Captain Clutch?

“Clutch” as used on FanGraphs is defined as the following:

Clutch – How much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.

Does anyone have a problem with that as a non-mathematical definition for what people mean at the highest level when they talk about being clutch? Generally, they actually mean “players that do well,” but generally those are good players. Good players doing well are not “clutch,” they are just good. To truly measure the ideal of “clutch” you would have to compare the person’s performance against what you would expect normally. That’s what gets done here.

With that in mind, check this out.

Alex Rodriguez, postseason clutch score 2002-present: 0.73
Derek Jeter, postseason clutch score 2002-present: -0.80

I only included 2002-present because that is what FanGraphs currently has and I don’t have historical postseason WPA. That being said, here’s some numbers covering the years not mentioned above.

Derek Jeter postseason batting line 1995-2001: .304/.377/.448/.825
Derek Jeter regular season batting line 1995-2001: .321/.393/.471/.864

Alex Rodriguez postseason batting line 1994-2001: .340/.375/.566/.941
Alex Rodriguez regular season batting line 1994-2001: .311/.378/.571/.949

That A-Rod, boy he sucks in the postseason. If only he were more like The Captain.




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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

123 Responses to “Captain Clutch?”

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  1. Rob in CT says:

    Easy pickings, of course.

    I think Jeter is actually worthy of some praise, because in a ton of plate appearances (basically a full season’s worth), his playoff numbers are basically dead even (actually a little better than) with his regular season career stats (hell, take out the little-boy-aided-HR and it’s probably dead even). The playoffs feature better competition, therefore that’s pretty good. But it’s not OMG CLUTCH!! either. He’s had a number of awful series, just like ARod. But this was never about informed commentary. It was about a relatively unlikeable player with a massive contract being a magnet for negative attention.

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    • Rob in CT says:

      I should add that I think this really started with the “slap” play. Jeter had gotten on base (single or a walk, IIRC). The Yanks were down by 2, and staring down a game 7 in which they would start Kevin Brown, having blown a 3-0 series lead. It was a huge spot. We all know what happened. It was very disappointing, and furthermore it was very awkward. I think the ridiculous blame ARod stuff stems from that moment.

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    • B says:

      I do agree that Jeter should get credit for putting up even numbers in the postseason and regular season – like you said, the competition is clearly better in the playoffs. And I’m not much of a fan of Jeter for all the overly ridiculous praise he gets from Yankees fans…

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  2. Richie Abernathy says:

    Tell me something I don’t know.

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  3. Logan says:

    Continues to beat dead equine figure. Seriously, how many articles do we need showing this?

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    • Teej says:

      A-Rod went 2-for-15 in the 2005 ALDS against the Angels, so people are bringing it up again because of this series (ignoring the fact that had an OBP of .435 in that series). I’ve seen several articles just today on Alex’s supposed postseason failures.

      I say keep it up until people stop ignoring facts.

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      • Logan says:

        This is fangraphs. He’s preaching to the choir. Not to mention, we’ve already had an article entitled “The Unclutch” and one called “Alex Rodriguez and the Predictability of October”, both discussing the same thing.

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    • Lance says:

      As many as there have been trashing A-Rod and worshiping Jeter for their respective postseason performances.

      In other words, this should take a while.

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  4. Walt says:

    Who is Derek Jeter? Is he going to be good like A-Rod? He’s awesome.

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  5. Sej says:

    One thing not covered by Leverage is how important the game is to the series/season as a whole. An example is 2005 game 5 in the ALDS against the Angels. Down two, Jeter gets on to lead off and Alex hits into a double play to suck the spirit out of every Yankees fan everywhere. While that play wasn’t at absurd leverage (3.32) it did send the Yankees from about 1/6 percent chance of staying alive to 1/100. Plays like that are seen as big to Clutch but are insanely important to fan perception.

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    • B says:

      But who gives a shit about fan perception. Does fan perception actually matter to winning games? I would argue the only time anyone would even look at detail at the situation in the way you’ve described is when they’re ready to cherry pick a single situation that fits their beliefs…

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        His point about series leverage is valid.

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      • Lance says:

        I tend to agree. Isn’t fan bias half the point of sabermetrics in the first place?

        For example, while I agree about the importance of a particular event to a series and I actually thought myself that this could be incorporated somehow (even though the sample size of series seems like it would be extremely small), that wasn’t an especially great example. In Game 5 of an LDS, the leverage for the whole series should equal the leverage for the game. Fan bias is what makes it seem like the chances dropped from 1/6 to 1/100. That’s why we have WPA.

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      • “I tend to agree. Isn’t fan bias half the point of sabermetrics in the first place?”

        No. The point of statistical analysis is to remove the bias. This isn’t to say that some people don’t use sabermetrics to confirm their biases or abuse the statistics to their own ends, but I don’t see how fan bias is half a point of anything but fan bias.

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  6. Bill says:

    The whole “flip play” helped the Jeter perception a lot, and has nothing to do with hitting.

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    • Dwight says:

      The flip play is crap. Take a look at the play from the wide angle, if Jeter was not there the ball bounces right to Posada, and Giambi is still out because he did not slide. That was not a great play by Jeter, he was out of position as he should have been backing up another IF instead of running all over the field. And the dive into the stands was crap too, if he wasn’t so slow to get there he could have simply reached into the stands instead of a full sprint dive. Juan Uribe’s dive into the stands that year was 10 times the catch but he doesn’t get any credit.

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      • BosoxBob says:

        I hate Jeter as much as the next Red Sox fan, but you’re wrong about the flip. I just watched the play again at MLB.com. Whether the ball was on line or not is debatable. But the throw had already bounced twice between first base and the point where Jeter fielded it. It’s doubtful the ball would have reached Posada in time, or even reached home plate at all after bouncing several more times.

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  7. Zeke says:

    OMG!!! THE CAPTAIN!!!

    Nah seriously though, great article Matthew… Showing what we all knew… Jeter is good and really overrated.

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  8. Check out Reggie Jackson’s post season numbers. ARod’s rate stats are all better

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  9. Choo says:

    Rats. Just as I was about to order my Derek Jeter half dollar to commemorate his surpassing of Al Oliver on the all-time hit list, Carruth deflates my heart with his fancy numbers. I mean, who can resist purchasing $.50 and a picture of Jeter for $9.95 plus S & H?

    Wait. What’s that you say? If I order now I can get a Mark Teixeira quarter . . . absolutely free? Oh hell yeah!

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  10. Alireza says:

    And neither of them touches Andre Ethier.

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  11. gsquared says:

    IT DONT MEAN A THING WITHOUT THE RING!!!111!1

    CLUTCH SCORE: JETER 4 A-CHOKE 0

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    • gsquared says:

      Huh. I thought that 1′s interspersed with exclamation points were a universal symbol of internet sarcasm. Sorry, guys.

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  12. Captain Obvious says:

    What a waste of internet space. You’d think that someone who tries to throw their weight around as a “(self)respected” baseball blogger would have a bit more genius than this.

    Fangraphs should rip this and every other self-loving Matthew article off this site. This guy continues to post nothing but crap here.

    Bring on the true baseball analysts, please.

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  13. Kincaid says:

    “Does anyone have a problem with that as a non-mathematical definition for what people mean at the highest level when they talk about being clutch?”

    In this case, yes. A player’s context neutral playoff production is a poor way to determine what you would expect normally. If someone is a superstar but hits like a league average hitter in the playoffs, his postseason Clutch rating will just look at what he does in high leverage situations as if he should be hitting at a league average level. He would be performing way below what you’d expected normally, but Clutch wouldn’t tell you anything about that. It might well say he was clutch just because it thought he wasn’t any good to begin with.

    If you hit significantly worse in the postseason, but hit a bit less worse in high leverage situations in the postseason, no one would consider that a clutch performance. If you hit significantly better in the postseason, but hit not quite as much better in high leverage situations in the postseasons, no one would consider that an unclutch performance. You might as well just look at overall postseason numbers, or, if you want to include leverage index, WPA per PA, and compare those to regular season figures.

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    • Kincaid says:

      I guess that’s not really an issue with the non-mathematical definition, just with how Clutch determines what the expected context-neutral level should be for a hitter. I’m fine with the non-mathematical wording in the definition.

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    • Adam says:

      This was my first question upon reading the post as well. Can anybody respond to this? I can’t believe I had to wade through 100+ comments on the idiotic Jeter/ARod debate to try to find an answer.

      I am very much against most of the ARod hate, and I like the conclusions in this post, but the methodology seems incorrect, as pointed out by Kincaid.

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  14. djp says:

    I think Jeter is the closest thing we have to Wilt Chamberlain in terms of clutch in the sack.

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  15. dante23 says:

    Okay, it’s meaningless because you’re taking away a pretty significant chunk of time that includes 4 World Championships and 5 American League Pennants and some great postseason performances by Jeter which includes a World Series MVP. Also, I don’t want to ruin it for you, but Arod was horrible for the Yankees before this postseason. You can use numbers any way you want. Doesn’t mean that they mean a damn thing. Jeter has been a great postseason performer. Arod, before this season, not so much. Not for the Yankees at least.

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  16. dante23 says:

    How bout some equal time for the truth?

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/baseball/mlb/specials/all_star/2004/07/07/jeter.clutch/index.html

    Mr. Clutch
    Nobody performs under pressure like The Captain — Derek Jeter

    Some baseball fans say there is no such thing as a clutch hitter. Have they ever seen Derek Jeter play? The Yankees shortstop once put together a 14-game World Series hitting streak and owns the record for most postseason hits with 123. In honor of Jeter’s first election as an All-Star starter at shortstop, SI.com has compiled a list of the top 10 clutch moments in his career. Read our list then see what you had to say.

    No. 10: Hot in Atlanta

    AP
    Date, site: July 11, 2000
    Site: Turner Field, Atlanta

    Setting: All-Star Game

    The Play: Starting in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez, Jeter doubled in the first inning to give the American League its first extra-base hit in two years. Jeter’s two-run single in the fourth inning provided the winning run for the AL’s 6-3 victory and garnered him the first All-Star Game MVP award in Yankees’ history. Said Jeter: “Look at all the Yankee greats over the years. You figure at least one of them would win one.”

    No. 9: Live from New York!
    Date: Dec. 1, 2001
    Site: NBC Studios, New York

    Setting: Saturday Night Live host

    The Play: As a ballplayer, Jeter is used to being on live television. But that’s just it — as a ballplayer. Jeter had to delve deep into his powers of clutchness to pull off a spotless appearance as host of Saturday Night Live, replete with opening monologue. The highlight was the skit “Baseball Wives,” in which David Cone and David Wells (who played a pair of groupies) joined Jeter (as Candy Soriano) in full drag. Here’s the best part, with Jeter making the punchline look as easy as a 6-3 putout:

    Candy Soriano: God, I know I shouldn’t say this, but I think Tino Martinez is super-foxy, girl!
    Patrice Williams: I don’t know … his wife tells me there’s not much to work with.
    Shanice Clemens: Y’all, Tino is teeny!
    Candy Soriano: I don’t believe that, ’cause I’ve studied that bulge!
    Patrice Williams: You know, Jeter is the cute one, Jeter is where it’s at!
    [ they all agree, except for Candy ]
    Candy Soriano: Mmm… no… Jeter does not do it for me. He looks like the Rock had sex with a muppet.

    No. 8: Sinking the Mariners
    Date Oct. 14, 2000
    Site: Safeco Field, Seattle

    Situation: ALCS, Game 4; Yankees lead 2-1

    The Play: Roger Clemens got the headlines for his 15-strikeout, one-hit shutout of the Mariners, and deservedly so. But it was Jeter who broke a scoreless tie with a fifth-inning, three-run home run off Paul Abbott with Scott Brosius and Chuck Knoblauch aboard. Three days later in the Bronx, the Yankees were headed for the Subway Series after clinching their fourth AL pennant in five years.

    No. 7: Chasing Beckett

    AP
    Date: Oct. 21, 2003
    Site: Pro Player Stadium, Miami

    Situation: World Series, Game 3; series tied 1-1

    The Play: To most of the Yankees on this night, Josh Beckett was unhittable. Most, but not all. Jeter collected the Bombers’ only three hits off Beckett, who struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings. Jeter scored three runs in the 6-1 victory. Said Joe Torre: “It took me 30-something years to get to the World Series. [Jeter] thinks it’s an every-year occurrence. You look in his eyes, you see something special because he’s a leader. He was a leader when he was 20 years old.”

    No. 6: Bye-Bye, Birdies

    AP
    Date: Oct. 9, 1996
    Site: Yankee Stadium, Bronx

    Situation: ALCS, Game 1

    The Play: In perhaps the ultimate sign of clutchness, Jeter had the presence of mind to hit a fly ball right to where a 12-year-old kid’s interference would result in a botched-call home run. Seriously, though, did you remember it was Jeter who hit the ball that would land in Jeffrey Maier’s — and not O’s right fielder Tony Tarasco’s — hands? The bogus home run off Armando Benitez tied the game 4-4 in the eighth and the Yankees went on to win 5-4 in 11 innings.

    No. 5: The Dive, Part I

    AP
    Date: Oct. 15, 2001
    Site: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

    Situation: ALDS, Game 5; series tied 2-2

    The Play: The Yankees led the A’s 5-3 in the eighth with Mariano Rivera on the mound and one out. Eric Chavez was on first base. When Terrence Long popped up foul to the third-base side, Jeter sprinted toward the stands and dove, making a ridiculous catch while crashing into the stands. The series was as good as over. Said a sobbing George Steinbrenner: “I’ve never seen an athlete dominate any sport — in baseball, in basketball, in football — like he dominated this series.”

    No. 4: The Dive, Part II

    AP
    Date: July 1, 2004
    Site: Yankee Stadium, Bronx

    Situation: Yankees lead Red Sox by 7 1/2 games

    The Play: Regular-season games don’t get much more dramatic than this. In the top of the 12th with runners on second and third and two outs, Boston’s Trot Nixon sent a blooper over third base. Jeter sprinted over, caught the ball in fair territory for the third out, then went completely horizontal as his momentum sent him flying into the stands. New York went on to win 5-4 in 13 innings, but Jeter never saw the ending — he was in the hospital with a busted chin.

    No. 3: Subway Smash

    AP
    Date: Oct. 25, 2000
    Site: Shea Stadium, Queens, N.Y.

    Situation: World Series, Game 4; Yankees lead Mets 2-1

    The Play: In Game 3, the Mets had snapped the Yankees’ 14-game World Series winning streak, but Jeter took the momentum back for the Bombers by leading off Game 4 with a home run. The Yanks went on to win 3-2 and wrapped up the Series the next day. Jeter became the first player to win MVP honors in the World Series and All-Star Game in the same season. Only one other player — Hall of Famer Frank Robinson — had won both pieces of hardware in a career.

    No. 2: Mr. November

    AP
    Date: Oct. 31, 2001
    Site: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

    Situation: World Series, Game 4; Yankees trail D’backs 2-1

    The Play: Bad things happen when you leave your pitcher in too long against the Yanks. Byung-Hyun Kim had pitched the eighth inning, blown the save in the ninth on a two-out gopher ball to Tino Martinez, then was left in for the 10th. On Kim’s 62nd pitch, three minutes after midnight, Jeter sliced a pitch just over the 314-foot sign in right field to break a personal 1-for-10 slide. “I think I broke my foot hitting [home] plate,” Jeter said.

    No. 1: The Flip

    AP
    Date: Oct. 13, 2001
    Site: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

    Situation: ALDS, Game 3; Yankees trail A’s 2-0

    The Play: Slide, Jeremy, slide! Alas, Jeremy Giambi didn’t slide, allowing Jeter to kickstart another Yankees march to the World Series. With the Yankees up 1-0 in the seventh, Giambi reached base with a two-out single. Then Terrence Long doubled into the right-field corner, where Shane Spencer proceeded to overthrow the cutoff man. Suddenly, Jeter came into the picture and flipped the ball to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi. “What in the heck is Jeter doing running over there?” Oakland’s Johnny Damon wondered after the game.

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    • Kunkoh says:

      Did… did you just use hosting SNL as an example of “clutchness” in playing the game of baseball?

      I mean, I can kinda get why the old school faithful believe in the intangibles, team chemistry and outdated statistics verse the newer more objective ones; but Hosting SNL? Seriously?

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      • Kincaid says:

        Then there’s #2, “Mr. November”, exemplifying his clutch performance in a series where he went 4 for 27 with no walks, 6 strikeouts, and 1 extra base hit, just bad enough for his team to lose on a Game 7 walkoff hit.

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      • dante23 says:

        So, a game a game winning walkoff HR to win a World Series game isn’t a clutch moment? He’s also won a World Series MVP, by the way.

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      • Kincaid says:

        Sure, it counts. What about Tino’s 2-out 2-run HR to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th? Everyone who has played long enough has clutch moments. Having one clutch moment in a 7 game series does not mean you were especially clutch. Do all the other times when he repeatedly failed in that series not count as unclutch moments? Does it not matter that if he just played at his normal level, with no clutch or anything, just typical Derek Jeter, they probably win that Series, but that because he was awful, they lost?

        A lot of people have WS MVPs. David Eckstein, for example.

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  17. walkoffblast says:

    Wow. Only ten plays in 2265 games. He is less clutch than I thought.

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    • dante23 says:

      10 standout clutch plays. I don’t think Arod has one.

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    • dante23 says:

      And that’s just the top 10. There have been a lot more.

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      • MetsKnicksRutgers says:

        Did you really use the Jeffrey Maier HR as a reason for Jeter being clutch? I guess Russel Martin is superomgwtf clutch for hitting that DP ball to Feliz last night because his mystical aura blinded Chase Utley’s throw to Howard.

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  18. minesweeper says:

    huh, A-Rod doesn’t have one clutch play. I don’t know…I guess I’d have to look long and far for one… oh wait a minute he just hit a game-tying homer in the ninth against Joe Nathan like last week.

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  19. Joel says:

    dante23 is precisely the reason these articles keep being made, just to address the misgivings of some people here.

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  20. Dwight says:

    Jeter is by far the most annoying and overrated baseball player. Just a few reasons:

    1. The jump throw. Why not just stop, plant your feet, and still throw the guy out by 10 feet.
    2. Forced ARod to go to third, even though ARod was the defending MVP and the gold glove winner at SS that year.
    3. The play. Giambi slides and he’s safe.
    4. Jeffrey Maier. Jeter became “clutch” because of a terrible call from an ump.
    5. Grounds into DP. Double figure GDP every season of his career. Why do you think they bat him leadoff now.
    6. Man love from announcers. Jeter will reach first on an error, two batters later someone hits a 3 run HR, and Jeter gets credit for being the Catalyst.
    7. The look of disbelief he gives an umpire every time there is a called 3rd strike.
    8. He crowds the plate, then has this exaggerated dive out of the way everytime a ball is on the inside of the plate.
    9. He is ranked right up there with Washington and Churchill as far as great leaders go.
    10. Past a driving Jeter.

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    • Xavier Holland says:

      Jeter has always been my favorite player. I loved him as a kid, the same way you love your high school sweetheart, and then you marry her, and even though you know she’s not perfect, you can’t loose her now.

      And you know her flaws, like she can’t cook for power, or clean to her left, and sometimes you strike her with a spatula just because you’re tired of her bland bullshit. But you love her. You can’t leave. That being said, this list is stupid.

      1.) He’s not very good at planting that way, doesn’t get off very good throws.

      2.) A-Rod was better suited for third. A-Rod at third and Jeter at short was the better configuration than the opposite. He was also the incumbent. Can we move on?

      3.) Giambi didn’t slide, and that doesn’t negate a great play.

      4.) Perhaps. Bad calls are part of the fabric of baseball, and that it was close enough is something. Not really his fault, and doesn’t make him any less of a player.

      5.) He’s a right-handed hitter who hits a TON of groundballs. More ground balls than any other hitter in the league, in fact. He also plays in a good offense; of COURSE he’s going to ground into a ton of DPs. It’s more than mitigated by everything else.

      6.) Not his fault, and the announcers overlook a lot of the things that make him great, anyway.

      7.) Not at all Jeter-exclusive.

      8.) See 7. Now you’re just looking for reasons to hate.

      9.) By whom? Idiot announcers? Move on.

      10.) He’s played much better defensively this year.

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      • Pete says:

        On two… Huh?

        A-Rod was coming off of a GG season at SS. Obviously GG’s don’t mean that much, but the fact is that he was perceived to be an elite SS. Jeter… well… he’s been kind of terrible there. So how is playing your worst SS at SS, aka the most important defensive position on the IF, the best alignment in any way, shape, or form?

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      • Mikel says:

        i think you forgot the fist pump…truely hate that.

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    • dante23 says:

      Jeter is overrated? Wow, never heard that one before. people like you will say that even as he passes 3000 hits, 3500 hits, maybe even 4000 hits and becomes the first ballot HOFer that he is. Doesn’t mean anything, but you like saying it. God forbid you should ever give a truly great player the credit that he deserves.

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      • Mikel says:

        “great player”

        dude…bad defense, slightly above average offense, and not clutch.

        if he makes it into the HOF, its because he tricks you into think he’s great, the fact that he plays in new york, and his “leadership”.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Okay, let’s not get carried away. He’s got a career wOBA of .375, a career OPS+ of 121. Those are excellent numbers for anybody, and they’re HoF-caliber for a shortstop. It’s people like you, Mikel, that fuel people like Dante.

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      • dante23 says:

        Absolutely hilarious.

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    • dante23 says:

      1. Ummm, because it was a really tough play?
      2. Yeah, the Yankees had also won 4 World Championships and 6 American League Pennants with Jeter as their SS. Forgot to mention that.
      3. Great play by Jeter, even though you refuse to give him any credit.
      4. Not Jeter’s fault. He hit the ball well in a clutch situation.
      5. Check the all-time DP leaders. Nothing but Hall of Fsmers.
      6. Jeter deserves all of it. He is a truly great player.
      7. Okay, you can say the same about a lot of other great players.
      8. So, you hate him for getting out of the way of pitches that might hit him? Good reasoning.
      9. As far as baseball goes, he’s as good as it gets.
      10. Happens to the best of em. People like you will find any reason you can to hate Jeter. It’s a disease known as Jeter Envy.

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    • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

      Let’s stay objective here. This article isn’t about Jeter the person or even Jeter the player, but about how the media and fanbase perceive and overrate Jeter the player.

      You may not like Jeter, and that’s fine, but that has nothing to do with Matthew’s article.

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      • dante23 says:

        Again, if anything, Jeter is underrated. He is a truly great player and has been his entire career and deserves all the credit he gets. I know that’s a hard one to swallow for certain people who don’t want to see him getting any credit because he’s a Yankee and has been as successful as he’s been, but that’s the truth.

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      • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

        “Again, if anything, Jeter is underrated.”

        No. He isn’t. There’s no way in hell Jeter can be “underrated”. I don’t care what kind of strained logic you want to create about how many people dog him. The dogs barking can’t possibly overwhelm the roaring tidal wave that is blind, unadulterated Jeter love.

        It’s pure scale. There’s 10 million people in the New York area alone to drown out whatever internet nerds there are jacking Jeter’s junk.

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    • Xavier Holland says:

      Because Jeter would have been better at short than at third. Where was he supposed to move? Center, where Bernie was? Third, which he would have been terrible at, considering he can’t go to his left? A-Rod at third and Jeter at short was better than the reverse.

      Arguably. And that’s really all that matters.

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  21. Pete says:

    Matt, you’re preaching to the choir here, my friend. Of course people at Fangraphs know that the anti-A-Rod hate is ridiculous. Telling them again and again does no good.

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    • dante23 says:

      No, before this season Arod has sucked in the postseason for the Yankees and Jeter has been great, if you includehis entire career and that includes seasons before 2002 which just included 4 World Championships and 5 American League Pennants. The anti-Arod hate has been well deserved by your hero.

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      • MetsKnicksRutgers says:

        A-rods post-season numbers are better than Jeter’s in nearly every statistical category. Jeter IS overrated! He is a HOF but he is also overrated. When 15 panelists say they would take Jeter over Arod that makes him overrated. Great player, yes but as an overall player Reyes was better from 06-08 (well maybe not 07) and Hanley has been miles ahead of Jeter. You may wanna jump off his crotch man, Arod is a better player in any season and he shoulda been the SS from the get go. And Jeter’s UZR this year can easily be an aberration after posting 3 successive poor UZR years.

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      • dante23 says:

        Okay, buddy. It’s because of people like you and people who keep saying that Jeter is overrated, that he’s actually underrated. He’s gonna end up with 3500+, maybe even 4000 career hits, be a first ballot HOFer, as well as being the leader and Captain of numerous World Championship teams. What more can he do? If anything, Jeter is underrated.

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      • Pete says:

        My hero? What? Excuse me? My hero? Because I believe he’s a better player than Jeter and don’t believe that a small handful of playoff at bats in scattered across four seasons change that, the guy is my hero? Nice try.

        The facts are there in front of you… ARod is a better player than Jeter. Yes, he’s struggled a bit in the playoffs in his Yankee tenure, but the playoffs are such a small sample size that the results really don’t tell you a damn thing. Jeter performed pretty poorly in some of those series too, but he gets a pass b/c of his winny-winitude or something, right?

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  22. dante23 says:

    Jeter is a truly great player. God forbid you should ever give him the credit that he deserves.

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    • Pete says:

      This site gives him exactly the credit he deserves. He’s a great hitter for a SS who also happens to be a below average SS. He’s a Hall of Famer and was a big part of four world champion teams. Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters in baseball history. He was a better SS when he came over and moved to third selflessly so Jeter’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt.

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  23. shiloh says:

    The great irony of Red Sox fans who despise Jeter is their team hasn’t had a decent all-around shortstop in six years. That must be a painful reality to live with.

    By the way, Jeter’s play on Punto was on a grounder to the right of second base. I thought he couldn’t go to his left?

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  24. gsquared says:

    So 4 World Series rings that includes a World Series MVP don’t matter?

    -Since there was no reply button underneath this comment: Nope, they don’t, not as far as seeing who is better. Luis Sojo has 4 World Series Rings and David Eckstein has been a World Series MVP. By themselves rings and World Series MVP’s mean nothing in player evaluation.

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    • dante23 says:

      Yeah, but Luis Sojo was a bench player and Jeter has been the starting SS on 4 World Champions and 6 American League Pennant winners and possibly another one this season. You have to know what you’re talking about to evaluate anything and Jeter has been a great player who has had a great postseason career, so comparing him to Luis Sojo and/or David Eckstein is pretty stupid and pretty meaningless.

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  25. Nick says:

    Stop posting.

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  26. TLB says:

    dante23 sounds unimaginably clueless. To be fair, I’ve never met the guy. Thank god.

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    • dante23 says:

      “dante23 sounds unimaginably clueless. To be fair, I’ve never met the guy. Thank god.”

      It’s okay. I know the truth hurts.

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  27. TLB says:

    “You have to know what you’re talking about to evaluate anything”

    Yes, yes you do. Isn’t irony fun?

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  28. TLB says:

    Once again, one event proves EVERYTHING!1!!1!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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  29. TLB says:

    No YOU’RE funny! Funny guy! It’s ok. The truth hurts.

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  30. TLB says:

    Whoa! That was one clutch error!

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  31. gsquared says:

    Clutch DP, clutch error, and now a clutch strikeout. HE IS AMAZING

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  32. TLB says:

    Or that clutch strikeout!

    And just for the record, I have no problem whatsoever with Derek Jeter. He *is* a great player. I just have a problem with the windbag nonsense that he’s the clutchiest thing since Big Papi.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      hat he’s the clutchiest thing since Big Papi.

      Whose own clutchness is vastly overrated.

      Anyway, I’ll go a step further. I’m a Yankee fan and a Jeter fan, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be objective about him.

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  33. TLB says:

    Yeah, sorry — was trying to make a joke about Papi, as well. I thought it was clear where I stand on OMGzCLUTCHiness. :)

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  34. TLB says:

    There was this amazing picture on teh interwebz of Ortiz in shiny, like pleather pants & tacky shades, that someone had overlaid the words (not 100% sure on this, but close…) “Mr. Clutchity Clutch”. I wish I could find that image… can’t anymore. If anyone has a url for that, please share!

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  35. TLB says:

    Although I did find this gem while doing a David Ortiz image search…

    http://storage369.tripod.com/esther_r.jpg

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  36. Kevin S. says:

    I do have to say, I’d gladly eat a little bit of crow if AJ served up a Captain Pie shortly. Not that any single AB changes a guy’s career, but we’ve been bitchy about the past couple, and I’m sure dante would gloat.

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  37. TLB says:

    The thing is… even if that happens, it still wouldn’t prove he’s ‘clutch’, it would just prove he can make good plays & bad plays… and everyone basically knows that already.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Of course it wouldn’t. But if this conversation was about actually proving/disproving clutch, it wouldn’t have gone this way.

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  38. TLB says:

    Touche… I have no idea how to format that “e” properly…

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  39. gsquared says:

    A-ROD CHOKES AGAIN LOL….oh, wait. Can dante shut up now?

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  40. Logan says:

    Can we put this topic to rest now? A-Rod has proven just how stupid and fleeting “clutch” is.

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  41. TLB says:

    Ya know, that Mark Teixeira sure isn’t clutch… ;)

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  42. Jud says:

    So who would you say did the following in the top of the 11th in a tied 5-5 playoff game. Double, stole 3rd, scored on a wild pitch. Good guess! ARod in the winning run of the winning game of the 2004 playoffs against the Twins.
    And who ground into 2 DP’s in a do-or-die playoff game? Right again! Jeter in game 3 of the 2007 DS against the Indians.
    Don’t get me wrong. Jeter is a great, sure-fire, 1st ballot HOF’er. But I am unceased to be amazed at fellow Yankee fans not appreciating one of the greatest players of all time.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Did you see the graph in the comments, with the Wizard = Trammell = Jeter (so far)? It sounds about right to me, and I think the takeaway is that Ozzie was indeed deserving, Jeter will be and Trammell got jobbed.

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  43. MetsKnicksRutgers says:

    Dante, we CONTINUE to give you stats and facts to prove that you are wrong yet ALL you bring up is the amount of hits he has compiled (which are really really good especially for a SS). You gave us a laundry list of individual plays one of which was in a game where the yanks were 7 1/2 games up over the sawx. You ignore the overall carrer and post-season numbers along with ignoring with Jeters very UN-clutch performances such as his 353 OPS in the 06 ALDS against the tigers.

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  44. Seideberg says:

    Considering A-Rod now has 3 homeruns this postseason in the 7th inning or later to tie the game, will the mainstream media reverse course in the future and say A-Rod is now extremely clutch?

    Or is he simply a great hitter, who takes the same approach to the plate every time, no matter the situation?

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  45. Seideberg says:

    I would say that Jeter is neither overrated, nor underrated. He is an excellent player who has had a great career, receives some praise he doesn’t deserve, and doesn’t get enough credit for some other things he does (longevity and consistency for example). If I had to pick one or the other, I’d say he is maybe a tad overrated, not that he doesn’t deserve the adulation for his actual accomplishments, but because the mainstream media and typical fan heaps praise on him for the “other” stuff.

    It is laughable, however, to even mention Jose Reyes in the same breath as Jeter. Reyes’ best two seasons produced a wOBA of .367 and .367, which are both under Jeter’s career average of .375, and his career average of .342 is nowhere in the same ballpark as Jeter’s. Reyes is still young, however, so maybe he’ll catch Jeter in time, but I doubt it.

    Hanley Ramirez has put up some monster seasons (over .400 wOBA the past three seasons), which compare favorably to Jeter’s best three, and if he keeps up this pace for another 10 seasons, he will likely be lauded as a better player than Jeter, and deservedly so, based on hitting stats alone. Of course, you would have said that about Nomar Garciaparra, whose career has been in a bit of a tailspin ever since he left the Red Sox. Then again, his career wOBA is still .376, despite being about 1000 hits behind Jeter, and he leads Jeter in Slg and OPS, so maybe he deserves some more praise?

    I don’t profess to know Hanley Ramirez as a person, and can’t speak to his work ethic, but it’s not a great sign that veteran teammates are calling him out for being lazy. I have no idea if that was hilariously overblown, but if not I would question whether he has the mental ability to maintain this level of performance for 7-10 more years. The beauty is that time will pass, statistics will accumulate, and it will all play out right in front of our eyes.

    Jeter: .375 (14 seasons)

    Best Ever Shortstops
    Wagner .414 (21 seasons)
    Rodriguez: .412 (15 seasons, obviously not all as a SS)

    Some Contemporaries
    Ramirez: .397 (4 seasons) ==> 4th best ever for a SS if he keeps it up
    Garciaparra: .376 (13 seasons)
    Larkin: .366 (19 seasons)
    Tejada: .348 (12 seasons)
    Ripken: .345 (20 seasons)
    Reyes: .342 (7 seasons)

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  46. Matt says:

    Great post Seideberg, I agree 100% with your anaylsis.

    As a completely biased and Jeter-obsessed Yankee fanatic (full disclosure), I think there are several reasons that people rate him higher than statistics might indicate:

    1) Most significantly of all, I think the cause of this is his “homegrown” history and his ability to deal with the media. Some players are constantly getting into trouble for their behavior and Jeter never does. Some guys say things to the media that are taken poorly, but Jeter handles the New York media very well. Having come up with the organization and won some rings here, he has credibility and positive sentiment with the fans. To me these ARE part of the game nowadays. Not everything of importance takes place on the field and Jeter’s popularity is good for the team.

    2) Jeter is a smart player. People have often assaulted his defense, specifically his range, but what people who watch the Yankees day in and day out see (and what doesn’t always show up in stats) is that Jeter plays the game with intelligence. His range may not be what it once was but he makes good decisions on the field, which is appealing to fans. As painful as it may be to see a bleeder slip under his glove, it’s much worse to watch a player throw the ball away trying to make an impossible double play or fail to make an out by throwing to the the wrong base. As someone who believes in psychology as well as stats, I think this actually helps win games. I believe that pitchers are often more rattled by stupidity behind them, as opposed to bleeders and bloops.

    3) Now some stats: Jeter has averaged 152 games per year since 1996, with a .318 batting average. During that time he has never had a year where he hit below .291 or had an on-base percentage below .352. Only in 2003, when he missed time because of an injury did he have fewer than 179 hits. The guy is an above average player every single year with unbelievable consistency. His numbers in the playoffs are similar. He plays VERY consistently and that is really what I think being “clutch” is all about: it’s not necessarily about raising your level of play in “high leverage” situations, it’s about playing consistently regardless of situation. The problem people have with A-Rod is that he has huge streaks of hot and coolness.

    Ultimately, the fans who “overrate” Jeter see a guy who plays every single day, always plays “the right way” (i.e. with intelligence in the field, on the base paths, at the plate, in the dugout, or at the microphone), and plays a very consistant game, where he reliably hits against all kinds of teams and pitchers in many situations.

    Finally, I don’t know how you can overrate a guy who has a 121 OPS+ in 15 seasons.

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    • TLB says:

      Every baseball player goes on big hot & cold streaks, even the mighty Derek Jeter.

      I think you’re right on, though, that the ‘personality’ stuff is why he’s more popular than A-Rod. And I also agree that Jeter is well above-average in terms of baseball intelligence on the field.

      “The guy is an above average player every single year with unbelievable consistency.”

      The funny thing to me about this, though (& not intended as a shot at you, Matt), is that A-Rod is an elite player every single year.

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      • TLB says:

        Oh, and the other thing I neglected to mention about Jeter v. A-Rod in terms of popularity that imo plays a big role — fans overvaluing the importance of strikeouts.

        Jeter’s a guy that better fits the baseball announcer b.s. that ‘ya gotta put the ball in play!’/’that pitch is too close to take!’, etc.

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    • Kincaid says:

      Consistent as in what? Compared to their overall numbers, Jeter might be a little more consistent, but A-Rod is enough better a hitter that that’s not going to do any good because A-Rod’s cold stretches are better than Jeter’s. So Jeter might perform within so many standard deviations of his overall numbers a little more often than A-Rod, but x standard deviations below Jeter’s average production is worse than x standard deviations below A-Rod’s average production. If you pick a certain threshold (say a .300 wOBA, or a .330 wOBA, or whatever), and you want to know who will be more likely to hit below that threshold over a given stretch, it’s going to be Jeter.

      Say you divide each of their careers into 30 PA stretches. Through 2008, both had 299 such stretches. A-Rod had a wOBA under .300 in 42 of them; Jeter in 67. A-Rod was under .330 in 66; Jeter in 103. Say you just want to look at how often they’re really bad: A-Rod had 16 stretches below .250; Jeter 33. Under .275, 30 to 45. Whether A-Rod is more streaky than Jeter or not, it doesn’t make him more likely to give you bad production over any stretch than Jeter, so unless it’s also showing up as better clutch performance somehow in the leverage sensitive numbers, I don’t see the advantage.

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  47. Kevin says:

    I have a problem with the definition of Clutch, and I think the true definition of Clutch is this:

    Clutch – How good a player does in high leverage situations.

    Of course a good player is expected to do better than an average player in any situation, but why would you penalize a good player in high leverage situations in this “statistic”? A good player’s average performance could very well be more “clutch” than a poor player’s good performance.

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    • Choo says:

      The point of Clutch is to see if a player elevates HIS game during critical situations. It is a comparison to himself, not to all other players in the league.

      By your definition, a good player who performs worse in clutch situations could still be considered a clutch player and a bad player who performs better in clutch situations could still be a considered a choke artist.

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  48. Steve says:

    bizzzzzz……..UMP!

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