that particular scheme necessitates having a 3B with a pretty good arm and release so that he can still react on the balls hit toward the line. That fit ARod almost to a T, and Jeter much less so. I think that the Yankees certainly realized that.


Wait, so Jeter couldn't have played third because the Yankees needed a 3B with a strong arm to make up for Jeter?
   51. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 25, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4713036)
Wait, so Jeter couldn't have played third because the Yankees needed a 3B with a strong arm to make up for Jeter?


His defensive suckitude has no limits to it :-)
   52. PreservedFish Posted: May 25, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4713045)
Also, Emeigh's logic seems to fail in another way.

In the Yankees' defensive scheme, and with their pitching patterns, the 3B played further off the line than normal ... but that particular scheme necessitates having a 3B with a pretty good arm and release so that he can still react on the balls hit toward the line.


If the 3B is playing farther off the line, wouldn't that mean that his arm is less important? No matter where he's standing, the 3B will have to field balls at the greatest extent of his range to his right. If he starts farther away from the bag, then that throw will be shorter. By stepping to his left he is trading the longest throws that a 3B needs to make for an additional number of the shortest throws that a 3B has to make.

I acknowledge the likelihood that he is 100% correct and that I am absolutely wrong in some way that I haven't figured out yet.
   53. Walt Davis Posted: May 25, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4713229)
Brock, why can't ARod just go down in history as a SS who moved to 3B? y'know, the player he actually was not the player we'd like to pretend he was.
   54. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 25, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4713248)
The anti Jeter feeling on this site boggles the mind.


Is there anyone on this site who thinks Jeter is anything but a first ballot no doubt about it Hall of Famer? That it's noted that he was a poor defensive shortstop, that he's spent his career surrounded by guys known to have used steroids and never said boo about the issue (and had an unusually productive decline phase) and did not volunteer to switch positions so his team could put the better player there is not anti-Jeter.

Manny Ramirez is one of my favorite players ever. Manny was a lousy fielder, an indifferent base runner and did some things off the field that were less than savory. It is not that tough to acknowledge that the players we like are in fact...flawed.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:13 PM (#4713741)
And if A-Rod would have played first base, he would have clearly been the better first baseman on the Yankees.


So true. Think of the stretch he could make with his back hoof on the bag. His glove hand would be several feet closer to the infielder making the throw than a human first baseman's. Would've gotten dozens more outs a year.
   56. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 26, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4713756)
(and had an unusually productive decline phase)


I had thought this about Jeter too, but it's a mistake. You look up and he had just 5 WAR after the age of 35.
   57. BrianBrianson Posted: May 27, 2014 at 07:31 AM (#4713782)
No, nobody think's Jeter won't make the HOF on the first ballot, and I don't think anyone prizes for first ballotness enough to object to him going in first ballot (but I'm sure at least some of use wouldn't riot if he went in 2nd ballot).

We just don't all want gift baskets.
   58. Lassus Posted: May 27, 2014 at 07:37 AM (#4713783)
Is there anyone on this site who thinks Jeter is anything but a first ballot no doubt about it Hall of Famer?

That he will be anything but? No, nobody here believes that. That he should be? Unless I'm quite wrong, there are plenty here that think he shouldn't.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 08:37 AM (#4713796)
That he will be anything but? No, nobody here believes that. That he should be? Unless I'm quite wrong, there are plenty here that think he shouldn't.


I haven't seen anyone here who thinks he isn't a deserving HOFer, with the possible exception of GuyM who rates his defense even worse than b-r does, IIRC.
   60. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 27, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4713817)
I haven't seen anyone here who thinks he isn't a deserving HOFer, with the possible exception of GuyM who rates his defense even worse than b-r does, IIRC.


Not even him. I asked that same question earlier this year, and Guy said he'd vote for Jeter.

   61. rconn23 Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4713838)
"That he will be anything but? No, nobody here believes that. That he should be? Unless I'm quite wrong, there are plenty here that think he shouldn't."

Well, that's absurd.
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4713868)
Not even him. I asked that same question earlier this year, and Guy said he'd vote for Jeter.


Then we're not able to identify a single person on this site who wouldn't vote for Jeter.
   63. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4713874)
He's a HOFer, but he never belonged at SS.
   64. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4713875)
I am of the opinion that Jeter could not have played 3B, given the Yankees' pitching tendencies and defensive alignments. Jeter's biggest problem on defense - from what I've seen watching a lot of video, and contrary to popular opinion - isn't a lack of range, but a relatively weak arm . . .

I think this has been asserted before, and knocked down.


Fans Scouting Report, Derek Jeter, arm strength

2003 73
2004 73
2005 73
2006 69
2007 67
2008 64
2009 62
2010 54
2011 51
2012 48
2013 48

League average is 50, and one standard deviation above average is 70. Ratings are position-neutral, so this is compared with OF, 1B, 3B, etc. I'm not going through all the years, but I have 2006 handy: among SS only, Jeter ranked tied for 15th in arm strength. His was not among the strongest arms at SS, but his arm strength was not his weakness.

(To Mike's credit, he authored an eight-article study of Derek Jeter's defense a dozen years ago. That series concluded Jeter had fewer opportunities than typical SS due to an odd batted-ball distribution. The Yankees' defensive alignments had the infielders shifted to the right more than the usual teams to cover the batted ball distribution, although this resulted in more chances for 3B and 2B, and fewer for Jeter. It wasn't clear from the articles if the defensive alignment was intended to minimize Jeter's effect, or if Jeter just happened to be playing in the one IF position where balls weren't going to be hit vs. the Yankees. IOW, it wasn't clear that he had a lack of range; it was clear that he, and the rest of the IF, had different performance due to different positioning, which in turn was addressing a different batted-ball distribution, than advanced stats had anticipated.

Still, it's one thing to say "it's not clear he had a lack of range" and another to say "he didn't lack range". In Mike's comment in this thread he simply says range isn't his biggest problem. Perhaps damning with faint praise?)

Fans Scouting Report, Derek Jeter, first step

2003 na *
2004 50
2005 45
2006 43
2007 35
2008 35
2009 43
2010 28
2011 29
2012 25
2013 17

* That year the report had "acceleration" category instead of "first step"; Jeter scored 23.

THIS is the reason Jeter would have made a bad 3B. The above is on par with Miguel Cabrera. Actually, Jeter's rating of 43 in 2006 is several players behind Cabrera in the ratings that year. That's kind of a fun comparison, in a macabre way:

Fans' Scouting Report, 2006, Jeter/MCabrera

57 / 70 Instincts
43 / 48 First Step
70 / 29 Speed
73 / 65 Hands
72 / 81 Release
69 / 89 Arm Strength
71 / 73 Accuracy

Defensively in 2006 Jeter was** Cabrera, except faster, with worse instincts, and a weaker arm. And at 3B the value of speed is minimized. Arguably Jeter could have been a worse 3B than Miguel Cabrera.

** To the extent that the FSR accurately captures each player. And 2006 might have been Cabrera's peak at 3B. Again, damning with faint praise...

- - - - - -

Judging Jeter on what could've/would've/should've happened and you get posts that are the Bizzaro version of the O'Connell column, and just as accurate.
Please bring this up the next time there's a discussion of "But Ortiz must have been worse at 1B than the worst 1B ever, because otherwise they would have played him at 1B, duh!"

At the time he came to the Yankees, A-Rod was the superior SS. Whether he would have been the better SS over the duration of the last decade is unclear, given that in the past few years A-Rod's range has been severely limited even for 3B.

Regardless of how that would have played out, when it comes to the HoF discussion Derek Jeter should be judged based on the position he actually played, and what he did in the opportunities he had at that position. He should not be judged by the positions he didn't play, except if it plays into the character clause in a material way (which I tend to think it doesn't).

It is fun (to me) to consider the what-ifs, but that's all it is. There is nothing determinative about what-ifs.
   65. PreservedFish Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4713882)
I wouldn't put much credence in the fans scouting report numbers with regard to Jeter. Everyone that votes in that system is a dyed in the wool stathead, and once you learn that the defensive stats hate Jeter it becomes almost impossible to form an honest and independent scouting opinion of his ability.
   66. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4713904)
I wouldn't put much credence in the fans scouting report numbers with regard to Jeter. Everyone that votes in that system is a dyed in the wool stathead, and once you learn that the defensive stats hate Jeter it becomes almost impossible to form an honest and independent scouting opinion of his ability.
I get that in a general sense, but in terms of the specific numbers I quoted on arm strength and first step do you feel they are in error?

Just as an example, in 2006 Jeter is rated in the top 15 at SS for all attributes except instincts and first step. Defensive stats think Jeter is all-time bad, yet most of his FSR ratings are in the top half. That doesn't seem to reconcile with your statement.

Just for reference, in 2006:

For instincts he's rated similar to Michael Young, Bill Hall, Juan Castro, and Clint Barmes.
For first step he's rated similar to Angel Berroa, Tomas Perez, and Castro.
For speed, Stephen Drew, Hall, Omar Vizquel, and Ronny Cedeno.
For hands, Jimmy Rollins, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe, Drew, and Young.
For release, Orlando Cabrera, Bobby Crosby, and David Eckstein.
For strength, Rollins, Khalil Greene, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Gonzalez, Cedeno, and Jason Bartlett.
For accuracy, Jack Wilson, Young, Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Greene, Ben Zobrist, and Edgar Renteria.

I know I'm talking about 8 years ago, but those don't seem like particularly out-of-line comps for Jeter at that time. Maybe the instincts one is a little low. One (or more) standard deviation higher than Jeter on instincts at SS the list includes Everett (top), Vizquel, Gonzalez, and Furcal (bottom). Jeter being lower than that group, even materially lower, I can buy, but being one full standard deviation below that group seems too low. And 2006 is one of his better years by this metric.

One of the nice things about the ratings on SS is that each SS actually uses each of the rated skills. One could argue that 1B don't use speed or arm strength, so the ratings for those attributes might not reflect what the given player is capable of. But at SS everything is on display. In that sense the FSR at SS is pretty damn good.
   67. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4714045)
. . . but his arm strength was not his weakness.

That was fairly obvious from just watching the games, although that may be out of favor here. Say what you will about the jump-throw, but it is all arm, while moving in the opposite direction even. Jeter didn't play with many strong-armed outfielders, more the opposite (e.g. Bernie & Damon), and his relay throws were the stronger part of the play for most of his career.
   68. PreservedFish Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4714046)
I get that in a general sense, but in terms of the specific numbers I quoted on arm strength and first step do you feel they are in error?


I'm not able to respond in detail. I cannot tell you how good a first step Tomas Perez or Juan Castro had in 2006.

I've always been at least a little skeptical of the fans scouting report, but especially so when it comes to players for whom there is a wide stats/scouts disagreement. Jeter is the ultimate example of that group, of course. In the early 2000s it was easy to find message board arguments in which statheads, who otherwise would make a point about how untrustworthy first hand observation was, were telling the traditional fans that they just had to open their eyes to see how bad Jeter was.

I do think that his instincts rating is decidedly low - Young and Hall both got banished from the position, and Castro was never a starting player - whereas I bet you could find any number of baseball lifers that would credit Jeter for having some of the best instincts in the game.
   69. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4714056)
I've always been at least a little skeptical of the fans scouting report, but especially so when it comes to players for whom there is a wide stats/scouts disagreement.
Understandably so. All I was saying in response to you is that, other than instincts and first step, it seems like his ratings in the FSR have generally been much better than would be expected if the participating fans were simply following the stats. And on first step FSR seems to fit.
whereas I bet you could find any number of baseball lifers that would credit Jeter for having some of the best instincts in the game.
And almost all of them would submit one play as the entirety of their evidence. And they likely would be wrong about which part of that play was actually instinctive.

Regardless of what they say, we appear to agree on the FSR's instinct rating seeming too low. If I had to guess, I'd say FSR participants are not separating "instincts" from "first step" adequately in his case.
   70. alilisd Posted: May 27, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4714072)
Brock, why can't ARod just go down in history as a SS who moved to 3B?


Walt, for me, and I think for others, it's because I like to try to develop rankings of who is the best ever at a certain position, or who were the top 5 or 10 at a certain position. And if you don't look at A-Rod (or Banks, or Ruth, or Musial, or Yount, etc.) as playing at one specific position, it's difficult to place them in those sorts of rankings. It's not a big deal for anything other than that as far as I can see, but, for me at least, it's not very interesting to think of it in terms of who was the best shortstop who later moved to 3B.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: May 27, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4714108)
I would bet that the participants are using "instinct" as a kind of fudge factor in order to adjust the overall rating in the appropriate direction. There are probably some cases that are the opposite of Jeter - guys with weak athletic tools that we still think are good defenders - they probably receive strong instinct scores.
   72. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4714147)
PF - That could be the case. It could be a way to vote "he's a stupid poopyhead who lucked into all his success", or something like that. It's really the only skill in the FSR that measures exclusively from the neck up.

In the 2006 dataset - I keep going back to 2006 because I happen to have it all in one place - "instincts" and "first step" are highly correlated (correlation coeff between 0.75 and 0.87) at all positions other than LF. That would seem to suggest that one measure is not telling us anything we don't already know from the other.

Given that, I'm thinking the way fans are scouting "instincts" is as a function of the other components, including "first step". The latter is a reaction time (and direction) thing, which can be seen as a function of instincts; so if a player has a great first step he's seen as having great instincts. But I don't think it's just that. A SS, on a ball hit to his right, instinctively moves to the right. But he also instinctively goes toward the ball or backs up the 3B; once he fields, he instinctively chooses what base to throw to, and what kind of throw to make, to get the out. If the 3B ranges over to get the ball, the SS instinctively knows whether he needs to cover 3B in case a runner tries to advance. And before team positioning was in vogue, he instinctively knew where to be before the ball was put in play.

Intuitively I expect fans know what instincts are and how they manifest. But observationally, unless you're at the park and intent on watching the specific player all the time (especially when he isn't involved in the play), it's hard to get a read on instincts beyond the other components in the FSR.

FWIW, in 2006 Hanley Ramirez had a 92 rating, highest among SS, for first step. He was a 73 on instincts. Craig Counsell had a 66 for first step, and a 79 for instincts. Those were among the largest gaps at SS between the two ratings. I couldn't tell you if that made sense for Counsell in 2006, but my recollection of Hanley was something along the lines of those ratings. Jeter doesn't particularly stand out here. His instincts rating is higher than his first step rating. It could be he's being penalized on instincts because people don't like him, or his instinct rating is influenced by his first step rating - just like nearly everyone else. Or maybe the haters and fellaters cancel.
   73. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4714154)
Walt, for me, and I think for others, it's because I like to try to develop rankings of who is the best ever at a certain position, or who were the top 5 or 10 at a certain position. And if you don't look at A-Rod (or Banks, or Ruth, or Musial, or Yount, etc.) as playing at one specific position, it's difficult to place them in those sorts of rankings. It's not a big deal for anything other than that as far as I can see, but, for me at least, it's not very interesting to think of it in terms of who was the best shortstop who later moved to 3B.
We should always distinguish between what someone did and what they might have done. What-ifs are fun.

While I'm talking about the FSR, back in 2006 I saw given the player ratings that the debate of "Should Ichiro play RF or CF?" really could have been answered with "shortstop". He had all the skills (according to FSR) to be a top-five SS. Now that's a what-if.
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4714157)
Brock, why can't ARod just go down in history as a SS who moved to 3B?


That's the way I think of him. He started his career at short, played from ages 19-27 there (8 full seasons), had his best season there by WAR, two of his best four, six of his best eight.

That said, obviously his 3B career has been outstanding as well. I don't think Yankees fans appreciate the player he was. They dump on him every chance that they get. And yet he won 2 MVPs for them, carried them to a championship, had seasons of 9 and 9 and 8 and 7 WAR for them.

Yankees fans truly think Derek Jeter was a better player. Oh, they are not so deluded into thinking Jeter had the better numbers -- they have to factor in intangibles and steroids to get there -- but get there they do. It is simply bizarre.
   75. Srul Itza Posted: May 27, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4714187)
I am of the opinion that Jeter could not have played 3B, given [snip] a relatively weak arm .


Given how deep short stops play, how much longer it can take the ball to get to them, and the angles involved, [Edit -- and how often they have to throw after moving away from the base they will be throwing to], hasn't it been shown that a short stop actually needs a stronger arm than a third baseman? At least, that is what I recall as the "new" conventional wisdom.
   76. Srul Itza Posted: May 27, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4714189)
Yankees fans truly think Derek Jeter was a better player.


Maybe some, but not those on this site. He was, however, an easier player to root for in many respect, because A-Rod was just seemed a little . . . off.

With Jeter, you got the impression that he was putting up a shield and keeping people out -- doing the "bland", "Crash Davis quotes" thing.

A-Rod always seemed like he was either needy or clueless in his actions and reactions, and like he was trying to figure out how he was supposed to react to any given situation.

Jeter's unnaturalness was deliberate and calculated. A-Rod's seemed to be built in/

This should have made us more sympathetic to A-Rod, I guess, but it did not work out that way.

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