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Saturday, October 23, 2010

NY Post: Sherman: “Elvis a smash hit; Derek just an oldie”

At the conclusion of that 1996 ALCS, Cal Ripken was done as an everyday shortstop, reluctantly shuffled to third base in 1997. Derek Jeter, meanwhile, was a champion in his rookie season. Taking the torch from Ripken as the Yanks beat his Orioles in the ALCS in five games, a step toward becoming a cornerstone to a dynasty.

And here we were last night, when the old shortstop was Jeter, the cornerstone cracked. He is 36. He couldn’t get to the ball in the hole much any longer. He managed to hit a low-impact .231 in the ALCS. ...

Jeter is now Ripken, the face and the burden of a franchise. He cannot be moved to third, where Alex Rodriguez already has done the Ripken-esque shortstop-to-third-base maneuver. ...

However, nothing will dominate the Yankee universe like the Jeter negotiations, since he is both icon and now puzzle. He followed his worst season with an inconsequential postseason. Both sides need each other, but that addiction ultimately could damage the Yankees’ immediate future if Jeter must remain atop the order and as an everyday shortstop, a statue already before he ever reaches Monument Park.

There is no Fountain of Youth. Every dollar the Yankees give over about $7 million and every year they give beyond 2011 is a dollar paid for who Jeter was, and not who he currently is and will be.

bobm Posted: October 23, 2010 at 04:49 PM | 140 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles, rangers, yankees

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   1. madvillain Posted: October 23, 2010 at 08:38 PM (#3673601)
I expect Jeter has at least one more 300/370/440 type line in him, which is valuable even from a less demanding defensive position. Sherman is correct wrt to overpaying for who he used to be -- but in this case it's in everyone's best interests to meet halfway (say 3 years 35 million) and just usher Jeter into to the Pantheon in 2013. It's worth paying for PR in this case if you're the Yankees and it's worth it to Jeter because nobody else is likely to offer him that much. Throw in the cushy front office or booth job after he retires and it's seemingly a no-brainer.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 23, 2010 at 08:43 PM (#3673603)
I expect Jeter has at least one more 300/370/440 type line in him, which is valuable even from a less demanding defensive position. Sherman is correct wrt to overpaying for who he used to be -- but in this case it's in everyone's best interests to meet halfway (say 3 years 35 million) and just usher Jeter into to the Pantheon in 2013. It's worth paying for PR in this case if you're the Yankees and it's worth it to Jeter because nobody else is likely to offer him that much. Throw in the cushy front office or booth job after he retires and it's seemingly a no-brainer.

I agree with most of this. I'd rather go 2/30; overpay a little more per year, but limit the chance of him starting when he's complete toast.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: October 23, 2010 at 09:11 PM (#3673615)
The issue for the Yanks is that

(a) Jeter shouldn't be at SS anymore but there's no obvious position to move him to;
(b) If for no other reason than protecting their long-term investment, AROD shouldn't be at 3B anymore (Chone rates his defense as bad for several years now too). A typical move would be to 1B but that's not going to happen;
(c) Posada shouldn't be at C anymore; a "typical" move would be to 1B but that's not going to happen.

You can't have 3 DHs. You could move AROD to DH and Jeter to 3B and either live with Posada at C or make him a bench player but the list of 37-year-old starting 3B is pretty short for a reason. You could move Jeter (most likely) or AROD to LF for about 120 games plus a good chunk of DH but that's hardly a low-risk proposition.

So the Yanks problem isn't Jeter per se, it's that they have 3 guys at the same stage of their careers at the same time.

In the end, for 2011 at least, they're probably going to have to lump it. Jeter stays at SS for 120-140 games and another 15-20 at DH; AROD stays at 3B for 120-140 games and 20-30 at DH; Posada is at DH for, oh, 90-120 and catches 30-50. They need to find a new starting C and a decent SS/3B backup.

Once Posada's off the books, AROD to DH and Jeter to 3B. But I wouldn't be shocked if Posada lost out in 2011 or got mysteriously injured.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 23, 2010 at 09:37 PM (#3673634)
The issue for the Yanks is that

(a) Jeter shouldn't be at SS anymore but there's no obvious position to move him to;
(b) If for no other reason than protecting their long-term investment, AROD shouldn't be at 3B anymore (Chone rates his defense as bad for several years now too). A typical move would be to 1B but that's not going to happen;
(c) Posada shouldn't be at C anymore; a "typical" move would be to 1B but that's not going to happen.

You can't have 3 DHs. You could move AROD to DH and Jeter to 3B and either live with Posada at C or make him a bench player but the list of 37-year-old starting 3B is pretty short for a reason. You could move Jeter (most likely) or AROD to LF for about 120 games plus a good chunk of DH but that's hardly a low-risk proposition.

So the Yanks problem isn't Jeter per se, it's that they have 3 guys at the same stage of their careers at the same time.


I disagree. Chone has Jeter as -10 this year, UZR -5. The Yankees can certainly live with Jeter as a -10 SS; they have for many years, including Championship years. This issue with Jeter is whether he can hit anymore. If his offense isn't better than 2010, he's a liability anywhere but SS.

Likewise, the Yankees can certainly live with ARod as a -7.5 3B if he's healthy and hits. The answer is to give him more DH time to stay healthy.

Posada needs to split time with a younger catcher (Montero?) but his bat can carry the glove.

There's plenty of DH time to rest ARod and Posada; they can easily get 40 and 60 DH games respectively if they don't sign a full-time DH. The Yankees can sign a RH OF (Werth?) for a 4 man 3.5 position OF/DH platoon, and rotate out Granderson/Gardner against LHP.

Jeter is the issue b/c of the pressure to sign him multi-years and pay him. At this point his bat is likely useless anywhere but SS. DH is no answer to his problem.
   5. base ball chick Posted: October 23, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3673641)
i would say that jeter is the issue because of the pressure to sign him multi years and PLAY him

i'm almost feeling sorry for yankees fans. because this is what happened to the astros with craig biggio - he hit leadoff and played 2B LONG after he really couldn't either any more and really was a lead weight. of course, the yanks can afford to purchase OF bats. but yeah there is nothing to be done about all that lousy defense (outside of teixiera and whosis in the OF)
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 23, 2010 at 09:59 PM (#3673645)
but yeah there is nothing to be done about all that lousy defense (outside of teixiera and whosis in the OF)

The defense is much better than it used to be though. The OF is very good, and Tex and Cano are good. Overall, they were about average this season, as opposed to the early 2000's when they were giving up 50-80 runs on defense with Williams/Jeter/Matsui/Sheffield/Giambi and the other assorted butchers.

It's really only ARod/Jeter/Posada that pose an issue, and you can live with it IF they hit.
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:22 PM (#3673651)
“Elvis a smash hit; Derek just an oldie”

That's the Domino theory at work.
   8. eric Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:35 PM (#3673656)
I'll go out on a limb right now and say Andrus won't have nearly the career of Jeter or Ripken.
   9. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:43 PM (#3673657)
Jeter did have a fantastic year in 2009. I think he'll be considerably better with the bat in 2011.
   10. Srul Itza Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:51 PM (#3673661)
Who is the superior SS that the Yankees are going to replace Jeter with?
   11. Accent Shallow Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:55 PM (#3673662)
Who is the superior SS that the Yankees are going to replace Jeter with?

*cough* Eduardo *giggle* Nunez *full-fledged guffaw*

The Yankees don't have any viable SS prospects in their system, unless you're willing to count Cito Culver, their 2010 1st round pick. However, he's just 18, so even if he is a future star, Jeter will need to hang on for at least another three years.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 23, 2010 at 10:56 PM (#3673664)
Who is the superior SS that the Yankees are going to replace Jeter with?

There is none. No one's suggesting replacing Jeter.

The issue is signing him for 2 years rather than 4, so you can replace him when one's available.
   13. base ball chick Posted: October 23, 2010 at 11:07 PM (#3673666)
snapper

i wouldn't be real too surprised if youse get stuck with jeter until The Icon decides to retire. see biggio/cal ripken. even IF you could replace him with tulo
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 23, 2010 at 11:18 PM (#3673670)
i wouldn't be real too surprised if youse get stuck with jeter until The Icon decides to retire. see biggio/cal ripken. even IF you could replace him with tulo
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I know. That's what I'm worried about.
   15. Joe OBrien Posted: October 23, 2010 at 11:32 PM (#3673680)
Has Jeter expressed any interest in a career after baseball? Producing music or movies or real estate or something? Because having a graceful exit strategy might allow for a compromise. The Yankees give him a 4 year deal with a gentlemen's agreement that if he really starts to suck, he'll retire to "pursue other interests".
   16. salajander Posted: October 23, 2010 at 11:37 PM (#3673683)
I know. That's what I'm worried about.


You and most reasonable Yankee fans.
   17. Srul Itza Posted: October 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM (#3673700)
After 2008 we had a spate of "Jeter is finished, woe is the Yankees" articles.

After 2009 we had a slew of "Jeter is timeless, never bet against him" fellatio.

Now we are back in 2008 mode, only with the added concern of the upcoming contract.

I think we will get some bounce back from Jeer.

If, instead, we get further decay, will Jeter continue to hang in there, or will he pull the plug? I think he pulls the plug.
   18. Tuque Posted: October 24, 2010 at 12:52 AM (#3673806)
If, instead, we get further decay, will Jeter continue to hang in there, or will he pull the plug?

Yeah. I think most of this discussion isn't taking into account that I'm pretty Jeter might rather retire than go to another team.
   19. Gotham Dave Posted: October 24, 2010 at 01:52 AM (#3673975)
You know, if even people like Joel Sherman are writing that Jeter doesn't deserve more than 1/$7, maybe the PR fallout from declining to sign him for 4 years and $60 million won't be as bad as everyone has been assuming...
   20. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 02:01 AM (#3674000)
Re: Title

2010 Fangraphs WAR
Jeter: 2.5
Andrus: 1.5

2010 BRef WAR
Jeter: 2.4
Andrus: 1.0
   21. danielj Posted: October 24, 2010 at 05:45 AM (#3674520)
Yankee fans got used to life without Mattingly pretty quickly, as I recall.

It would certainly be a nice gesture by the Captain to volunteer to bat lower in the lineup for the benefit of the team.
   22. puck Posted: October 24, 2010 at 06:15 AM (#3674535)
i wouldn't be real too surprised if youse get stuck with jeter until The Icon decides to retire. see biggio/cal ripken. even IF you could replace him with tulo


Tulo won't be a free agent until after the 2014 season. Same for Hanley. Plenty of time for Jeter to patrol shortstop!
   23. GuyM Posted: October 24, 2010 at 02:44 PM (#3674623)
The Yankees can certainly live with Jeter as a -10 SS

That's true. But the reality is much worse.

2010 Assists:
AL 2B 467
NYY 2B 450

AL SS 466
NYY SS 405

AL 3B 310
NYY 3B 311

Yes, the "advanced metrics" appear to show that yet again this year Yankee pitchers allowed opposing hitters to hit groundballs everywhere except in the vicinity of Derek Jeter. But it is long past time to give up this illusion. Jeter is costing the Yankees at least 20 runs with his glove, probably closer to 30.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: October 24, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3674711)
http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/columns/story?columnist=oconnor_ian&id=5720651

"I believe a fair deal would be for four years at $23 million per."

Ian did not reveal in that column that he is writing a book on Jeter, which frankly is a terrible mistake on his part.

http://www.amazon.com/Captain-Journey-Derek-Jeter/dp/0547327935
   25. Sam M. Posted: October 24, 2010 at 05:18 PM (#3674727)
"I believe a fair deal would be for four years at $23 million per."

It's a close call in my mind whether this is more bizarre and hard to comprehend than Sherman's suggestion of 1/$7M. I don't know what planet these guys are on . . . but it's plainly not this one, and it's equally obvious the drugs are verrrrrrrry different in whatever distant galaxies each of them is occupying at the moment.
   26. base ball chick Posted: October 24, 2010 at 05:36 PM (#3674735)
a fair deal is paying a jeter of suckage MORE/year than he got/year when he WAS great???!!!

at least the astros didn't pay biggio like that when he was long past being worth even 1/4 of that

and they DID have a young player ready to step in and step up, but the owner didn't want that because he wanted FIRST to make sure biggio got those 3000 hits to get into the Hall
   27. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 24, 2010 at 05:49 PM (#3674744)
Francesssa intimated that the Yankees could let Girardi go and transition Jeter to a player/manager type deal.

You know what occurred to me the other day? I think Jeter would be a shitty manager. I don't know why I started thinking about this--but I doubt he will ever be a manager of any kind. Maybe some kind of other front office gig. Jeter is an instinctive player. I've never heard him make an intelligent point about baseball. Not that he's not smart, but I just don't see him as a deep thinker about the game.

Now, a fantastic manager? I think Alex Rodriguez. That guy lives, breathes, eats, sleeps baseball, and from everything I've read he spends a great deal of time thinking about the intricacies of the game...not just technique, but strategy and tactics. Joe Torre said as much in his book: after the game, Jeter goes out. A-Rod goes home and watches the West Coast games on MLB extra innings.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 24, 2010 at 05:58 PM (#3674752)
They are not direct comps but Jeter and Paul Molitor are similar type hitters. Paulie really enjoyed the DH spot, and I suspect Jeter would do well in that role also as mostly DH and every so often taking the field.

I have no basis for the following but I sense if you put A-rod at DH he gets like Reggie and the offense heads in the downward direction.
   29. Textbook Editor Posted: October 24, 2010 at 06:30 PM (#3674775)
I strongly, strongly suspect Jeter will never, ever play a position other than SS for the Yankees. Don't know why I think this--perhaps because I feel like if it was ever going to happen, it would/should have happened already.

Naturally, I hope the Yankees overpay here (dollars *and* years). It's going to be fun to see 40 year olds all over the IF in a few years.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 06:54 PM (#3674791)
I strongly, strongly suspect Jeter will never, ever play a position other than SS for the Yankees. Don't know why I think this--perhaps because I feel like if it was ever going to happen, it would/should have happened already.

Ptobably b/c they have better hitters at every other position. There isn't one position on the team where Jeter's projected offense/defense is better than the incumbent.
   31. Darren Posted: October 24, 2010 at 06:59 PM (#3674794)
I would think the hardest thing in negotiating with Jeter is that they've agreed to pay ARod through age 42. I would think Jeter would want something similar, even if he doesn't get nearly the same salary. I'm guessing right now he is thinking he had one down year after having one of his best, and that he's in line for 4-5 years at $15 to $20 mil. per.

And I know he's dreamy and all that, but I wouldn't even begin rule him out of playing for another team if it comes to that. Almost every great player does.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 07:13 PM (#3674800)
I would think the hardest thing in negotiating with Jeter is that they've agreed to pay ARod through age 42. I would think Jeter would want something similar, even if he doesn't get nearly the same salary. I'm guessing right now he is thinking he had one down year after having one of his best, and that he's in line for 4-5 years at $15 to $20 mil. per.

And I know he's dreamy and all that, but I wouldn't even begin rule him out of playing for another team if it comes to that. Almost every great player does.


Sure, but there's just no reason for the Yankees to indulge that. They lived with Ruth and Berra finishing in different unis, they'd survive Jeter playing elsewhere.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 07:30 PM (#3674814)
By your analysis, Jeter is letting about sixty balls through to the outfield, right?

I don't see how the advanced metrics could miss that.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 08:03 PM (#3674838)
Well, what's an alternative explanation? Let's start throwing out ideas.

Here's one: maybe the numbers that GuyM posted are the result of:

A) the Yankee pitchers causing fewer balls to be hit to the infield, and
B) the Yankee 3B taking a bunch of balls that would be taken by the SS on other teams.

I'm not 100% convinced by that, but I do think it's interesting that the raw numbers have a weirdness that doesn't show up elsewhere.


The simplest explanation I can think of is that the Yankees give up fewer GB to the left side than the average AL team.
   35. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 24, 2010 at 08:11 PM (#3674846)
I think it's pretty clear, without having to resort to advanced metrics, that the Yankees' infield defense was demonstrably worse in 2010 than it was in 2009. But it's not readily apparent from looking at what I can look at now where the issue really is.

The Yankees, with virtually the same ratio of GB to FB in 2010 as they had in 2009 (about league-average), allowed a .247 batting average on ground balls, compared to .230 a year ago. They had the second-worst average in the AL, behind only the White Sox (who had a revolving door at 3B and Gordon Beckham getting OJT at 2B). It's not entirely clear, however, where the breakdowns occurred. Yankee SS+3B assists were about 91% of league average a year ago, about 92% of league average this year (which I think is mostly a function of a healthier A-Rod playing more innings in 2010). The SS rate was 87.3% a year ago, 86.9% this year. At a glance it doesn't appear as though they allowed more GB hits to left in 2010 than they did in 2009 (I won't know that for sure until I have a chance to break down the 2010 data).

The Yankees have been shading Jeter up the middle and playing their 3Bs off the line for years, going back to when I first start looking at their defensive alignment around 2000 or so. A-Rod has been very good at going toward the hole, but I suspect that the injuries have been taking their toll on him. When Retrosheet releases 2010 I'll do some trend analysis on the left-side data.

-- MWE
   36. PreservedFish Posted: October 24, 2010 at 08:49 PM (#3674863)
They are not direct comps but Jeter and Paul Molitor are similar type hitters. Paulie really enjoyed the DH spot, and I suspect Jeter would do well in that role also as mostly DH and every so often taking the field.


I've thought the same thing and posted as much.
   37. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 24, 2010 at 08:56 PM (#3674866)
PF:

Well, it only counts when I write it.

(That's a joke big fella)
   38. GuyM Posted: October 24, 2010 at 09:35 PM (#3674884)
By your analysis, Jeter is letting about sixty balls through to the outfield, right? How many runs is that normally expected to lead to?

I think Yankee pitchers allowed about 4% fewer GBs than average. So my guess would be that NYY SSs should have had something like 450 assists, or a shortfall of about 45 assists. Each one is worth about .7 runs, so that's maybe -30 runs (most but not all of which Jeter is responsible for). That would also mean that NYY 3B and 2B probably provided above-average defense. More importantly, the defensive metric that I think is best for players for whom we have several seasons of data -- Tango's WOWY metric -- shows Jeter to be about -30 runs IIRC.

And this is not just a 2010 issue:

2009 Assists:
AL 2B 460
NYY 2B 438

AL SS 452
NYY SS 395

AL 3B 311
NYY 3B 300

2008 Assists:
AL 2B 481
NYY 2B 500

AL SS 459
NYY SS 403

AL 3B 323
NYY 3B 321

You have to admire Jeter's consistency: he makes 50 fewer plays than average every year.

If you average 2007-2009, you get this:

AL 2B 469
NYY 2B 463

AL SS 459
NYY SS 401

AL 3B 314
NYY 3B 311
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM (#3674910)
I think Yankee pitchers allowed about 4% fewer GBs than average. So my guess would be that NYY SSs should have had something like 450 assists, or a shortfall of about 45 assists. Each one is worth about .7 runs, so that's maybe -30 runs (most but not all of which Jeter is responsible for). That would also mean that NYY 3B and 2B probably provided above-average defense. More importantly, the defensive metric that I think is best for players for whom we have several seasons of data -- Tango's WOWY metric -- shows Jeter to be about -30 runs IIRC.

It's odd, I know. But could you please explain how the advanced metrics could be missing ~30 hits per year? How could the scorers not be coding that many balls through the SS zone?
   40. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3674927)
I suspect Jeter would do well in that role also as mostly DH and every so often taking the field.


"Do well"? I doubt this.
   41. GuyM Posted: October 24, 2010 at 11:17 PM (#3674946)
It's odd, I know. But could you please explain how the advanced metrics could be missing ~30 hits per year?

My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that Jeter's immobility helps him a lot on the advanced metrics. Scorers don't have the benefit of a grid imposed on the field, so except for balls very close to the 2nd base bag it's difficult to judge where a ball was really hit. Consciously or not, scorers must use the fielders themselves as reference points -- I don't think it would be possible to avoid doing this (I certainly couldn't). When a fielder gets close to a ball, or knocks it down, that paradoxically makes it appear to have been easier to field. Jeter gives balls such a wide birth that they appear to be more difficult plays than they actually were.

BTW, the reverse effect likely afflicts excellent fielders.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 11:17 PM (#3674947)
They are not direct comps but Jeter and Paul Molitor are similar type hitters. Paulie really enjoyed the DH spot, and I suspect Jeter would do well in that role also as mostly DH and every so often taking the field.

Harveys, the problem is he's averaged a 110 OPS+ the last 4 years, 119 career. Now that is OBP heavy, but it's really hard to think he's a good bet for any better than a 110 OPS+ for the next 3 years. And there's a high probability he's more like a 100 OPS+ hitter.

As a DH, that's worth very little (upside) and is replacement level (downside).

If you look at Molitor, he was a very, very good DH from 34-37 (142 OPS+) but replacement level (103 OPS+) from 38 on.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2010 at 11:18 PM (#3674948)
My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that Jeter's immobility helps him a lot on the advanced metrics. Scorers don't have the benefit of a grid imposed on the field, so except for balls very close to the 2nd base bag it's difficult to judge where a ball was really hit. Consciously or not, scorers must use the fielders themselves as reference points -- I don't think it would be possible to avoid doing this (I certainly couldn't). When a fielder gets close to a ball, or knocks it down, that paradoxically makes it appear to have been easier to field. Jeter gives balls such a wide birth that they appear to be more difficult plays than they actually were.


But aren't they reviewed on film?
   44. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM (#3674964)
Anyone who doesn't think that being relieved of the constant burden of playing a critical defensive position might not have a salutary impact isn't thinking clearly.

The man is currently in the center of the diamond every day taking a beating. He was in 157 games this season. Either make him mostly a DH or start him 125 games a season at SS. But ease the burden.
   45. GuyM Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:08 AM (#3674968)
Anyone who doesn't think that being relieved of the constant burden of playing a critical defensive position might not have a salutary impact isn't thinking clearly.

Actually, the evidence seems to show that there is a "DH penalty," similar to the "pinch-hitter penalty" -- being a DH reduces offensive output, it doesn't increase it. And I see no reason at all to think that a 37-yr-old moving to a new position -- even if theoretically less demanding in the abstract, like LF -- will improve at the plate.

But aren't they reviewed on film?

Yes, but what the scorer still sees is a ground ball and nearby fielders. If a SS is very slow and/or poorly positioned, he will be far from the ball, which will make it appear to be a more difficult play.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:13 AM (#3674972)
Anyone who doesn't think that being relieved of the constant burden of playing a critical defensive position might not have a salutary impact isn't thinking clearly.

I'm not arguing that it wouldn't help, I'm just saying the base he is starting from is low enough, that any bounce will still make him of very little value as a DH.

Take your example, Molitor.

In the four years before he became a full-time DH he had a 138 OPS+ at ages 30-33. In the next four, he posted a 142 OPS+ from 34-37, followed by a 103 OPS+ at ages 38-41.

He got a nice bump, when you consider he was four years older, but he was 34, not 37.

Even if Jeter got the same bump from a four year avg. of 110 OPS+ (ignoring that his 2010 was much worse, and he's much older), you're talking about a 112-114 OPS+.

That's just not worth very much at DH.

Jeter's certainly less attractive as a DH than Vlad Guerrero was last season, and Vlad got 1/$5.5M.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:21 AM (#3674978)
Most DH's these days are pretty sorry. I think what folks 'think' is appropriate scale for DH isn't matched by reality.

Also, put a guy at the top of the lineup on a good offensive club and a .370ish OBP and he scores runs. Like Jeter did this season with a pedestrian (for him) .340 OBP.

And if folks are worried about him suffering the "Reggie Syndrome" at DH then just sit him for 35 odd games. Do something semi-reasonable. But maintaining the status quo will quite likely generate an ugly situation where come early June Derek is hitting .212 and the crowds/airwaves are rumbling.
   48. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:31 AM (#3674983)
Even if Jeter got the same bump from a four year avg. of 110 OPS+ (ignoring that his 2010 was much worse, and he's much older), you're talking about a 112-114 OPS+. That's just not worth very much at DH.

I mentioned this in the other thread, and I hate being this ####### stupid, but can someone tell me how to get the league-wide OPS+ for the DHs last year on BBREF? In my head, it seems like it was less than 112-114 league-wide, but of course, without having the brains to get the data, it's just conjecture.
   49. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:42 AM (#3674991)
every time i watch the yanx play, and yeah, i know it is not real too often, i am absolutely stunned watching jeter how LOUSY he is. when i watched them when we went to YS (during the 6 man nono) i understood what jeter was called pasta (diving jeter) and these days he really doesn't bother to try to make it look good.

going to be interesting to see what the yanx actually DO with him - or even if he is gonna dictate when and where he plays on the field and in the lineup, like biggio did the last 3 years of his career
   50. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:43 AM (#3674992)
Anyone who doesn't think that being relieved of the constant burden of playing a critical defensive position might not have a salutary impact isn't thinking clearly.


True. But does making him a DH make his hitting DH-worthy? He'd have to produce at a level as good as or better than his prime years for him to be a good DH.

EDIT: Coke to snapper, lassus, half the site.
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 25, 2010 at 12:53 AM (#3674997)
I believe the OPS+ for DH's was 106
   52. GuyM Posted: October 25, 2010 at 03:13 PM (#3675263)
BTW, whatever is causing Jeter to be overrated by the advanced metrics also impacts the ratings for other Yankee fielders. Over the past 3 seasons, UZR rates NYY 2B (i.e. Cano) at -4 runs/season, while SS is +1. Does anyone really believe Jeter is providing better defense than Cano, even though Cano makes as many plays as the average 2B while Jeter makes 60 fewer plays than the average SS?

A-Rod as a SS in TX was +11 in UZR and average in TZ. Since joining NYY, he became a -3 UZR and -6 TZ third baseman. Yes, ARod got older, but he also moved to a position that should have improved his rating by 10 runs. Similarly, Knoblauch was +37 in TZ over his last 3 seasons in Minn, but in 3 years in NY he was -29 (EDIT: and was rated below average even before the throwing problems started). I think Jeter is dragging down the fielding ratings of NYY 2B and 3B, and perhaps by quite a bit.
   53. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 25, 2010 at 03:37 PM (#3675278)
So my guess would be that NYY SSs should have had something like 450 assists, or a shortfall of about 45 assists. Each one is worth about .7 runs, so that's maybe -30 runs


Is that really correct? A single (and all the non-assists made by Derek Jeter would be singles) is worth 0.7 runs?
   54. Baldrick Posted: October 25, 2010 at 03:46 PM (#3675280)
Is that really correct? A single (and all the non-assists made by Derek Jeter would be singles) is worth 0.7 runs?

For giving up a single, and failing to gain out, that doesn't sound implausible.
   55. Spivey Posted: October 25, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3675288)
A single (and all the non-assists made by Derek Jeter would be singles) is worth 0.7 runs?

It's not a single, as much as it is a single that *should* have been an out.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:08 PM (#3675297)
I think Jeter is dragging down the fielding ratings of NYY 2B and 3B, and perhaps by quite a bit.

If this is true, and you could demonstrate the mechanism, that would be a great study.
   57. Cowboy Popup Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:31 PM (#3675311)
If this is true, and you could demonstrate the mechanism, that would be a great study.

My understanding of his theory is that the scorers who mark balls in zone for all the advanced metrics are biased or flawed and they can't tell when a ball should be counted in zone when evaluating bad defenders. As a result of a player's limited range, the scorers will document less balls in a player's zone for poor fielders. I don't think anyone is going to be able to demonstrate that the scorers are in fact making these mistakes, and if they are, its unlikely they will be able to show they are making these mistakes to the tune of 30 balls a season.

Obviously, I think its a totally bogus theory.
   58. GuyM Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:43 PM (#3675316)
It's not a single, as much as it is a single that *should* have been an out.

Right: a missed play is trading an out (-.25 runs) for a single (+.45). FYI: Jeter is also below average when it comes to turning DPs, so there's some additional cost there.

If this is true, and you could demonstrate the mechanism, that would be a great study.

For Total Zone (TZ) the mechanism is clear: almost every ball Jeter misses is fielded by either the LF or the CF. If it's the LF, A-Rod gets some of the blame for allowing that hit; if it's the CF, Cano gets a good share of the blame. That's not a mistake in the TZ metric, just a limitation of the data it works with. To the extent that other SSs manage to knock down balls that Jeter never touches -- which I would guess happens a fair amount -- I think this problem is exacerbated. (IIRC, TZ gives full responsibility to the SS if he fields the ball but fails to make an out.) So any fielder who is far below average will end up hurting the TZ rating of adjoining fielders, and vice-versa. This appears to be a bigger factor for middle-infielders than for 1B/3B.

For UZR the mechanism is less obvious, and any impact on other fielders would depend on the source of the error. But if the balls hit in the vicinity of Jeter are being rated harder to field than they really are, that likely means some of them are being rated as possible plays for the 2B or 3B, which would lower their respective UZRs. However, there might not be a huge impact, if scorers are rating a lot of these Jeter misses as being almost unfieldable by any infielder.

Another consideration is whether other NYY fielders change positioning to compensate for Jeter's weakness. It might make sense for A-Rod to play closer to the hole than usual, for example. That could be the right move for the Yankees, but still leave him with a low UZR in comparison to other 3B.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:51 PM (#3675329)
For UZR the mechanism is less obvious, and any impact on other fielders would depend on the source of the error. But if the balls hit in the vicinity of Jeter are being rated harder to field than they really are, that likely means some of them are being rated as possible plays for the 2B or 3B, which would lower their respective UZRs. However, there might not be a huge impact, if scorers are rating a lot of these Jeter misses as being almost unfieldable by any infielder.
This suggests your theory actually is entirely testable. If someone with access to the BIS data could show that the Yankees are consistently allowing an atypically large number of ground balls to the SS/3B and 2B/SS holes which are rated as unplayable or practically so, it would support the theory. If it isn't the case, then the theory is clearly not borne out in the data.
Another consideration is whether other NYY fielders change positioning to compensate for Jeter's weakness. It might make sense for A-Rod to play closer to the hole than usual, for example. That could be the right move for the Yankees, but still leave him with a low UZR in comparison to other 3B.
It seems to me most likely that this weirdness in the assist data is a function of positioning, not recording error. It's not at all clear to me that the Yankees are positioning their infield differently to protect Jeter, or that having a different positioning of the infield which leads to fewer balls being played by the shortstop necessarily means the shortstop is weaker or less valuable. The Yankees may just think this is the best way to play the infield in general.
   60. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3675337)
As others have mentioned, there's barely any full-time DH's who are stars. Big Papi and Vlad (1st year as full-time DH), and Matsui are pretty much it for this year
   61. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 25, 2010 at 04:57 PM (#3675341)
Yes, ARod got older, but he also moved to a position that should have improved his rating by 10 runs.

This is a good assumption for the league as a whole on average, perhaps, but I don't know that it stands up to close scrutiny for an individual. Individual players might be more or less well suited than average to go from SS to 3B.
   62. Dan Posted: October 25, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3675357)
Not sure where else to post this, but since this is probably the msot relevant Yankee thread at the moment, the Yankees have reportedly cut ties with pitching coach Dave Eiland.
   63. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 25, 2010 at 05:29 PM (#3675374)
Right: a missed play is trading an out (-.25 runs) for a single (+.45).


I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations on this (I literally did it on the back of an envelope), and the estimate holds up really well. Basic runs created shows the Yankees allowing 695 runs this year (they actually allowed 693). If you change 45 singles to outs, that drops to right around 660.
   64. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 25, 2010 at 05:32 PM (#3675377)
As others have mentioned, there's barely any full-time DH's who are stars. Big Papi and Vlad (1st year as full-time DH), and Matsui are pretty much it for this year


Are you not counting Jim Thome as "full-time"?
   65. GuyM Posted: October 25, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3675379)
If someone with access to the BIS data could show that the Yankees are consistently allowing an atypically large number of ground balls to the SS/3B and 2B/SS holes which are rated as unplayable or practically so, it would support the theory.

Well, we already know that the BIS data is saying Jeter has far fewer fielding opportunities than the typical SS, and says this year after year. That's a mathematical certainty -- there is no other way for a player to make so few outs yet get a decent UZR rating. The only question is how much that affects the opportunities assigned to Cano and A-Rod.
The Yankees may just think this is the best way to play the infield in general.

Are you suggesting the Yankees have found a new way to position their SS that is good for the team, but results in his making 60 fewer plays each year than a typical SS? This seems very unlikely -- as Dial has often argued, there just aren't enough GBs in areas of shared responsibility for players to trade off responsibility for zones in this way. Or are you saying the Yankees position him badly, so his poor defense is really management's error? (More plausible, though not by much.)

Look, the average SS fielded 3.6 balls per game last year (regardless of whether he made an out). Jeter handled only 2.9 balls per game. That's about the number of balls a 3B gets to. Yes, Cano handles fewer than average balls, but only by a small margin. A-Rod too, but not by anything like Jeter's margin. The evidence that Jeter can't get to balls is just overwhelming at this point.

Joe C: yes, any one player could be different. But the basic reason a SS's rating goes up when he moves to 3B is UZR now compares him to an inferior group of fielders. I guess it's possible that A-Rod lacked certain 3B skills that he didn't need at SS, though I'm not sure what those would be. In any case, what matters is not A-Rod but whether there's a pattern -- it looks to me like there is.
   66. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 25, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3675407)
Well, we already know that the BIS data is saying Jeter has far fewer fielding opportunities than the typical SS, and says this year after year. That's a mathematical certainty -- there is no other way for a player to make so few outs yet get a decent UZR rating. The only question is how much that affects the opportunities assigned to Cano and A-Rod.
We don't know, though, whether he is considered to have fewer fielding opportunities because a lot more balls hit toward short are classified as unplayable, or if it's because balls hit toward short are fielded by an atypical set of fielders, or if there just aren't as many balls hit toward short in the first place. If it's the former, that fits your theory. If it's either of the latter two, that doesn't fit any of your theories.
Are you suggesting the Yankees have found a new way to position their SS that is good for the team, but results in his making 60 fewer plays each year than a typical SS? This seems very unlikely -- as Dial has often argued, there just aren't enough GBs in areas of shared responsibility for players to trade off responsibility for zones in this way. Or are you saying the Yankees position him badly, so his poor defense is really management's error? (More plausible, though not by much.)
I'm saying I have no idea, but I think the positioning theory requires the fewest really weird events. Your theory requires play-by-play data to be quite massively compromised. The "weird ball distribution" theory requires the Yankees to consistently have a weird ball distribution over many years and many different pitchers. The "different positioning" theory requires the Yankees to have arranged their infield such that the fielding of ground balls is apportioned to a somewhat different set of infielders. That seems the most likely.

I think you're saying that the positioning theory doesn't comport with the arrangement of the assist data. That is, I think you're saying that there is no reasonable arrangement of infield positioning that could possibly produce the Yankee assist numbers of recent seasons, or that only a massively sub-optimal positioning system could produce it. Can you explain why you believe that? I don't follow why Dial's beliefs about out-of-zone balls should be determinative here. (And if you can explain why that would be determinative, I'd also want to see the evidence, from the pbp data, that his beliefs were in fact correct.)
   67. Srul Itza Posted: October 25, 2010 at 06:23 PM (#3675427)
I guess it's possible that A-Rod lacked certain 3B skills that he didn't need at SS, though I'm not sure what those would be


The recurring hip injury might play some role in this.
   68. GuyM Posted: October 25, 2010 at 06:27 PM (#3675430)
Your theory requires play-by-play data to be quite massively compromised.

Well, it depends on your definition of "massively." But it's not just plausible that scorers are influenced by the proximity of fielders, it's virtually certain to be true. Think about it this way: supposed you had to score a bunch of GBs to left side of the IF from video replay, but the 3Bman and SS were digitally removed from the video? How accurately do you think you could rate speed and trajectory of those balls? How consistent would your ratings be with another independent scorer? Then answer for me, and I think almost anyone else, would be that I would do a crappy job (except for balls hit quite close to the 3B bag or 2B bag, and even then velocity would be challenging). So OF COURSE the fielders become important reference points for the scorers.

And it's not like we're postulating scorers who see 20 GBs go thru Jeter's legs and score them as in the hole. It's a much more subtle bias over hundreds of GBs, in which the closer a fielder is to a ball the easier that ball is scored (and vice-versa). And this bias is likely magnified for players perceived to be good fielders (if they miss it, it "must" have been hard to field).

But I'm certainly open to other theories. What can't be true, though, is that Jeter is a nearly average SS and yet makes 50-60 fewer plays than average while his adjoining fielders are close to average.

And I don't see how positioning could possibly explain Jeter's relatively good UZR rating. If he is positioned poorly, he should have a very bad UZR rating.
   69. zenbitz Posted: October 25, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3675635)
Maybe they could bring in some 90s tech and superimpose a grid on the video.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 01:17 PM (#3675879)
What can't be true, though, is that Jeter is a nearly average SS and yet makes 50-60 fewer plays than average while his adjoining fielders are close to average.
I guess one way of putting the difference between us is that I wouldn't make the above claim. I see no reason why it couldn't be true. It seems unlikely, it would be weird, but defensive statistics are often weird. I know of no evidence that the run value of assist totals must be within X runs of a player's defensive value.
   71. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 02:17 PM (#3675939)
defensive statistics are often weird

Agreed, but the reality of fielding performance, and distribution of balls in play, is not nearly as weird as the statistics. Which tells us we have a problem with some of our statistics. Look at how many plays Jeter makes each year -- that doesn't vary much at all.

It's really not conceivable that scores of Yankee pitchers over 16 years have allowed far fewer GBs to SS, but an average number in the vicinity of both 3B and 2B. Well, nothing is impossible. But if the choices are that vs. someone has made mistakes in PBP scoring and/or computations of fielding metrics, the respective probabilities are something like 1% and 99%.

Now, that doesn't mean Jeter's raw out totals tell the whole story. Yankee pitchers probably have surrendered somewhat fewer GBs than average over Jeter's career. (And my guess is that NYY 3B and 2B have been a bit above average over those 16 years on average). But Jeter makes 2 fewer outs than the average SS for every 5 games he plays. This is just a HUGE difference, on the order of 40 runs a season. Even if you think half of that can be explained by an unusually low number of opportunities -- a very generous assumption for Jeter -- that still means he has been about 200 runs (20 wins) worse than TZ has measured, and much worse than UZR indicates.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 02:29 PM (#3675952)
It's really not conceivable that scores of Yankee pitchers over 16 years have allowed far fewer GBs to SS, but an average number in the vicinity of both 3B and 2B. Well, nothing is impossible. But if the choices are that vs. someone has made mistakes in PBP scoring and/or computations of fielding metrics, the respective probabilities are something like 1% and 99%.
How are you quantifying this?

Again, you seem to be quite sure of things that I'm not nearly as sure of. I don't know to what degree it's possible for assist totals to be skewed by ball distribution and positioning. I'm more than open to being shown that the gap between defensive runs measured by assists and real defensive value has clear probability limits, that a player's defensive value must be within 20 runs per season (or whatever number) of his defensive value as measured by raw assists. As far as I understand things, though, this is something that no one knows and that hasn't been shown. So I remain agnostic.
   73. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 02:51 PM (#3675986)
I just want to remind everyone that when BIS charts plays "off video," they have a subscription to MLB.tv just like the rest of us can get. They don't have any views of a play that you and I don't have from our homes.

And we have continually growing evidence that the BIS data is compromised - not just their hit location data, but their hit trajectory data (GB/LD/FB), their pitch type data, their pitch location data... the whole nine yards. I find it simply incredible the number of people who are willing to defend the integrity of a data set they've never seen.
   74. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 02:55 PM (#3675994)
Maybe they could bring in some 90s tech and superimpose a grid on the video.


In order to do this, BIS would have to know:

* Where the cameras are located,

* Where the cameras are pointed at any given moment, and

* The magnitude of the zoom of the lens.

Okay, they probably also need to know the optical qualities of the lenses involved - spherical distortion and the like.

They don't know any of that. (They have some data on camera locations - I provided them some of my work in that area upon request.)
   75. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3676001)
In the end, for 2011 at least, they're probably going to have to lump it. Jeter stays at SS for 120-140 games and another 15-20 at DH; AROD stays at 3B for 120-140 games and 20-30 at DH; Posada is at DH for, oh, 90-120 and catches 30-50. They need to find a new starting C and a decent SS/3B backup.


I agree with this, though I'd catch Posada the 90-120 games instead of DH'ing him for those games. Is he really worse defensively than he has been for years?

Once Posada's off the books, AROD to DH and Jeter to 3B.


What's funny about this is that ARod agreed to move off SS to come to the Yankees, since His Captainness was at short. Now when the time comes that Jeter can't handle SS anymore (I don't think that time is now - he's not any worse there than he has been), it's ARod who everyone wants to move again, to accommodate Jeter once more.

As long as ARod can still handle the field, they should play him there. Otherwise they're saddled with a $25 million DH for several years.

The sane thing to do would be to offer Jeter no more than two years. Otherwise, they really do have a longterm problem on their hands.
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:12 PM (#3676009)
You know what occurred to me the other day? I think Jeter would be a shitty manager. I don't know why I started thinking about this--but I doubt he will ever be a manager of any kind. Maybe some kind of other front office gig. Jeter is an instinctive player. I've never heard him make an intelligent point about baseball. Not that he's not smart, but I just don't see him as a deep thinker about the game.


Then he'll fit in perfectly with the current crop of managers.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:12 PM (#3676011)
And we have continually growing evidence that the BIS data is compromised - not just their hit location data, but their hit trajectory data (GB/LD/FB), their pitch type data, their pitch location data... the whole nine yards.
Could you offer citations? Initial google revealed nothing.

(To be clear, I'm not invested in defending BIS data or other such data. I'm not saying that UZR is right about Jeter - I'm just saying I don't know how GuyM can be so sure that assist totals are reliable data.)

(I guess I did say it was unlikely that BIS data was "massively compromised" - maybe I'm wrong about that. I'd certainly be interested to see the evidence.)
   78. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3676014)
MCOA: I'm not clear on what you're getting at in terms of assists. (FYI: I've quoted assist totals because they're easily available. But more precise measures of how many GBs Jeter has converted into outs show the same gap between Jeter and other SSs.) We know for sure how many outs Jeter has made over 16 years, facing hundreds of opposing hitters and behind dozens of different pitchers. The margin of error on that is zero. The only question is defining Jeter's fielding opportunities, definied as how many outs a typical SS would have made in Jeter's stead.

What's very weird about the discussions of Jeter's fielding, as Colin suggests, is that the estimates of Jeter's opportunities -- which potentially reflect all kinds of errors -- are taken by many to be "objective fact," while the actual number of outs he's made is treated as less important. And frankly, I find that the confidence expressed in UZR is often negatively correlated with posters' knowledge of these metrics and the underlying data.

Imagine that someone made this claim: "Adam Everett was nearly as good a hitter as Jeter. True, his offensive stats appear much weaker. But a careful analysis of pitchf/x data reveals that Everett faced much more difficult pitches than Jeter did over the course of his career. Adjusting for his hitting opportunities, Everett hit nearly as well." The proper response, of course, would be massive skepticism about this claim. And yet, it isn't that different from the claim being made for Jeter's fielding.
   79. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:23 PM (#3676026)
Well, here's everything I've written on the topic (plus an article from Mike Fast about BIS pitch types that came out today):

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12308

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12236

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12193

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11476

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10523

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/where-oh-where-has-that-grounder-gone/

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/when-is-a-fly-ball-a-line-drive/

Most of those should be free to nonsubscribers.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:29 PM (#3676034)
GuyM -

I'm just using errors as a shorthand for traditional defensive stats, as you were. You're confident that traditional measures of defense measure real defensive value to within a range of 20 runs per season, or something along those lines. I am unconvinced that's the case.

Again, you're presuming a degree of analogy between defensive and offensive stats, such that it's reasonable to compare Jeter's offensive value (which we can measure very well with a good degree of confidence) to his defensive value as measured by traditional defensive stats. I don't know whether such a degree of analogy exists. Given the kinds of numbers we're talking about, it might be analogous to say that even though Garret Anderson had more hits than Manny Ramirez in 1999, Manny Ramirez was a more valuable offensive player because his hits were more valuable. Or maybe the proper analogy falls in between. (Maybe the analogy doesn't work at all, because we know that offensive players have similar opportunities to hit, while we don't know to what degree opportunities might be skewed toward or against defensive players.)

I don't know. I'm trying to get a handle on what you know that makes you confident that a player's defensive value must be within a certain range of his defensive value as measured by traditional defensive stats.

EDIT: also, thanks, Colin.
   81. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:43 PM (#3676047)
For a shortstop, his assist totals are (if you have NOTHING else) a reasonable proxy for his plays made on grounders. Of course, we don't have nothing else. I've done similar analysis to what Guy has done, except I've counted actual plays made using the PBP data from Retrosheet, and it doesn't change the underlying point any. Derek Jeter makes fewer plays than other shortstops, even if you control for the GB tendencies of his pitching staffs and the handedness of the batters involved. There are two explanations:

1) Derek Jeter is somehow a magical pixie who repels ground balls, or

2) He's not very good at fielding ground balls, relative to other shortstops.
   82. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3676051)
To rephrase,

1) Derek Jeter has had many fewer opportunities to field ground balls than a normal shortstop, or
2) Derek Jeter is not very good at fielding ground balls, relative to other shortstops

You, like GuyM, seem very confident that positioning and ball distribution can only have a certain proscribed level of effect on plays made by a defensive player. I'm asking for the evidence for that claim.

Also, thanks for those links, and for your work. I'm basically convinced that the pbp data we have is not good enough to make particularly confident claims with.
   83. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:50 PM (#3676052)
MCOA: One reason we may be talking past each other a bit is the distinction between seasonal stats and career stats. I'm not making any claim about how accurately one can measure defensive performance from raw stats at the season level. But with Jeter we have 16 years of data and over 60,000 BIP. For someone like that, I think there is a practical limit in terms of how unusual their distribution of opportunities can be. And if his adjoining fielders don't have an unusual distribution, that further reduces the likelihood -- by far the most plausible reason to have few opportunities is because you play behind high-K and/or flyball pitchers, and that will also impact other infielders.

But, even over many seasons, a fielder CAN face an unusual distribution of BIP -- not everything evens out. Furcal, for example, looks like a defensive superstar based only on plays made, but it turns out the pitchers he has played behind allow a lot more GB toward SS than the average pitcher -- so Furcal is good, but not great. The problem for Jeter is that even after you account for his pitchers' tendencies, and opposing hitters -- which is what WOWY does -- Jeter is still something like -24 runs/season.

I think looking at Jeter's defensive stats is instructive. Over his career, NYY pitchers have allowed GBs on 31% of PAs, exactly league average. They have faced 58% RHB, exactly league average. But Jeter has fielded just 3.2 balls per game while the average SS has fielded 3.6. Jeter does a good job once he reaches a ball, converting 91% into outs vs. league average of 90%. Jeter has good hands, but every 5 games Jeter reaches 2 balls fewer than average. It's hard to make that go away.
   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:51 PM (#3676053)
Everyone (and most defensive systems) seems to agree that Jeter's defense at its worst has been horrible, that he's probably been easily the worst defensive SS in the game for long stretches of his career. Observation will tell you that he's traditionally had problems going to his left, and that his technique on plays in the hole (jump and throw) has been bad.

Guy seems to be going far, far beyond that. Is Guy's position reasonable, though? Does it pass the smell test? Watching players is a terrible way to evaluate defense, but I have to believe that at the extreme edges scouting and observation would have to detect a comically, cartoonishly bad defensive player. And as long as Jeter is making plays and isn't going all Brooks Conrad, it's hard for me to believe he could be THAT bad, especially in the face of some reasonable defensive systems that say otherwise.
   85. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3676055)
MCOA: One reason we may be talking past each other a bit is the distinction between seasonal stats and career stats. I'm not making any claim about how accurately one can measure defensive performance from raw stats at the season level. But with Jeter we have 16 years of data and over 60,000 BIP. For someone like that, I think there is a practical limit in terms of how unusual their distribution of opportunities can be.
I don't feel like we're talking past each other, though if you feel I'm misrepresenting your arguments, obviously, let me know.

As I'm reading things, I'm pretty sure our entire disagreement boils down to the italicized sentence. I don't know if there's a practical limit, or what that limit is.
   86. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:55 PM (#3676056)
When it comes to positioning, I simply don't care. If a guy continually makes fewer plays than other players because he's badly positioned, those are still plays not being made. (If you're talking about situational positioning - DP situations, holding runners, etc. - that's different, and ALSO something I've looked at.)

As for the batted ball distribution - where is the evidence for the other position, that such a radical distribution of batted balls is sustainable for 16 seasons?
   87. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3676057)
You, like GuyM, seem very confident that positioning and ball distribution can only have a certain proscribed level of effect on plays made by a defensive player

MCOA: I don't understand why you feel positioning is relevant. Whether Jeter fails to make plays because he starts in the wrong place, or fails to move quickly/correctly, may be an interesting question if you're a coach trying to improve his performance. But the result is the same in terms of evaluating his fielding, right?
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:02 PM (#3676059)
CW and GuyM -

Positioning could have relevant effects if other fielders are making plays on balls that would be fielded by a shortstop in a more typical defensive arrangement. (IIRC, Mike Emeigh has suggested that Jeter's fielding statistics may be skewed by this kind of effect.)

EDIT: took out argument about positioning and value that I realized I didn't find convincing.
   89. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3676066)
As for the batted ball distribution - where is the evidence for the other position, that such a radical distribution of batted balls is sustainable for 16 seasons?
I'm arguing for uncertainty. I don't know which is more likely, or to what degree. GuyM and yourself believe, as I read you, that we have good reason to presume a limit to the skew in ball distribution, over a certain length of time, and to presume a limit to the possible effects of positioning. I'm asking why that is - obviously you guys know more than me, and I'm open to learning, but I'm unclear on what sort of evidence could possibly even exist to study this question. (Obviously good pbp data would be precisely the evidence we'd want, but apparently we don't have good pbp data.)
   90. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:07 PM (#3676068)
Maybe they could bring in some 90s tech and superimpose a grid on the video.


I'd love to see this. Figure out where a ball travels and at what speed (maybe microchips in the ball?) and overlay that onto the field. Then assign typical 'out'-zones for each position (and the zones may overlap) based on ball speed and location. Now you've got something to base UZR off of. This could also help with error determination - no more of the ball drops into an open space which everyone knows should have been caught but 3 players were all scared off at the last instant crap. I don't know if UZR does it (or any other system for that matter - I've never looked into their methodology), but this would differentiate two components of defense, range and play-making.

I would love to see this applied to someone at the outer edges of ability - take Beltre at 3rd. He appeared to get to a lot of out of range balls, but wasn't necessarily able convert on a lot of those chances, which led to errors that I don't agree with, a less mobile 3rd basemen might not have gotten close enough to touch the ball so no error. Maybe the data would show that Beltre at the very least prevented runner advancement, or maybe he cut in front of SS too often and prevented a typical SS from making a routine play
   91. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3676076)
Everyone (and most defensive systems) seems to agree that Jeter's defense at its worst has been horrible, that he's probably been easily the worst defensive SS in the game for long stretches of his career....Guy seems to be going far, far beyond that. Is Guy's position reasonable, though?

I don't think that states the disagreement quite right. Over his career, Total Zone has Jeter at -7 runs/season. UZR (2002-2010) has him at -5. To me, that doesn't seem consistent with an assessment of being clearly the worst fielding SS in history. So first, I think the advanced metrics are rating him better than the consensus you describe.

My view is that Jeter is closer to -25 runs/season, but I could certainly be talked into -20. That may seem radical, but I submit there's no way in the world you could tell the difference by observation. The difference we're talking about is Jeter failing to reach one more ball for every 6 games he plays. There's no way you could just "know" that by watching a lot of Yankee games.

Look at it this way: the Gold Glove voters have repeatedly called Jeter the best fielding SS in the AL, while you believe he's the worst fielder in the game. That's a MUCH bigger gap than the one between my position and yours. Doesn't that prove that observation alone can't answer this question?
   92. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:15 PM (#3676078)
Here's what it comes down to, for me, MCoA.

Look at the 1996 Yankees:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1996.shtml

Then look at the 2010 Yankees:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/2010.shtml

You have a different park, mostly different pitchers (only Pettitte and Rivera stick around), the catcher is now the manager... the only thing truly constant about Derek Jeter's career at shortstop is that Derek Jeter is at shortstop. Which is why I want to know why so many people think it's outlandish that the actual facts under discussion (Jeter's plays made) could be due primarily to Jeter's ability to play shortstop.
   93. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3676085)
I don't think it's outlandish. I just think it's not outlandish that it might be a function of positioning and ball distribution. I don't know:

(a) how quickly we should expect ball distribution randomness effects to wash out of the data
(b) whether a team might have a persistent skew in ball distribution for non-random reasons (some sort of "Yankee way" of pitching), and
(b1) how large such a skew might be
(c) whether a team might maintain an atypical defensive arrangement leading to an atypical arrangement of plays made, and
(c1) how large the effects of that arrangement might be

EDIT: GuyM has suggested the effects of ball distribution, even over a long career, might account for up to five runs per year. I'm wondering why five, why not two or ten or twenty? It seems to me that no one knows with any particular degree of confidence.

EDIT2: I guess I think it's a little outlandish. I have a pretty strong presumption that professional baseball people are not wildly incompetent, and it's hard for me to believe that everyone has been this wrong about Jeter's defense. It could happen, so I guess it's not outlandish, but I think it's really unlikely. Obviously this is nothing but a presumption of mine, and I don't ask you to agree, but I'm more confident going with the "not incompetent" presumption over the "there's a limit to the effects of ball distribution and positioning" presumption.
   94. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:26 PM (#3676090)
MCOA: Two things to consider on the limits of odd distributions of BIP. One, Tango has looked at this in terms of the pitchers Jeter has played behind, which is far-and-away the biggest factor that could result in a weird distribution. Even after accounting for these pitchers' tendencies -- which, as I said above, CAN produce odd distributions in rate cases -- Jeter is -24 runs/season. Second, consider NYY 2B and 3B. If Yankee pitchers were allowing a very weird distribution, should we see signs of it on either side of Jeter?

The positioning thing I just don't get. The positioning of infielders has evolved over years to very efficiently maximize the proportion of balls fielded (taking into account risk of XBH down the line). The idea that the Yankees have discovered a new positioning arrangement that results in more outs being made even though their SS makes dozens of fewer plays -- well, it's just fantastically improbable.
   95. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3676094)
As for (b), Tom Tango does his WOWY analysis, where he compares Jeter to the Yankees backup shortstops, and comes to similar conclusions as Guy has. They're fielding behind the same set of pitchers as Jeter, so any "Yankee way" of pitching would be controlled for.

As for (a)... Jeter has been on the field for over 57,000 BIP in his career. It doesn't have to be something that happens quickly, just something that happens at all, for us to have high confidence that it's happened for Jeter.
   96. GuyM Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3676112)
GuyM has suggested the effects of ball distribution, even over a long career, might account for up to five runs per year. I'm wondering why five, why not two or ten or twenty?

No, I said Jeter was -40 runs based on his raw stats, and said that perhaps half of that might result from an unusual distribution of opportunities. So I was making allowance for an extremely unusual ball distribution -- but that would still leave Jeter much worse than the advanced metrics suggest.
   97. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:51 PM (#3676116)
I have a pretty strong presumption that professional baseball people are not wildly incompetent, and it's hard for me to believe that everyone has been this wrong about Jeter's defense. It could happen, so I guess it's not outlandish, but I think it's really unlikely.


But who do you mean by 'everyone'? Jeter's bat makes up for his defensive miscues, so the Yankees were never going to bench him (rightly so). Opposing managers and front office personnel are not in the habit of discussing the lack of quality defense from players on other teams. Gold Glove awards have proven to be a ####### joke at times and be a bit sticky when a player has already won multiple times. Additionally, the numbers indicate Jeter converts well on balls he does get to, which limit obvious errors for the media to write about. So, who exactly has been so wrong about Jeter?
   98. Accent Shallow Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3676119)
That may seem radical, but I submit there's no way in the world you could tell the difference by observation. The difference we're talking about is Jeter failing to reach one more ball for every 6 games he plays. There's no way you could just "know" that by watching a lot of Yankee games.

I disagree.

We've had scores of young players who were drafted as SS, came up through the minors as SS, and once in the majors, were shifted to 2B or 3B, because they couldn't hack it at short. Since plenty of these players turned out to be good glove men, wouldn't it follow logically that they were shifted due to lack of range? If this is the case, how much worse would these guys be than Jeter? 5 runs? 10? 25?
   99. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3676122)
Swinging back around to positioning - the data providers aren't recording starting position. If you assume that starting positioning doesn't influence where the scorers mark the location of a batted ball (I mean, I don't, but if you want to make the case for Jeter's UZR or what have you measuring what it claims to, you're implicitly making that assumption), Jeter's positioning wouldn't have any effect on his observed fielding value. Which is to say - Jeter's UZR should be the same if his low number of plays made is due to poor range or poor positioning. It's simply outs made minus expected outs, where expected outs are derived from the estimated batted ball distribution.

So what it comes down to is, what is Jeter's batted ball distribution? If we look at pitchers, opposing hitters and parks, we see no evidence that suggests Jeter should have seen an abnormal distribution of batted balls. What other factors can we conceive of that would have an impact on it?
   100. DCW3 Posted: October 26, 2010 at 04:59 PM (#3676130)
As long as ARod can still handle the field, they should play him there. Otherwise they're saddled with a $25 million DH for several years.

Is that worse than a $25 million 3B who plays 120 games a year? I think the real issue is his health, not his fielding.
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