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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Why Manny Ramirez says Derek Jeter would have been ‘just a regular player’ in Kansas City

Ramirez was discussing the pressure that comes with playing in a city like Boston or New York. The way Ramirez sees it, you’re not playing on a big stage unless you’re in Boston or New York. If you’re somewhere else, people won’t care as much.

“You gotta understand this. If you haven’t played in Boston or New York, you’re not in the big leagues,” Ramirez said. “It’s like if you put Jeter in Kansas City in those years, he was just a regular player.

But in New York? Jeter was a legend because he consistently stepped up on baseball’s biggest stage with the Yankees in the postseason.

“You put him on that big stage, you hit .400 in the postseason for many, many years, he’s the greatest in the history,” Millar said.

“He’s the greatest,” Ramirez said in agreement.

Eckersley noted that Boston is a “tough place to play,” a statement that Ramirez agreed with. However, Ramirez noted that playing in front of the passionate fans in Boston is what made him step up his game to the next level.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 21, 2022 at 03:41 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: derek jeter, manny ramirez, yankees

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   1. JRVJ Posted: June 21, 2022 at 03:54 PM (#6083113)
Jeter was very, very, very lucky to come on the scene right as the Yankees would become insanely good (which they hadn't beeen in almost 15 years).

And he was lucky that the Red Sox would eventually become magnificent foils.


I don't think any of that's controversial.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 21, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6083124)
I think the quote in the headline is very much out of context. He means that Jeter would have been treated as more of a "regular player" in KC, and he would not have had the opportunities to shine on the biggest stages (playoffs, New York, etc.) in most other markets in late 1990s through the mid-2010s.

Edgar Martinex made the Hall of Fame, so he clearly got a lot of respect - but if he had played his career with the Yankees, he would have been a much, much more famous player, and he would have almost certainly created many more "clutch playoff moments" because he would have simply been in so many more playoff games. Look, I love David Ortiz, but one of the main reasons Ortiz got into the HOF in year one, while Edgar had to grind it out, was because of the playoff opportunities (and Ortiz's performance in those expanded opportunities).

Here's the top 10 players in history by playoff plate appearances:

1. Jeter 734
2. Bernie Williams 545
3. Manny Ramirez 493
4. Posada 492
5. Justice 471
6. Lofton 438
7. Chipper Jones 417
8. Tino Martinez 405
9. Yadier Molina 398
10. David Ortiz 369

The difference between Jeter and #2 is bigger than the difference between #2 and #10! Manny is not a dumb guy, and although he probably doesn't know these numbers, he is saying in a casual way what these numbers are saying: That nobody is history has remotely had the kind of playoff exposure - by a mile - that Derek Jeter did.

If you look at Jeter's regular-season stats during the seasons where he made the playoffs (1996-2012) and compare them to his playoff stats, they are extremely similar. Now, the competition is better in the playoffs, so similar performance is impressive. But basically this is an excellent baseball player continuing to be similarly excellent in the playoffs.
   3. salvomania Posted: June 21, 2022 at 04:42 PM (#6083126)
Ramirez noted that playing in front of the passionate fans in Boston is what made him step up his game to the next level.

Manny's top bWAR, and four of his top 7 seasons in bWAR, came with Cleveland, before he was a Red Sock.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 21, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6083133)
However, Ramirez noted that playing in front of the passionate fans in Boston is what made him step up his game to the next level.
Really? Nothing else comes to mind there, Manny? Nothing that might have, you know, enhanced your performance?
   5. Jay Seaver Posted: June 21, 2022 at 05:08 PM (#6083137)
It's absurdly uncontroversial, or should be - Manny was saying that Jeter rose to the challenge of playing on the big stage, not that he was ordinary and wouldn't have been noticed elsewhere. It's maybe not totally true, but it was clearly a compliment, not a denigration.

Also, this was mostly a conversation between Kevin Millar and Manny Ramirez, who aren't exactly what you call great, thoughtful communicators.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 21, 2022 at 06:12 PM (#6083151)
Now, the competition is better in the playoffs, so similar performance is impressive.
In the playoffs, you’re not only facing the best teams, but mostly their best pitchers - the top 3 starters & top half of the bullpen (plus the 4th & 5th starters in bullpen roles) handle a disproportionate share of the playoff workload compared to the regular season. Carrying over an All-Star caliber performance from the regular season to the playoffs over an entire career is a huge accomplishment. Look at all the great players who couldn’t do it.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: June 21, 2022 at 06:54 PM (#6083153)
Of course playoff performance went from

Facing an opponent for the first time in one 7-game series to ...

Facing one opponent you played a dozen times or so in a 5-game series, probably the 2nd best team in the league (unless you are) then an opponent you'd not faced to ...

Facing a couple of opponents you'd played against a good bit with sometimes at least one of them barely over 599 then an opponent you may or may not have seen a few times in the regular season.

Jeter was a mix. He was much better than his reg season numbers in the ALDS against weaker playoff competition (but still better than average teams), was substantially worse in the ALCS and then about his career average in the WS (in a period when the NL was generally the slightly inferior league but that's probably not a big deal).

You are facing their best pitchers but you're facing them as they try to push themselves 1-5 starts farther than they normally would, maybe starting on 3 days rest or relievers appearing in their 3rd game in 4 days or being asked to go longer than they are used to. Has anybody checked -- over the last 20-25 years, how does playoff scoring compare to regular season? Are there more or fewer lopsided series?

For the Yanks, I wonder how often it was their pitchers who turned up big, not the hitters. Mo's numbers are legendary of course. I peaked at the 99 playoffs (sorta random choice). They gave up just 31 runs in 12 games and nearly half of those were a 13-1 blowout by the Red Sox. The offense was basically its usual self, half-a-run or more below their regular season average. That's just one series but it made me curious.
   8. Mefisto Posted: June 21, 2022 at 07:32 PM (#6083156)
I peaked at the 99 playoffs


I thought so at the time, but you've had some good moments since.
   9. The Mighty Quintana Posted: June 21, 2022 at 07:44 PM (#6083158)
Well, Johnny Damon is proof of this statement...he was a better player in KC, but until he came to Boston, he was not a household name.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: June 21, 2022 at 07:46 PM (#6083159)
Playoff vs reg season numbers by OPS ... not corrected for which seasons

1. Jeter 734 -- about the same
2. Bernie Williams 545 -- about the same
3. Manny Ramirez 493 -- 60 points below
4. Posada 492 -- 100 points below
5. Justice 471 -- 160 points below
6. Lofton 438 -- 130 points below
7. Chipper Jones 417 -- 70 points below
8. Tino Martinez 405 -- 140 points below
9. Yadier Molina 398 -- 40 points below
10. David Ortiz 369 -- about the same

So 3 of 10 pulled it off so it's not THAT hard. The average here is about 70 points with a range of 0 to 160 and pretty symmetric (3 really good ones, 3 really bad ones). None of the samples here are very large. Obviously 10 players is a tiny sample but this is perfectly consistent with "batters are on average about 9-10% worse in the postseason, some get lucky, some get unlucky." These 10 batters are just about the only ones in history whose postseason performance has had any real opportunity to regress towards the "true" mean. Even the sum of these PAs is around 4700-4800, about half a HoF-length career.

It's not clear that Jeter putting up an OPS 70 points better than we'd expect in 734 PA is any less flukish than when he put up a 989 OPS (153 OPS+) in 739 PA in 1999. He tore it up that postseason too.

For the rest of players, obviously they're nearly all below 350 postseason PAs. They'll almost all be modern players too -- expanded playoffs mean more postseason games each year plus consistently good (esp good and wealthy) teams have more chances to make the playoffs each year. I won't be surprised if their averaged reg-post differences were around 70 too. But of course maybe not -- teams with good, clutchy players may be more likely to make the playoffs. But statements like "look how many top players couldn't do it" are sort of meaningless when most good players (Bonds 208 -- about 100 points below, Trout 15, Banks 0). Heck Ripken had about 13,000 regular season PAs and just 124 post-season -- +80 by the way. Rose nearly 16,000 regular, played on the BRM, got to 301 PA -- +44 with 1/3 of those PAs coming age 39 or later.

We see some pretty ordinary hitters in that top 10. Seeing Rose I wondered about Concepcion -- 112 PA at 100 points or more above his regular OPS. Andruw got up to 279 postseason at about 25 points below his regular OPS. Lopes made it to 208 a mere 20 points below his regular. Bill Russell 209 PA at 34 points above. Back to the "non-ordinary", Nomar got to 127 PA at +90 (but Tejada and ARod sucked).

Now I know Lopes and even Russell and Concepcion aren't exactly "ordinary" players but to amass 100+ postseason PAs you have to hold a job for a long time which virtually guarantees you are an above-average player at least in your prime. But OK, the one you've been waiting for -- Luis Sojo maed it to 109 PAs -- I can't believe it -- mostly with the 95 Ms and the 00 Yanks at about -50 ... naturally he was around 0 in that 2000 season for the Yanks. Assuming most of his other PAs were pinch-hitting and such, being just -50 is pretty good.

Sure, give Nomar another 600 postseason PAs and he won't be +90 anymore ... but that's the point. He'll regress back towards the mean. Whether that mean is his career average or 70 points below or someplace else is the question. Then look at weighted distributions and see how likely it is for a player to maintain his average in however many PAs he got then report back whether we see more than we'd expect by randomness.
   11. Zach Posted: June 21, 2022 at 08:05 PM (#6083165)
I would have been happy to give him the chance!

Derek Jeter was so overexposed in his playing days that it's easy to forget how good he was. 3465 hits is well beyond HOF performance.

Also, put Jeter in KC in that era, and he probably ends up in New York a few years later anyway. On the rare occasion that the Royals developed a quality player in those years, they had no ability to pay him.
   12. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 21, 2022 at 08:47 PM (#6083170)
Manny's top bWAR, and four of his top 7 seasons in bWAR, came with Cleveland, before he was a Red Sock.


The Cleveland crowds were pretty good in the late 90s, too. 455 straight sellouts, made the playoffs almost every year, and two WS appearances.
   13. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 21, 2022 at 09:06 PM (#6083172)
“It’s like if you put Jeter in Kansas City in those years, he was just a regular player.

Or Cincinnati, who held the pick directly in front of NYY and selected ... Chad Mottola.

Just imagine Jeter's mediocrity if he was infected by slackers like Adam Dunn!
   14. Jaack Posted: June 21, 2022 at 11:18 PM (#6083194)
I would have been happy to give him the chance!

Derek Jeter was so overexposed in his playing days that it's easy to forget how good he was. 3465 hits is well beyond HOF performance.

Also, put Jeter in KC in that era, and he probably ends up in New York a few years later anyway. On the rare occasion that the Royals developed a quality player in those years, they had no ability to pay him.


You know, if you put Derek Jeter on the late 90s Royals, they've suddenly got an okay looking lineup when Beltran shows up. Damon/Beltran/Dye is a solid outfield, and the Royals actually did bring on a couple of okay vets in Joe Randa and Rey Sanchez to fill things out a bit.

The '99 Royals end up looking something like

C-Find something less bad than Chad Kreuter
1B-Mike Sweeney
2B-Derek Jeter (he's gritty and humble making a sacrifice for the blue collar Royals or something like that)
SS-Rey Sanchez
3B-Joe Randa
LF-Johnny Damon
CF-Carlos Beltran
RF-Jermaine Dye

Rotation isn't helpless either - flip some spare parts for Livan Hernandez like thet Giants ended up doing and you've got Livan/Jeff Suppan/Kevin Appier/Jose Rosado. Could be a lot worse. Carlos Febles probably could get you a closer or a better catcher or something. I still don't think it's a playoff team, but that's like an 86 win team or something.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: June 22, 2022 at 12:12 AM (#6083198)
2B-Derek Jeter (he's gritty and humble making a sacrifice for the blue collar Royals or something like that)


A-Rod enters the room
   16. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 22, 2022 at 02:10 AM (#6083208)
by BA / OBP / SLG, Jeter:

308 / 386 / 416 (minor leagues)
310 / 377 / 440 (regular season)
308 / 374 / 465 (playoffs)

obvs developed more pop - in four minor-league seasons he never hit more than 5 HR - but much the same his whole career.
   17. The Honorable Ardo Posted: June 22, 2022 at 02:20 AM (#6083210)
The $20,000 question is: "What would've happened had the Astros listened to Hal Newhouser and taken Jeter at 1-1 instead of Phil Nevin?"

Instead of running out Orlando Miller, Tim Bogar, Rickey Gutierrez, and Julio Lugo at shortstop, they could've had Jeter playing alongside peak Biggio and Bagwell. Recent baseball history would look much different.
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 22, 2022 at 01:39 PM (#6083265)
If you look at Jeter's regular-season stats during the seasons where he made the playoffs (1996-2012) and compare them to his playoff stats, they are extremely similar.


I once gave a problem on a statistics exam where I divided Jeter's plate appearances into the categories: single, extra base hit, walk/hbp, out. I gave them his postseason totals and his regular season rates for both and had them run a goodness of fit test. The conclusion was that there was no significant difference between Jeter's regular season and postseason rates.
   19. Srul Itza Posted: June 22, 2022 at 02:56 PM (#6083284)
Jeter was very, very, very lucky to come on the scene right as the Yankees would become insanely good (which they hadn't beeen in almost 15 years).


Jeter was only one player, of course, but maybe he had a little to do with the Yankees becoming good. As for "insanely" good, I am a Yankee fan, but I think that is a bit of an overbid. 1998 was an insanely good team, but the other years they were not quite that. And for a while they had a run in the post-season that was beyond what would be statistically predicted.

One other point -- In addition to his other assets is that fact that he was extremely durable. Baseball is already a long season, with lots of little dings and owies along the way. The fact that Jeter kept up his performance in the post-season is a tribute to that durability,
   20. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 22, 2022 at 03:11 PM (#6083287)
I mean, as long as we're playing Derek Jeter counterfactuals, what if the Indians had drafted him instead occasional relief ace Paul Shuey? In 96, as a rookie, he wasn't notably better than Vizquel. But after that he became a substantially better hitter, to the point where the defensive difference didn't come close to making up the gap. In 99, when the Indians were scoring 1000+ runs, Jeter was having his best season. That offense, already awesome, becomes ridiculous.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 22, 2022 at 03:27 PM (#6083291)
As for "insanely" good, I am a Yankee fan, but I think that is a bit of an overbid. 1998 was an insanely good team, but the other years they were not quite that.
That core group did win 3 straight World Series (1998-2000), and 4 in 5 years. In the Wildcard Era’s 3-tiered playoff system, no other team has won consecutive World Series. That would seem sufficient to put those Yankees teams in a class by themselves.
   22. Zach Posted: June 22, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6083315)
A-Rod enters the room

I just don't know how we're going to find playing time for A-Rod on the late '90s Royals!

Fine, fine, he can come.
   23. bjhanke Posted: June 23, 2022 at 01:57 AM (#6083383)
Jaack kind of got there first, but the most probable thing you can say about Jeter if he had been in KC is that he would not have spend his entire career at SS. The Royals didn't have the kind of team that could support that.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 23, 2022 at 09:17 AM (#6083394)
If you want to see players who really stepped up their game in the postseason, check out the regular season vs World Series ERAs for the Big Three, during the years of the Yankees' 1949-53 championship run. Individually they were all HOVG, but collectively they were the most accomplished postseason rotation in history:

Allie Reynolds: 3.22 / 2.45
Eddie Lopat: 2.97 / 2.60
Vic Raschi: 3.36 / 2.14


It wasn't that small a sample size, either, as all of them started either 1 or 2 games in all 5 of those Series, and Reynolds and Raschi also pitched multiple games in relief.



   25. Rally Posted: June 23, 2022 at 10:28 AM (#6083397)
Jeter was only one player, of course, but maybe he had a little to do with the Yankees becoming good.


He helped make that luck by being great himself. Those Yankees went from non-contenders to champions mostly because they were able to develop a few HOFers and HOVG at the same time. Jeter, Posada, Williams, Pettitte, Rivera. Hard to miss when you develop that much young talent in a short span. They made other good decisions, and money certainly helped, but the core was player development. And resisting any urge to trade some of these guys before they established themselves.

Jeter was lucky to be a part of that group though. Mike Trout knows all too well how hard it is to win on a team that doesn’t develop enough good players.
   26. Rally Posted: June 23, 2022 at 10:37 AM (#6083399)
Just a regular player in KC though? I’d assume Jeter still gets his 3000 hits. There’s been one player to do that entirely in a KC uniform and he seems to have been considered special.

If Jeter had come up with KC I’d assume he would not have stuck around, he would have been out the door like Damon and Beltran, and quite likely ended up a Yankee. If you assume he plays his whole career in KC, they were so bad that it seems unlikely that he would have ever made the playoffs, Royals made the WS in 2014, Jeter’s final year, but if he had been the SS instead of Alcides Escobar they probably fall short of the 2nd wild card. Escobar had the best season of his career, and Jeter was not good that year. Royals were 2 games ahead of the Mariners, and Escobar was 3.4 WAR ahead of Jeter.
   27. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 23, 2022 at 03:15 PM (#6083465)
There’s been one player to do that entirely in a KC uniform and he seems to have been considered special.
Although it was the Yankees that created his most special moment. :)
   28. Cris E Posted: June 24, 2022 at 11:50 AM (#6083703)
#24 Reynolds, Lopat and Raschi in the postseason

This goes back to something that Walt pointed out in #7: when they were pitching it was in an era without video scouting, and the Series used to be the first time a pitcher faced a hitter that year (barring trades.) Under those circumstances I wonder if an advantage went to the pitcher in early ABs and trended back toward the hitter until it reached some equilibrium point over time. In the post-season you may not have enough PAs to learn a pitcher's stuff so pitching might have an advantage. Later, when video scouting was more possible and inter-league play started the hitters were at less of a disadvantage in the beginning and the equilibrium is reached quicker. How might that be checked?
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 24, 2022 at 02:51 PM (#6083734)
Good question, Cris. I'd only add two points.

1. There was plenty of interleague play in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, well over 100 games in less than a month, so it's not as if every pitcher in the other league was a mystery. In 1954, the Giants' "upset" of the Indians had been foreshadowed in the Cactus league, where the Giants beat the Indians in 11 of 15 games.

2. And while there wasn't the sort of video scouting we have today, teams that were in contention late in the year would always send out teams of scouts to observe all the strengths and weaknesses of any potential rival.

Another countering factor to the pitchers' advantage prior to 1957 was the lack of travel days between games, with most Series being played within one time zone and no days off. This put a premium on the depth of a starting rotation, and starters not only had to go on three days rest (and sometimes only two), but they were also sometimes called in for relief duty in addition to those starts.

Today I wonder how much of the improved offense in "the third time through the order" is due to pitcher fatigue, and how much is simply due to the batters' having seen the pitcher's entire repertory already. This is one reason why leadoff batters in the first inning who can stretch a pitcher with multiple foul balls are thought to provide a great service to their teammates even if they wind up making an out
   30. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: June 24, 2022 at 03:35 PM (#6083738)
What's the gift basket scene like in KC?

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