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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

McNeal: Derek Jeter worthy of unprecedented Hall of Fame selection

A 16 point OPS+ jump at age 38. Interesting. Hey…hold a spot in that USA Pro Challenge cycling race!

When the time comes, this is the only reason that Derek Jeter will not be a unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame: Because no one ever has.

Hey, I didn’t say it was a good reason. If you can come up with a better one, let me know. Until then, I will believe Jeter deserves the vote of every voting member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which totaled 573 (including myself) last year.

...At this pace, Jeter will have no trouble getting the 29 hits he needs to pass Willie Mays for 10th place by the end of the season. Looking to 2013, Jeter needs 176 hits to pass Honus Wagner for sixth on the list.

From there, only Tris Speaker, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and No. 1 Pete Rose, with 4,256 hits, will rank ahead of him. If somehow Jeter managed to collect the 1,001 hits he needs to reach Rose—a long shot—it would be difficult for even the crustiest cynic to leave Jeter off their first ballot.

When you factor in how he has carried himself off the field as well as on it, Jeter doesn’t need to become the hits king to make history. He’s already deserving of being the first unanimous Hall of Famer.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:02 AM | 133 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, yankees

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   1. Bhaakon Posted: August 21, 2012 at 05:42 AM (#4213437)
He’s already deserving of being the first unanimous Hall of Famer


While I've always found the politics of the first ballot to be a bit silly, it would really tick me off if the BBWAA skips Maddux and Johnson to make Jeter the first unanimous selection (and that's ignoring Bonds and Clemens, because I don't live in some fairytale world where they're getting elected any time soon).
   2. Walt Davis Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:06 AM (#4213439)
I've got to believe there will be at least one writer who thinks the same as #1 (as do I). I think Maddux has an outside chance at unanimity but his postseason performance will probably be held against him by somebody.
   3. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:46 AM (#4213448)
As a lip reader, I was offended that Maddux always needed to work blue.
   4. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:02 AM (#4213450)
Jeter deserves to be unanimous, but so did a couple dozen others before him (and pending) who were even more deserving. So, in a way, it would be ridiculous if he was the first one, but I wouldn't complain if the voters finally broke that stupid precedent.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:30 AM (#4213460)
Jeter deserves to be unanimous, but so did a couple dozen others before him (and pending) who were even more deserving. So, in a way, it would be ridiculous if he was the first one, but I wouldn't complain if the voters finally broke that stupid precedent.

That's the only sane and non-petty take on this. Jeter's not responsible for the excess praise bestowed upon him, and resentment of those over the top tributes shouldn't be guiding anyone's vote.
   6. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:57 AM (#4213469)
There will probably be one writer who forgets Jeter is eligible and leaves him off. Some of these writers are really old. You want unanimous voting? Try living in a dictatorship. In Saddam's last election everyone voted, and he got 100% of the votes. Or so it was reported.
   7. TomH Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4213471)
So ask this author why Maddux or Bagwell or F Thomas or Bonds or Clemens or Randy J or A-Rod or Pujols or Joe Morgan or Mike Schmidt (depending on how far back his memory goes) did not deserve this honor more than Jeter. And see if he has any coherent response at all.
   8. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4213480)
So ask this author why Maddux or Bagwell or F Thomas or Bonds or Clemens or Randy J or A-Rod or Pujols or Joe Morgan or Mike Schmidt

You're not serious about Bonds, Clemens and ARod are you? My guess is the response would be quite coherent and to the point.
   9. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4213487)
In Saddam's last election everyone voted, and he got 100% of the votes.


Well, this was true after he'd shot everybody who didn't vote for him.

You're not serious about Bonds, Clemens and ARod are you?


Or Bagwell. Whatever the reasons, fair or unfair, it's kinda silly to argue that somebody who got 42% of the vote on his first try should have been the first unanimous selection. Once you get beyond a handful of voters leaving a guy off, it's pretty obvious that there are a number of people who legitimately believe that the player is not a HOFer (no matter how wrong they might be).

Personally, I think it would be nice for two or more players to be elected unanimously in the same year. Not only to emphatically put the "nobody has ever been unanimous" thing to rest, but to avoid the whole "why should that guy be the first" recriminations. Unfortunately, the upcoming glut of no-doubt candidates works against that rather than for it.

   10. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4213499)
There will probably be one writer who forgets Jeter is eligible and leaves him off.


And that writer should have his voting privileges revoked. Voting on the Hall of Fame is an honor and a privilege, and not bothering to do the basic legwork should disqualify you from that honor and privilege in the future. Of course, in my ideal world, voters would be required to justify non-votes for any player who got over 95% of the vote and votes for any player who got less than 3% in order to keep the voting privilege. "No one's ever been unanimous" and "I'm not a Rickey guy" would not be seen as valid justifications, and neither would "I know he's not HOF caliber, but he had a long career in one town steroid-free, so I wanted to throw him a bone."

For me, the vote needs to be binary. Throw percentages and precedents out the window, and answer one simple question: does this player's career meet the BBWAA's historical standard for enshrinement in Cooperstown?
   11. Run Joe Run Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4213507)
One of the advantages of the 5 year waiting period post retirement is that it gives time for all the facts to come in. Facts that may sway voters. For example, some players who seemed to have been shoe-ins for first ballot HoF have not made it.

Does anyone know what a HoF ballot looks like? Is it a punch card like an All-Star Ballot or is it a blank form?
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4213511)
I still think Maddux has a really good shot. I don't think either is too likely - there are too many low-functioning people with voting privileges - but I'd bet on Maddux over Jeter as the most likely first unanimous call.
   13. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4213515)
How any sane voter could not elect Maddux or Jeter first ballot is the question......
   14. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4213516)
Of course, in my ideal world, voters would be required to justify non-votes for any player who got over 95% of the vote and votes for any player who got less than 3% in order to keep the voting privilege.


2 names: Nolan Ryan and Bobby Grich. Ryan got 98.8% of the vote. Now, he's a legit HOFer, but far from the greatest pitcher ever. And I can see where someone might have legit reservations about voting for him. Here's the guys on Ryan's ballot who I would have voted for before him:

Yount
Brett
Fisk
Gary Carter
Blyleven

I could also see justification for preferring Luis Tiant's higher peak

other players of note on that ballot:

Keith hernandez
Tony Perez
Tommy John
Jim Kaat
Dwight Evans

One could make a legit, if not wholly convincing argument that Ryan was no better than the 11th best player on the ballot.

On the other end, Bobby Grich, a guy who should be in, got just 2.6%
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4213518)
And that writer should have his voting privileges revoked. Voting on the Hall of Fame is an honor and a privilege, and not bothering to do the basic legwork should disqualify you from that honor and privilege in the future. Of course, in my ideal world, voters would be required to justify non-votes for any player who got over 95% of the vote and votes for any player who got less than 3% in order to keep the voting privilege. "No one's ever been unanimous" and "I'm not a Rickey guy" would not be seen as valid justifications, and neither would "I know he's not HOF caliber, but he had a long career in one town steroid-free, so I wanted to throw him a bone."
The BBWAA has dropped a number of perfectly reasonable candidates off the ballot far too early, and I think it's the opposite of a good idea to attempt to enforce conformity on a voting population that holds a number of unsound beliefs.

Kevin Brown, Will Clark, Keith Hernandez, Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans. There should be more encouragement to vote for guys like this. Next year, it's highly likely that Kenny Lofton will fall off the ballot on the first try. I'm not sold on Lofton's case, but he very much ought to remain in the consideration set.
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4213521)
There will probably be one writer who forgets Jeter is eligible and leaves him off.


And that writer should have his voting privileges revoked. Voting on the Hall of Fame is an honor and a privilege, and not bothering to do the basic legwork should disqualify you from that honor and privilege in the future. Of course, in my ideal world, voters would be required to justify non-votes for any player who got over 95% of the vote and votes for any player who got less than 3% in order to keep the voting privilege.

I'd be satisfied just to require that all ballots be posted on the HoF's website, with no anonymity. That mandatory exposure alone would likely be enough to deter some of the spite voters.
   17. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4213525)
On Ryan, he's a legit Hall of Famer. He deserves a vote, percentages be damned. I'd say that a voter not voting for Ryan, Yount, Brett, or Fisk wasn't doing his job and needed to justify his vote. I also believe Carter, Blyleven, and Dewey to be legit Hall of Famers, but I can understand needing to be convinced of their deservingness. I could even be convinced on Hernandez (although it takes a good deal of defensive credit). I see Perez as a weak HOFer, no serious argument for Kaat, and Tommy John only if you give him innovator credit for the surgery that bears his name. Of course, I also think the ten-name limit on the ballot is a bad idea. The rules permit voting for nobody if there are no deserving candidates; I'd rather see the rules also allow you to vote for a dozen names if you find a dozen candidates deserving.

On the low end, I was trying to decide where to set my floor. I had honestly forgotten Grich's total was so low. Maybe less than 2% then. Obviously, you've got guys like Grich, Whitaker, and Simmons who had deserving careers but shockingly low vote totals, and I don't think writers should be forced to justify voting for them. I was thinking more of the two people who voted for Jim Deshaies in his year of eligibility. Neither of them is taking the honor seriously.
   18. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4213528)
I'm not sold on Lofton's case, but he very much ought to remain in the consideration set.


In another time, I'd like to see Lofton be fairly considered. But this year he's going to be probably the 15-20th best player on the ballot, and if he lasts another year, there will probably be at least 20 guys with better cases ahead of him. If the HOF sticks to the 10 player ballot rule, then it's better for players like Lofton to fall off the ballot.

That said, historically he's equivalent to Richie Ashburn.
   19. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4213530)
Kevin Brown, Will Clark, Keith Hernandez, Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans. There should be more encouragement to vote for guys like this. Next year, it's highly likely that Kenny Lofton will fall off the ballot on the first try. I'm not sold on Lofton's case, but he very much ought to remain in the consideration set.


As I clarified below, this was realy to discourage people from voting for Jim Deshaies. But you're right that people who deserve serious consideration fall off the ballot on their first year all the time.
   20. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4213535)
How any sane voter could not elect Maddux or Jeter first ballot is the question......


I see no reason the Bagwell precedent shouldn't apply to Jeter; the Yankees were probably the 'roidingist clubhouse of the 'roid era and Jeter was smack dab in the heart of it the entire time. What did El Capitan do to speak up or stop any of it?

Plus he's having a bounceback year at 38, after scores of stories saying he was winding down.
   21. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4213542)
On Ryan, he's a legit Hall of Famer. He deserves a vote, percentages be damned.

no serious argument for Kaat, and Tommy John only if you give him innovator credit for the surgery that bears his name.


Ryan 5386 IP 112 ERA+
John 4710 IP 111 ERA+

Ryan was better, but he wasn't that much better. Not so much that it makes him a no-brainer and John only worthy as a novelty act.
   22. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4213554)
And were Ryan not also the all-time leader in strikeouts and hits/9, and if he didn't absolutely blow John away on black ink and gray ink (and if he didn't have 21 more BB-Ref WAR for his career), I might agree with you. Ryan might have been the least effective of the no-brainer pitchers in the Hall of Fame because of his walks, but he's a no-brainer nonetheless. John's near the top of the outside-looking-in pile, but it takes non-playing-field credit to put him over for me.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4213556)
Ryan 5386 IP 112 ERA+
John 4710 IP 111 ERA+

Ryan was better, but he wasn't that much better. Not so much that it makes him a no-brainer and John only worthy as a novelty act.


Ryan and John were both innings eaters with arguable HoF credentials, but one of the things that distinguishes the Hall of Fame is that pitchers like Ryan with spectacular numbers in one high visibility (and highly valued) statistic are always going to benefit from the "wow" factor over a pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls to short. I always wonder what the effect on John's vote would have been if his surgery had been named after his doctor instead of him.

And then there's the magic number factor of Ryan's 324 wins to John's 288, not that big a spread in real terms but much bigger than that in the minds of many traditional HoF voters.

   24. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4213557)
I can see a case for Tommy John. It's not a slamdunk case but it's a particularly weak case either.

Nolan Ryan is my second-least-favorite player of all time (Cal is first) but I can't see a case against him in the HOF. It's irritating that his first-ballot percentage is higher than greater players' percentages, but the problem there is the inexplicable blank ballots and no votes for the other guys, not the yes vote on Ryan.
   25. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4213558)
Ryan might have been the least effective of the no-brainer pitchers in the Hall of Fame because of his walks, but he's a no-brainer nonetheless. John's near the top of the outside-looking-in pile,

Bingo.
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4213564)
Nolan Ryan is my second-least-favorite player of all time (Cal is first)

So is it that the milk commercials were even more annoying than the Advil commercials? Or is it just that you don't like statistical feats that people read too much into?
   27. UCCF Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4213575)
Mantle, Mays, Aaron... once the writers screwed those up, it's hard to take this question seriously.

If Jeter goes in unanimously, it will only be because media saturation of the story that he needs to go in unanimously will be so intense that it will eliminate the people who forget he's on the ballot, the people who remember at some point but then accidentally leave him off, and even the people who normally make the "Jeter is no Mays, and if Mays wasn't unanimous, then Jeter isn't unanimous" arguments.

The biggest obstacle is going to be overcoming the "he played in the roidy-poo area, and even if he didn't do it, we have no way of really *knowing* that he didn't do it, plus he had teammates who did it and he never said anything, which makes the whole lot of them a collective fraud who poop their pants" crowd. That's going to doom Maddux, and it will likely doom Jeter as well. Guilt by association.
   28. Randy Jones Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4213583)
"Jeter is no Mays, and if Mays wasn't unanimous, then Jeter isn't unanimous" arguments.


Well sure Mays was the better player, but he used PEDs, so clearly he isn't HoF worthy.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4213584)
Ryan was better, but he wasn't that much better. Not so much that it makes him a no-brainer and John only worthy as a novelty act.
Eh. First, that's 700 innings. Three extra seasons. Here are two pitchers listed the same way you listed John and Ryan:

Pitcher A: 2895 IP, 122 ERA+
Pitcher B: 3562 IP, 123 ERA+

That's Dave Stieb (A) and Mike Mussina (B). Not comparable pitchers by career.

Second, Ryan just kills John on peak. These are best seven seasons by WAR (including strike credit for both of them in 1981):

5.3, 5.3, 5.2, 4.6, 4.2, 3.8, 3.7 - John
7.5, 7.4, 6.6, 5.8, 5.5, 5.1, 5.0 - Ryan

I don't see the two as meaningfully comparable. Ryan at his best, sustained for many years, was a pitcher far better than Tommy John at his best.
   30. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4213588)
Well sure Mays was the better player, but he used PEDs, so clearly he isn't HoF worthy.

He probably drank coffee, too.
   31. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4213590)
So is it that the milk commercials were even more annoying than the Advil commercials? Or is it just that you don't like statistical feats that people read too much into?
More the second. Ryan seems like a dick but that doesn't bother me. If I lived in a world where people thought Ryan was a strange mix of brilliance and awfulness, I probably would have liked him fine. Hearing endless praise that didn't reflect his mixed bag of abilities made me want to throw up. But he's a legitimately great player, and it's a silly failing of mine to hold against people--not just players--the fact that some other people overrate them.
   32. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4213597)
For the first two-thirds of Ryan's career, it was rare for a writer or TV analyst to go through too many words without mentioning his status as a .500 pitcher. The turnaround on Nolan Ryan from "uniquely fast mediocrity who isn't a winner" to "the embodiment of pitching, and perhaps, America" was one of the more abrupt sports media pivots. His 8-16 season was the turning point for the change to the narrative.
   33. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4213612)
Ryan was better, but he wasn't that much better. Not so much that it makes him a no-brainer and John only worthy as a novelty act.

Ryan and John were both innings eaters with arguable HoF credentials


I was about to mention peak, but MCoA beat me to it...

John's peak is a lot like Jack Morris's

John: 5.3, 5.3, 5.2, 4.6, 4.2, 3.8, 3.7, 2.7, 2.5, 2.4
Morris: 5.6, 4.8, 4.8, 4.6, 4.1, 3.7, 3.2, 27, 2.5, 2.3

John was also a very effective postseason pitcher, 88ip, 2.65 ERA
he also finished 2nd in Cy voting twice and 4th one other time, and like Morris had 3 20 win seasons

basically he's Morris with a half dozen 1.5-2.0 WAR seasons tacked on.
   34. bjhanke Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4213622)
Jeter and Piazza are going to be odd analyses, as they represent what I think will be a coming wave of players who hit an awful lot while playing unprecedentedly lousy defense at a key glove spot. The reason is that conditions for fielders are so good now that there's very little room for much of a gap in value between the Ozzie Smiths and Johnny Benches of the world and the Jeters and Piazzas. J&P both obviously hit more than the HoF needs, but they are also the weakest gloves at their positions who have guaranteed HoF bats. Piazza is very comparable to what would have happened had Jimmy Foxx played his whole career at catcher, but in Jimmy's time, really bad catcher gloves could just kill your team. If Mike has played in Foxx's era, he would have received the same treatment and ended up at 1B. If Jeter had played in Hornsby's time, he would have been shifted off of shortstop in even less time than it took Rajah. And if Hornsby had played in Jeter's period, he would never have had to leave SS behind, and would have been a real candidate to challenge Honus for SS supremacy.

In sort, Jeter's claim to first ballot fame rests on an accident of history. He's certainly deserving of the Hall, but the glove weakness leaves him well behind Wagner, Ruth, Aaron, Musial, Gehrig, Ewing, Bench, Mantle, Mays, Josh Gibson or anyone else who had to play better defense than jeter can to hold on to a top glove spot their entire careers. THOSE guys are the first-ballot candidates. Jeter has the one fatal flaw. - Brock Hanke
   35. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4213625)
how can anybody hate Cal Ripken?
   36. Randy Jones Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4213627)
How can anybody NOT hate Cal Ripken?
   37. UCCF Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4213633)
how can anybody hate Cal Ripken?

I had a friend who absolutely despised Cal Ripken. He believed consecutive games played streaks were the ultimate in selfish records, because after awhile the manager had no choice but to keep putting Ripken in the lineup; whether he was slumping, a little tired, a little hurt, even if any other player would have gotten a day off at that point, it didn't matter - if Ripken said he could play, then he played. The streak became more important than anything the team wanted/needed, and only Ripken could determine when the streak would end.

*Hated* him.
   38. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4213639)
I agree with #37

except the hate part, but yeah I saw the streak as a counterproductive selfish stunt.
There is no way of proving this, but my take is that when fully healthy, Cal Ripken was an absolute elite player as in 1983/84 and 1990- but by playing 162 every year, he got into the habit of playing hurt, and how do you play hurt and no make an injury worse? You throttle down a bit.

Also what was his worst month? September
next worst? August.
   39. Booey Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4213640)
The biggest obstacle is going to be overcoming the "he played in the roidy-poo area, and even if he didn't do it, we have no way of really *knowing* that he didn't do it, plus he had teammates who did it and he never said anything, which makes the whole lot of them a collective fraud who poop their pants" crowd. That's going to doom Maddux, and it will likely doom Jeter as well. Guilt by association.

Exactly. There's going to be enough of the moronic "no one from the steroid era" voters that talking about Maddux or Jeter possibly getting elected unanimously is pretty much moot. The entire era offends some of these cranks.
   40. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4213642)
How can anybody hate Cal Ripken?

Most of the guys on this site who vocally hate Jeter and Ripken do so primarily because the majority of the baseball fan public really likes and respects those guys. Going against the popular grain is just how a certain type of person puffs himself up intellectually in his mind, and that type is definitely overrepresented here.
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4213643)
For the first two-thirds of Ryan's career, it was rare for a writer or TV analyst to go through too many words without mentioning his status as a .500 pitcher. The turnaround on Nolan Ryan from "uniquely fast mediocrity who isn't a winner" to "the embodiment of pitching, and perhaps, America" was one of the more abrupt sports media pivots. His 8-16 season was the turning point for the change to the narrative.


Absolutely. For much of his career he was probably underappreciated as a pitcher (though appreciated as a physical marvel). The 8-16 season may have started the reversal, but it really solidified with the stint with Texas (the no-hitters and other amazing old-man feats, the better pitching and, of course, the Ventura-ropin') transformed him completely.

I had a friend who absolutely despised Cal Ripken. He believed consecutive games played streaks were the ultimate in selfish records, because after awhile the manager had no choice but to keep putting Ripken in the lineup; whether he was slumping, a little tired, a little hurt, even if any other player would have gotten a day off at that point, it didn't matter - if Ripken said he could play, then he played. The streak became more important than anything the team wanted/needed, and only Ripken could determine when the streak would end.


I wouldn't go that far, but I do agree that the streak made managing more difficult. If one guy essentially has the ultimate say over playing time decisions, it really is going to make it more difficult to skipper the other 24.
   42. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4213646)
while playing unprecedentedly lousy defense at a key glove spot

I despise the Church of Jeter as much as the next guy, but this is an oversell.


I hate Ripkin solely because he stole Utica's baseball team. That's it.
   43. kthejoker Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4213648)
A friend of mine came to school every single day. Every year. K-12.

It became a Thing after awhile. He was borderline OCD about sickness. He came in with many colds, fevers, etc.

And that was over a nothing record that nobody even knows about or cares about except him and his friends.

Can't even imagine how Ripken was once he passed Everett Scott - there was the moment to either "press on" or just kind of let things happen how they may - and then there he went.

He must've been insufferable.
   44. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4213650)
I love the advances in defensive metrics, but I have a hard time reconciling the fact that someone who plays shortstop every day at age 38 (albeit not particularly well, but he also doesn't look like a primate out there) was unprecedentedly awful at it when he was 25. Hard to reconcile given how much athleticism shortstop requires. That's just my take.
   45. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4213664)
How can anybody hate Cal Ripken?

Most of the guys on this site who vocally hate Jeter and Ripken do so primarily because the majority of the baseball fan public really likes and respects those guys. Going against the popular grain is just how a certain type of person puffs himself up intellectually in his mind, and that type is definitely overrepresented here


Well, this site definitely isn't representative of the majority opinion as to Cal, that's for sure.

I was at Camden Yards quite a bit towards the end of Cal's career and saw him signing autographs, being accessible, etc. not to mention he was a very good player who didn't sit out everytime he had a hangnail. I just don't get the hate for a player who was great with the fans and loved to play. I can definitely understand Lassus' hatred of Cal, though. Stealing the Blue Sox is beyond the pale.

Also posted positive WAR every year but his last, when he was 41. Manny Alexander was a better play? Don't get it.
   46. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4213667)
Most of the guys on this site who vocally hate Jeter and Ripken do so primarily because the majority of the baseball fan public really likes and respects those guys. Going against the popular grain is just how a certain type of person puffs himself up intellectually in his mind, and that type is definitely overrepresented here.
I'll plead guilty to some of this, though I don't personally hate Jeter, though I'd say the reasons are even simpler. People get tired of hearing overpraise and react against it.

My own explanation would be that I have zero confidence that sports is a test of character, and I revolt against people who are held up as icons of character because of sports feats. At best character and sports success are unrelated. And we usually have no way of knowing. So it's usually just an awful exercise in picking one aging, often white (though not with Jeter) guy who represents the good old days and then get off my lawn etc. How tiresome. Imagine if we spoke about art or theatre or movies or fiction in that way, as if Richard Ford was a fine writer because he had fine character. It'd be so boring. Malcolm Cowley wrote something like he doubted that any absolutely complete son of a ##### ever wrote a good sentence, but there were some good writers who came awfully close to proving him wrong.
   47. Blackadder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4213668)
What I find silly about all of this talk about Jeter being the first unanimous Hall of Famer is that there is actually a good substantive case against him; namely, that his defense really was THAT BAD, much worse than the more sophisticated PBP metrics have him. Here is Mike Humphries, the author of Wizardry (which is a great book), on Jeter last March:

Not only does my WOWY calculation, which only looks at ground outs) and Tango’s WOWY calculation, which includes fly balls that Jeter is considered good at, show Jeter at around -350 runs in his career--so does the latest version of DRA using play-by-play data. And the year-to-year DRA numbers are extraordinarily consistent.

I welcome any additional effort to demonstrate that poor fielders are consistently assigned fewer opportunities and good fielders more opportunities by the batted ball data providers, but I think that prior disclosures of that kind of bias, at least for BIS circa 2002-05, render the WOWY and DRA estimates presumptively correct.

Which brings us back to the larger issue: the widespread perception that Jeter is one of the all-time great shortstops is simply massively incorrect. At best--assuming he’s suffered a two-standard deviation level of poor fielding opportunities--he’s a borderline Hall of Famer in terms of value (about 55 WAR).


From http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/derek_jeter_greatest_career_for_a_player_at_the_ss_position/.

Now, I agree that it seems kind of crazy to think that Jeter really could have been that bad. But I do think the evidence is strong enough to inject reasonable doubt to the proposition that he was a Hall of Fame caliber player.
   48. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4213680)
Now, I agree that it seems kind of crazy to think that Jeter really could have been that bad. But I do think the evidence is strong enough to inject reasonable doubt to the proposition that he was a Hall of Fame caliber player.
He's 20th all-time in oWAR, 14th in Runs Scored, 12th in Hits, 32nd in Runs Created, etc. He's not my personal hero, but he would easily make the Hall of Fame if he had played DH his entire career.
   49. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4213691)
I've got some bad news, guys: Derek Jeter is going to be the first, and for quite some time only, unanimous HOF electee.

Nothing will touch him - the suspect defense, the "he should have known about the roids" crowd, the "he played in the roid era" crowd, even the "Player X wasn't unanimous, I'll make sure no one is ever unanimous" voters. No one will not vote for him.

Why?

1. There is no good case that he's not a HOFer, especially as he climbs the all-time hits list. Every reasonable voter will vote for him.

2. All of the unreasonable voters will vote for him too, because he's Derek Jeter, All-American Boy and because it would really grind those baseball fans who inhabit their parents' basement. They'll prove their unreasonableness by voting for Jeter and saying "See? I don't blackball certain players because of (unreasonable position that has nothing to do with actual baseball playing or a particular player). I voted for Jeter!" but then not voting for Maddux, or Johnson, or Pujols, or anyone else because they fall into one of the unreasonable categories.
   50. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4213700)
I've got some bad news, guys: Derek Jeter is going to be the first, and for quite some time only, unanimous HOF electee.


Nah, just like Nolan before him, Jeter will have his own Bill Conlin. Not, presumably, in the secret pedophile sense. But as the voter who, if he thinks Jeter may become the first unanimous guy, will withhold his vote because Derek's not really better than someone who had to wait on induction or got fewer votes or never got in at all.

   51. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4213717)
I've got some bad news, guys: Derek Jeter is going to be the first, and for quite some time only, unanimous HOF electee.

Nothing will touch him - the suspect defense, the "he should have known about the roids" crowd, the "he played in the roid era" crowd, even the "Player X wasn't unanimous, I'll make sure no one is ever unanimous" voters. No one will not vote for him.

Why?

1. There is no good case that he's not a HOFer, especially as he climbs the all-time hits list. Every reasonable voter will vote for him.

2. All of the unreasonable voters will vote for him too, because he's Derek Jeter, All-American Boy and because it would really grind those baseball fans who inhabit their parents' basement. They'll prove their unreasonableness by voting for Jeter and saying "See? I don't blackball certain players because of (unreasonable position that has nothing to do with actual baseball playing or a particular player). I voted for Jeter!" but then not voting for Maddux, or Johnson, or Pujols, or anyone else because they fall into one of the unreasonable categories.


I disagree.

1. See comment #47.

2. Derek Jeter is overrated by most writers, but as a backlash to that, he's underrated by some others. You can see this in his MVP voting. He's overrated insofar as he's gotten MVP votes 11 times while being top 10 in WAR among position players only 4 times. But in the two years where WAR thinks he had a strong MVP case - 1998 (2nd in WAR among position players) and 1999 (1st) - he did poorer than that in the MVP voting (3rd, 6th). In 2006, he had a pretty solid MVP case (he led the AL in oWAR and won a GG) and was talked up as such by many people (he got 12 1st-place votes). And one voter (I think it was Joe Cowley from Chicago) left him off the ballot completely because Derek Jeter was overrated.

If it's not Joe Cowley (I'm not sure if he has a HOF vote), there'll be somebody else who does the same thing when Jeter shows up on the HOF ballot.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4213722)
Most of the guys on this site who vocally hate Jeter and Ripken do so primarily because the majority of the baseball fan public really likes and respects those guys. Going against the popular grain is just how a certain type of person puffs himself up intellectually in his mind, and that type is definitely overrepresented here.

That can seem greater than it really is because of the consistent harping on the the part of a handful of congenital grouches, but the overhype that those two get in the media is definitely a real factor in a lot of the petty resentment and sniping that gets directed here against them. Of course the fact that Jeter is a member of America's team also compounds the intensity of resentment in his case, but that kind of goes with the territory.
   53. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4213727)
Oh, and along with many other previous, present, and future inductees, Jeter should be a unanimous first ballot choice. But since there are always going to be voters with their own tinfoil hat agendas, I doubt if either Jeter or anyone else will ever make it to 100%. But I also doubt if he'll lose much sleep over it.
   54. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4213728)
He didn't leave him off, he put him sixth. But yeah, Cowley is a total scumbag (for other reasons)
   55. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4213746)
To Andy's point....people keep waiting for Jeter to have some major slip-up...a groundball that he doesn't run out that ends up costing the yanks in a big game, a credible steroid allegation, a personal, page six-type scandal...and it doesn't happen. (and please, no gift baskets, or "he didn't call huckaby back" BS). These facts obviously lead to the excessive fawning and adulation (which is annoying to me, even as a yankee fan) but also the ridiculously stupid and equally predictable backlash against him. I mean, really, who cares if McCarver loves him? Isn't it more interesting to discuss his career absent the knee-jerk anti-mainstream crap?

side note: only on BBTF would people be tripping over themselves to defend Barry Bonds's character, while in a different thread, making totally unsubstantiated negative claims about Ripken Jr and the effect of his streak on an Orioles clubhouse 15 years ago. It's this kind of thing which makes Primates claims of unsurpassed objectiviness (is that word?) a little silly.
   56. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4213750)
He didn't leave him off, he put him sixth.


Sorry, my mistake. WAR actually has him even lower than that (7th among position players, 9th overall). I still think there will be a couple of voters who don't vote for Jeter for some combination of the lousy defense, the overratedness, anti-Yankee hate, and/or forgetting he's eligible / nobody deserves to be unanimous.

And just to clarify: I would not be one of these voters if I had a HOF ballot. I think a stronger case can be made that Jeter is the 2nd-best SS ever than that he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.
   57. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4213765)
By the time Jeter's up for election, new-school dudes like Rob Neyer and Keith Law and maybe even some guys who post here regularly will be card-carrying voters, and someone's going to not vote for Jeter just to be further some meme or to poke a stick in the eye of the mainstream media.

"Unanimous" is hard, because it takes only one guy/girl to mess it up.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4213805)
side note: only on BBTF would people be tripping over themselves to defend Barry Bonds's character, while in a different thread, making totally unsubstantiated negative claims about Ripken Jr and the effect of his streak on an Orioles clubhouse 15 years ago. It's this kind of thing which makes Primates claims of unsurpassed objectiviness (is that word?) a little silly.

OTOH this twin pack of contrarianism does provide a lot of amusement to those of us who haven't guzzled the "steroids are no different than amphetamines" Kool-Aid, and who don't look upon Bonds as Jesus on the Cross. But hell, if we just wanted to read opinions we agreed with, none of us would be showing up here.
   59. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4213810)
I love the advances in defensive metrics, but I have a hard time reconciling the fact that someone who plays shortstop every day at age 38 (albeit not particularly well, but he also doesn't look like a primate out there) was unprecedentedly awful at it when he was 25. Hard to reconcile given how much athleticism shortstop requires. That's just my take.


He's just as awful now as he was back then. It's pretty amazing that Jeter has stayed at exactly the same level so long, but no more amazing than him still being a .320, medium power bat.
   60. Randy Jones Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4213819)
By the time Jeter's up for election, new-school dudes like Rob Neyer and Keith Law and maybe even some guys who post here regularly will be card-carrying voters, and someone's going to not vote for Jeter just to be further some meme or to poke a stick in the eye of the mainstream media.

"Unanimous" is hard, because it takes only one guy/girl to mess it up.


Pretty sure both those guys have said that they consider the "first ballot" thing stupid and that they will vote for whoever they think is worthy of induction regardless of how many years they have been on the ballot. I am also pretty sure both have said that they believe Jeter is worthy of induction.
   61. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4213830)
Forget the advanced metrics, here's a simple metric that anyone can verify, assists per 9 innings.

In his 20's, Jeter made 2.59 assists per 9. Well below average.

He bumped up that range in his 30's, all the way to 2.60.
   62. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4213848)
Not sure what 61 is trying to say...To reiterate, my point is that I find it hard to believe that a 38 year old who can play shortstop competently at a major league level was unprecedentedly bad in his mid-20s. That just doesn't pass the smell test for me (edit: barring a position switch of some kind). An assists per 9 number does anything to address that (for me at least).
   63. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4213881)
I just want it known that in a thread about clean cut American boy Mr Jeter, I have two ads on this page about latin women and asian brides. WTF!?
   64. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4213883)
Well, his defensive stats are about the same. So you could just as easily call him "a shortstop who played competently in his mid 20s and is unprecedentedly bad in his late 30's"

Or you could just say Jeter has been a really bad defensive shortstop for a long time.
   65. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4213892)
...making totally unsubstantiated negative claims about Ripken Jr

HE MOST CERTAINLY DID STEAL OUR BASEBALL TEAM, SIR.
   66. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4213900)
I find it hard to believe that a 38 year old who can play shortstop competently at a major league level was unprecedentedly bad in his mid-20s. That just doesn't pass the smell test for me (edit: barring a position switch of some kind). An assists per 9 number does anything to address that (for me at least).


I think the point is that he played shortstop equally well in his 20s as in his 30s. The question is whether he's playing shortstop "competently" at 38.
   67. John Northey Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4213911)
One wonders with Jeter just what will happen in the end. He has 3255 hits so far, leading the league in base hits this year. Writers love that stuff, mixed with 'clutch' and many titles. Top 10 in hits is a lock (less than 100 away), top 5 requires 260 more which is very reasonable to assume as well. #3 (past all but Cobb & Rose) requires 516 more hits - very possible given how he is playing this year as he has cracked 150 every season (outside of his 51 PA first call-up) and 3+ years more from the Yankees I'd have to think is a lock unless he goes belly up. But 1002 to catch Rose? Now that is very doubtful as it'd need 5 years of 200 hits after this one (roughly) or nearly 7 years at 150 a year putting him at age 45. If he does that (without looking bad ala Rose) then I can see unanimous happening.

Jeter does have a big advantage though over all players since the 70's ... some writers have said they'd never vote for a player who has been on strike and Jeter's first call-up was May of the 1995 season well after the strike ended. Thus Jeter's career is dead on the non-strike period, as well as the Yankee playoff recovery (wild card his first season, WS win his first full season after a long [for the Yankees] break). If after he retires the Yankees fail to make the playoffs for those first few years, and if they win it all the year he retires (ie: he retires after a World Series win) then the story would be so solid it would be hard for a writer to vote against it.
   68. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4213915)
Well, his defensive stats are about the same. So you could just as easily call him "a shortstop who played competently in his mid 20s and is unprecedentedly bad in his late 30's"

Or you could just say Jeter has been a really bad defensive shortstop for a long time.

I think the point is that he played shortstop equally well in his 20s as in his 30s. The question is whether he's playing shortstop "competently" at 38.


Well to be clear, I personally don't think an assists per nine innings number really addresses this. If he was "unprecedentedly" bad in his mid-20s as some posit, I find it hard to believe he could play the position at all as a 38 year old.

For what it's worth, I think Jeter's defense is neither as good as the mainstream believes nor as bad as some of the more extreme members on BTF believe. I think he's been below average over his career, but not in a way that is all that remarkable. The only thing that is remarkable is that he's stayed at the position a long time (due to his offense) and that the gold glove voters apparently ran out of other people to vote for in the mid-aughts.
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4213929)
Or you could just say Jeter has been a really bad defensive shortstop for a long time.

Anyone who's had occasion to watch him in person more than a dozen times, and who has watched more than a dozen games involving shortstops other than him, should be able to tell that he isn't a very good shortstop.(*) He's simply not quick from point A to point B; his anticipation is nothing special; and his length doesn't come close to masking his quickness deficiencies.

Well to be clear, I personally don't think an assists per nine innings number really addresses this.

It's not perfect, and there's noise, but absent some obvious reason to think otherwise, low assist numbers pretty much tell you a SS isn't getting to many balls.

(*) He's not, for example, in Alan Trammell's class as a shortstop. He isn't in the same stratophere as Ozzie Smith.
   70. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4213949)
It's not perfect, and there's noise, but absent some obvious reason to think otherwise, low assist numbers pretty much tell you a SS isn't getting to many balls.

...or any number of other things, such as a staff of flyball pitchers.

It doesn't really matter, I didn't start this conversation to defend his defense (to reiterate, I think it's decidedly below average over the course of his career), but I find people's unflinching faith in some metrics to be a little odd (and certainly very surprising given the ideological basis of Sabre-metrics etc...) Maybe he is as competent a shortstop at age 38 as he was at age 25...OR maybe our understanding of defense, defensive statistics and the like is far more incomplete than we like to think. The latter resonates more with me (for the Jeter example and a dozen others).

(I liken it to the annual declarations in Baseball Prospectus that Tom Glavine, Rivera or whoever else was about to fall off a cliff. Voros's findings were then presented as near-gospel, yet time has shown that there are some areas where DIPS falls seriously short.)

At the end of the day, the thing I have MOST confidence in is the capacity for people in every field to overestimate their own knowledge and understanding of a subject. That can be baseball, the weather/climate, economics, medicine or whatever else.

That's all for today. enjoyed the convo and I hope people took my questions with the spirit that was intended.
   71. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4213971)
In 2003, Derek Jeter was 29 and because of a shoulder injury in the first series of the year, started only 118 games at SS. Erick Almonte started 29. Neither Jeter nor Almonte played any position but SS.

This is Jeter in his prime, remember.

RF/9:

Derek Jeter -- 3.74.
Erick Almonte -- 4.14.
   72. John DiFool2 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4213984)
And if Hornsby had played in Jeter's period, he would never have had to leave SS behind, and would have been a real candidate to challenge Honus for SS supremacy.


I doubt it: the popup issue would have gotten tons more play in the press now vs. then, and eventually he probably would have been Edgared to DH.

[Yes I know verbing weirds language. Sue me.]
   73. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4213989)
Well to be clear, I personally don't think an assists per nine innings number really addresses this.


Pick whatever metric you want. I brought up A/9 since it's simple enough that anyone can calculate it, and doesn't require the black box to give you an answer. By BBref, his worst seasons early in his career are in the -20 range. This season he's at -17, but that's in only about 100 games as a shortstop. For those people who think he's so bad on defense that he shouldn't even be considered a HOFer (a view I don't subscribe to) he is just as bad now as he was a decade ago. That's just what the numbers say, if you stick with one stat and compare it you'll see his defense is just a below average constant.

If he was "unprecedentedly" bad in his mid-20s as some posit, I find it hard to believe he could play the position at all as a 38 year old.


I'm surprised as well. If we had as many ways to look at defense in 2002 as we do now, and you asked me what I thought Jeter's defense would look like in 10 years, I would have thought there was no way he'd possibly be able to keep playing the position. I also would not have thought he'd still be able to hit .320 with 15 homers while running the bases as well as he still does.

but I find people's unflinching faith in some metrics to be a little odd


I find this a bit disingenuous. I'm looking at different metrics here because I don't fully trust any of them. There's also Tango Tiger's fan scouting report, which he's been doing for about 10 years now if somebody wants to investigate. All of this tells the same story, that he's been below average for a while. What's the alternative? I can see two of them:

1. Jeter is a bad shortstop now, just as the numbers say, but 10 years ago he was about average.
2. Jeter was a bad shortstop 10 years ago, just as the numbers say. He's gotten worse and is absolutely killing the team now.

I don't see any evidence to support either of those positions. One of them might be true and I just don't see it. The only thing you have to go on is you expect a player to be worse at short at 38 than at 28. True in most cases. In this specific case you also have to consider that Jeter has done a great job of keeping father time at bay while he's batting.
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4213997)
Not sure what 61 is trying to say...To reiterate, my point is that I find it hard to believe that a 38 year old who can play shortstop competently at a major league level was unprecedentedly bad in his mid-20s. That just doesn't pass the smell test for me (edit: barring a position switch of some kind). An assists per 9 number does anything to address that (for me at least).


The problem is that he doesn't play it competently and hasn't in about 6 years. I'm sorry, there is no way anyone who watches Jeter play defense can honestly claim his defense is competent. He has absolutely no range, I mean, none, zero, zilch, nada, nil, zip, nothing, and hundreds of other words. Basically if an average shortstop has to move more than two steps either way, it's going past him. I posted what McCarver called an outstanding play from him in the all star game, which was basically a normal ball, maybe 6 feet to his left that he wasn't able to actually make a play on. He has no range, a blind man could tell you that. He plays as deep as he possibly can, hopes his arm can compensate for his utter inability to react to a ball. There is not one shortstop in the majors in the past twenty years with less range. I'm not sure if he would have more range than Prince Fielder at this point in time.


For what it's worth, I think Jeter's defense is neither as good as the mainstream believes nor as bad as some of the more extreme members on BTF believe. I think he's been below average over his career, but not in a way that is all that remarkable. The only thing that is remarkable is that he's stayed at the position a long time (due to his offense) and that the gold glove voters apparently ran out of other people to vote for in the mid-aughts.


When people say this, I really wonder what they are comparing his defense to. In 10 years of watching Jeter's defense I have never imagined anyone without blinders on, could actually watch him play and think he was average or competent. I mean, yes New York is a town, who's only decent defensive shortstop in 30 years was Rey Ordonez, and he lacked range, but looked good, so maybe the comparison is that "Jeter isn't as good as Ordonez, but Ordonez was great" is coloring the perception. When it should be "Jeter is no where as good as Ordonez, and Ordonez was above average(very good his first couple of years, but his range went down quickly and noticeably)

I honestly cannot believe anyone can watch Jeter play defense and think that is competently. It's not competently.
   75. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4214002)
This is Jeter in his prime, remember.

Jeter in his prime, with his should loosely attached because he rushed through rehab instead of opting for surgery that would have sidelined him for the season. So pretending that Jeter was in his prime on defense in 2003 is totally misleading.

I'm not sure if he would have more range than Prince Fielder at this point in time.

This is silly.
   76. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4214004)
This is Jeter in his prime, remember.

RF/9:

Derek Jeter -- 3.74.
Erick Almonte -- 4.14.


In his prime, but playing with a hurt shoulder. His left shoulder, but there is still good reason to think his fielding was affected. Over his career I've compared his numbers to the collection of Yankee backups. He's a bit worse, but not miles behind them. That kind of evidence does not speak well of his defensive abilities - backup shortstops are generally a bit below average to start with.
   77. GuyM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4214010)
I love the advances in defensive metrics, but I have a hard time reconciling the fact that someone who plays shortstop every day at age 38 (albeit not particularly well, but he also doesn't look like a primate out there) was unprecedentedly awful at it when he was 25.

Evaluating Jeter's defense is not a case of choosing between "old" and "advanced" metrics. The old metrics (assists, RF) say he was awful. And the advanced metrics generally say the same thing. WOWY, DRA, and B-Pro's latest metric all say he way terrible. Even Total Zone says he was awful once you adjust for it's tendency to "over-regress" at the career level (as Michael Humphreys has shown). All of these systems suggest that Jeter is somewhere between -300 runs and -450 runs over his career in the field. That's a big spread, to be sure, but pick any number you want in that range and Jeter is still the worst fielding SS in history (career) by a large margin. There really shouldn't be much argument about that any more.

The ONLY data that tells a somewhat different story is the BIS data that is used by both DRS (Fielding Bible) and UZR. And there are good reasons to doubt that data. Even so, DRS suggests that Jeter has been very bad in the field, if not quite epically bad. So that leaves only UZR as rating Jeter as anything close to average in the field. But interestingly, there are two versions of UZR. An earlier version of UZR, using different data, consistently showed Jeter as being truly awful: -25 to -30 runs per season. So you can't even truthfully say that "UZR" gives Jeter an OK rating -- only one of the two "UZR"s does that. Basically, on one side you have half-a-metric that says Jeter was merely below average, and on the other side a whole bunch of metrics -- plus traditional stats -- that all say he was historically terrible. It's not a fair fight....



And there is simply no good reason to believe that data over all the other evidence, and lots of reason to suspect
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4214021)
I'm not sure if he would have more range than Prince Fielder at this point in time.

This is silly


I don't see why, I think it's obvious to the eyes that Fielder has better reaction time than the statue known as Jeter. He may not have the speed to get to three steps, but Jeter's reaction time is glacial. I'm not kidding in the slightest. If he was playing a zombie in slap hands, the zombie would win. I do not understand how hard it is to miss this. Watch a game, any game in which Jeter is playing. Tivo it, and watch every play hit to short , see where he started out, see where he finishes do the same with the opposition shortstop, second baseman, heck any infield position. Jeter has no reaction time. If it's not hit immediately to his side, it's going to go through.
   79. Moeball Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4214022)
I've mentioned this before in previous threads, but I recall watching the Yankees-Tigers series in the 2006 playoffs and the Tigers seemed to hit an unusually high number of groundball singles up the middle...and the TV cameras didn't seem to have Derek Jeter in the picture on any of them. This really made it look like Derek had extremely limited range going to his left or perhaps he was shading batters towards the hole too often. Has anyone done any extensive studies on Jeter's positioning? Has he been weaker going to his right or his left? I think we are pretty much agreed that he has had historically poor range throughout his career, and it is quite unusual that his team never thought to move him off of SS long before the A-Rod controversy came into the picture.

That being said, I was wondering something else. All the talk about whether Jeter will be the first unanimous HOFer or not made me think of Andre Dawson winning the NL MVP in 1987. At the time, much was made of it being the first time a player from a last place team won the MVP, clearly breaking the tradition in the writers' minds that an MVP must come from a pennant-winning or at least pennant-contending team. I think someone breaking through that roadblock in the writers' minds was a good thing, even if Andre wasn't really the right player to be making that transition possible (there were several players that would have been much better choices than Andre for MVP that year).

So if Jeter DOES get elected unanimously to the HOF (which I don't think he will, but work with me, people) - even if he is the wrong guy to break that barrier, does more good come out of it going forward if we start seeing players getting elected unanimously on a regular basis? The way I think of it, had the BBWAA not left Cobb off of 4 ballots and Ruth off of 11 ballots in that very first election back in 1936, maybe by the time Willie and Hank and others came along, unanimous elections would have been the norm, not the exception. I think someone above in this thread mentioned how it should really be a binary kind of thought process - "Is this player a HOF level player? Y or N?" If the writers thought like this I think there would be a lot less of a backlog.

   80. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4214029)
The problem is that he doesn't play it competently and hasn't in about 6 years. I'm sorry, there is no way anyone who watches Jeter play defense can honestly claim his defense is competent. He has absolutely no range, I mean, none, zero, zilch, nada, nil, zip, nothing, and hundreds of other words. Basically if an average shortstop has to move more than two steps either way, it's going past him. I posted what McCarver called an outstanding play from him in the all star game, which was basically a normal ball, maybe 6 feet to his left that he wasn't able to actually make a play on. He has no range, a blind man could tell you that. He plays as deep as he possibly can, hopes his arm can compensate for his utter inability to react to a ball. There is not one shortstop in the majors in the past twenty years with less range. I'm not sure if he would have more range than Prince Fielder at this point in time.

I assume your post was intended hyperbole, but in 2009, I actualy thought Jeter looked quite solid on defense. He had spent the winter working on flexibility in his hips or something like that, and I thought he actually looked pretty good. For what it's worth, many of the defensive stats back it up.

Lastly, there is NO chance in hell Jeter has cost his team an AVERAGE of 25 to 30 runs per season. There were some years he looked really lethargic out there (usually corresponded with leg injuries) and I could believe that in those season he was a -25, but on average? not a chance.
   81. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4214032)
Evaluating Jeter's defense is not a case of choosing between "old" and "advanced" metrics.


I don't see why, I think it's obvious to the eyes that Fielder has better reaction time than the statue known as Jeter.


watch Yankee games, look for views when you can see more than one fielder, the last one to react is almost always Jeter.

   82. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4214034)
I'm not kidding in the slightest.

You may not be kidding, but you are wrong. Even if Jeter's reactions were as glacial as you claim they are (and they are pretty bad, so to overstate them takes some talent for hyperbole), the difference in foot speed and athleticism makes up for it. That's why one is a terrible defensive SS and the other is a terrible defensive first baseman.

I think it's really sad that a 38 year old who nearly everyone though was done is hitting .326 3/4s of the way through the season and the thread regresses back to the extremely tired, dull debate about Jeter's defense. What does anyone here get out of it? I'm pretty sure this entire defensive conversation could just be replaced by cutting and pasting the last Jeter's defense discussion. Thinking fan my ass, there isn't a single person taking part in this thread who has changed their mind in the last five years, so what's the point? I suppose I should be grateful that it hasn't turned into a steroid thread like Repoz is so badly pining for.
   83. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4214035)

I think it's really sad that a 38 year old who nearly everyone though was done is hitting .326 3/4s of the way through the season and the thread regresses back to the extremely tired, dull debate about Jeter's defense. What does anyone here get out of it? I'm pretty sure this entire defensive conversation could just be replaced by cutting and pasting the last Jeter's defense discussion. Thinking fan my ass, there isn't a single person taking part in this thread who has changed their mind in the last five years, so what's the point?

Well put.
   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4214036)
What does anyone here get out of it?

Debunking the absurd notion that he's worthy of being the first unanimous HOFer.
   85. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4214043)
Debunking the absurd notion that he's worthy of being the first unanimous HOFer.

Then write jackass Stan McNeal at the Sportingnews and tell him he's out of his ####### mind and send him a link to Greg Maddux's BBRef page.
   86. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4214044)
For a community that regularly scoffs at the collective idiocy of the Hall of Fame writers, we sure seem to get bent out of shape when they don't do things exactly as we would. I can guarantee Jeter won't be unanimous, and he'll get in with 95%+. Do any of us really care?
   87. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4214045)
Debunking the absurd notion that he's worthy of being the first unanimous HOFer.


Of course he is. As were Mays, Aaron, Schmidt, Seaver...
   88. GuyM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4214049)
Thinking fan my ass, there isn't a single person taking part in this thread who has changed their mind in the last five years, so what's the point?

This is clearly wrong. The discussions here of Jeter's fielding have changed considerably over the past 5 years. Five years ago, there were many people still arguing that Jeter was an average SS, and even some who thought he was above average. Now, the "defenders" of Jeter's fielding usually claim he is about -10 runs per season (or even a little worse), making him consistently one of the worst SS in MLB but not as epically bad as most metrics indicate. I assume you are accurately describing your own unchanging viewpoint, but you don't speak for everyone.....
   89. Deacon Blues Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4214050)


Of course he is. As were Mays, Aaron, Schmidt, Seaver...

You forgot Jack Morris.
   90. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4214061)
That kind of evidence does not speak well of his defensive abilities - backup shortstops are generally a bit below average to start with.


Is the latter half of that statement true? I would think more often than not that a backup shortstop is actually superior, or at least as good, as the starter but doesn't play more because he can't hit. It doesn't seem to me that backup shortstops are typically good hit/no field types but more good field/no hit.

That's entirely gut reaction though, not based on any numbers.
   91. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4214062)
This is clearly wrong. The discussions here of Jeter's fielding have changed considerably over the past 5 years. Five years ago, there were many people still arguing that Jeter was an average SS, and even some who thought he was above average. Now, the "defenders" of Jeter's fielding usually claim he is about -10 runs per season (or even a little worse), making him consistently one of the worst SS in MLB but not as epically bad as most metrics indicate
I could not disagree with this more. In fact, I would argue it is the opposite. People used to claim that UZR showed Jeter to be costing the Yankees 30-40 runs per year. I would say, if anything, the needle has swung in Jeter's favor among the BTF contingent. Memory is a funny thing, but I'd be stunned if you could produce a single thread where there is strong support for the idea of Jeter being an average SS.

(Well, I'd be stunned if you can find a thread from five years ago at all, but that's a different point.)
   92. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4214064)
Of course he is. As were Mays, Aaron, Schmidt, Seaver...

OPS+, ages 22-33, or first full year in majors to 33 (a/k/a prime):

Henry Aaron -- 160
Willie Mays -- 166
Mike Schmidt -- 151
George Brett-- 147

Derek Jeter -- 122

Alan Trammell -- 117. Combining OPS+ and defense, there's barely a gap between Derek Jeter and Alan Trammell. Derek Jeter doesn't belong in the same conversation as Mays, Aaron, and Schmidt. He's a 122 hitter with very poor defense.

This push for unanimity for Jeter is underpinned by the idea of Jeter as archetype, as if if he's somehow the definitive post-1965 major league baseball player.

He isn't.
   93. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4214065)
(Well, I'd be stunned if you can find a thread from five years ago at all, but that's a different point.)

Let me turn on my Ryan Jones beacon somewhere here....
   94. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4214069)
And speaking of five years ago, it occurs to me I've been posting here for nearly 10 years. And probably arguing about Jeter's defense for that long.

Really, there's only one thing to say about that.
   95. TomH Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4214075)
re: 82 to 84 -
Yes, it does seem silly that we need one more thread to express our angst over the worthiness of Mr. Jeter, who clearly is deserving of much much praise. But this is wha happens when the media and fandom make overboard assessments. The same happened a generation ago with Pewte Rose (prior to the gambling thing); while a great ballplayer, he was feted as a truly astounding one; and thus, there was a backlash that often went overbaord, over-focusing on items like 'OPS wasn't so great foran OFer' and 'defense was mediocre'.

But the question of Hall of Fame voting is going to be a real one; simply because the media and fandom will make so much of it if Jeter were to a) get the highest % of vote ever, or b) be unanimous. I ask myself, if I held a valid HoF vote, and I KNEW that Every Other Voter had checked "yes" next to Jeter... would I be tempted to vote "no" just so the unanimity thing would not happen? Answer: You betcha. In the simple context of yes/no on Jetr, my vote would be poor judgment, as well as hypocritical; but in the larger context of "hey, he's going in anyway" I would justify my actions.

What we really need is an inner-circle Hall, with a different voting structure, and then this silly stuff about whether Seaver or Aaron or whoever got a higher vote % would be irrelevant. Largely. And the author of this artice would not have bothered to write it.
   96. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4214078)
Derek Jeter doesn't belong in the same conversation as Mays, Aaron, and Schmidt.


OK, Robin Yount and Tony Gwynn as well*.

Derek Jeter -- 122

Alan Trammell -- 117. Combining OPS+ and defense, there's barely a gap between Derek Jeter and Alan Trammell.


Well, there's the little matter of 300 more games played. Could be 800 or more by the time Jeter retires.

I happen to think that anyone for whom you can't put forth a reasonable argument why they should not be in the HOF deserves to be unanimous. Just because Aaron, Mays, and Schmidt, et al, didn't, doesn't mean anyone is saying Jeter is superior to them. Are we forever condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past?

*And don't try to argue that those 2 are better than Jeter either. Because I'm not making that argument.
   97. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4214079)
The discussions here of Jeter's fielding have changed considerably over the past 5 years. Five years ago, there were many people still arguing that Jeter was an average SS, and even some who thought he was above average.

Well, that's just not true. People have been on here talking about Jeter being well below average since the site began. It was certainly the consensus when I started posting here around 2000. That particular argument ended a long time ago. But given your knack for intellectual dishonesty and unwavering faith in your perception of the truth, I'm not surprised by your version of history.

Now, the "defenders" of Jeter's fielding usually claim he is about -10 runs per season (or even a little worse), making him consistently one of the worst SS in MLB but not as epically bad as most metrics indicate.

Ah yes, notable Jeter defenders such as TZ, DRS and UZR. Even at -300 for his career, Jeter is at 60 FWar (and counting) and a HOFer. It's not news that a bad fielding SS who plays SS for a very long time is going to rack up a ton of negative fielding runs.

I assume you are accurately describing your own unchanging viewpoint, but you don't speak for everyone.....

Everything is just the same from the last thread and the thread before that and the thread before that (CFB's eyeball test, AROM's measured information, Yankee fan questioning defensive metrics, you dismissing data you don't agree with, me mocking the overly broad defensive God metrics you rely on), right down to us still resorting to personal attacks when posting at one another.

Edit:

Since we are hurting for it, let me pose more interesting topics that haven't been run into the ground:

Jeter is still drilling lefties like he is 25, could his path to Rose be in the form of a platoon DH/Utility guy. I'm wondering how long he can hang against them, be useful and pick up 100-125 hits a year.

Swisher is probably out the door next year, what would a (from right to left) Granderson/Gardner/Jeter OF look like sometime down the road. It would require Jeter to keep hitting like he is now, but his bat would play in LF if his legs could handle it.

Who is the oldest person to lead the league in hits?

Derek Jeter, third baseman?

Seriously, who can the Yanks get that might be better at SS than Jeter in the near future?
   98. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4214080)
the idea of Jeter as archetype, as if if he's somehow the definitive post-1965 major league baseball player.

He isn't.


I agree. So what?
   99. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4214083)
I have two thoughts on this subject.

1. Jeter is below average defensively and he has gotten worse over the years, but
2. The Yankees have adjusted their defense to account for Jeter's inadequacies, so the overall impact on the team hasn't been as large as suggested by the defensive metrics, at least until the last couple of years.

The Yankees have had generally good overall team defense for most of Jeter's career, yet generally have had (by most metrics) significantly below average fielding at both SS and CF. Part of the team defense is pitching - it's generally true that strikeout pitchers, which New York has had in abundance, allow fewer hits on balls in play than do non-strikeout pitchers, even when you control for flyball tendencies. But part of it, also, is that the Yankees position their fielders and probably pitch the hitters in a way to minimize the deficiencies of their up-the-middle players.

Jeter does not have a good arm for a SS, or at least doesn't have one now. He plays a fairly shallow SS, I suspect because of the arm - if he played at normal depth he'd never be able to throw out a lot of guys - which reduces his range by definition (and I think has also gotten him a mildly undeserved reputation for being good going back on popups, since he has to range further for most of them). He also tends to cheat up the middle, and the Yankees play their 3Bs off the line more than most; one thing that struck me was that most of the issues with the Yankee infield had to do with balls toward the hole on the left side, which is exactly the opposite of what most people were saying about Jeter's deficiencies. The Yankees weren't bad up the middle at all for most of Jeter's career.

What I make of the evidence is that the Yankees know what Jeter can and can't do, they take some risks in positioning their fielders to account for what he can and can't do, and they get away with most of those risks because (a) they've had generally good fielders at 3B and (b) they've had pitchers who can miss bats and induce relatively weak contact when they don't miss bats, so they wind up with fewer balls getting by the fielders overall.

-- MWE
   100. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4214087)
I think Jeter is a deserved first ballot hof, and think it's silly that he isn't going to go in with 100% of the vote.

That's why one is a terrible defensive SS and the other is a terrible defensive first baseman.



Is Fielder a terrible first baseman, I just thought he was below average, the standards are pretty low you have a few outstanding guys, a few average guys and the majority of the firstbaseman in baseball, most people would say were poor by the eyes, but the standards are so low that they are actually average.

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