Derek Jeter Announces Impending Retirement

Derek Jeter announced today that the 2014 season will be his last, bringing an end to a career that will have spanned 20 years. And while Jeter may be most famous in the statistical community as the poster boy for modern defensive metrics, the reality is that even with his lack of range at shortstop, he’s still easily one of the greatest players of all time.

The basic numbers: Among players who have played at least 25% of their games at shortstop — the qualification needed to show up at the position on our leaderboards — Jeter ranks 6th in WAR. Of the five guys ahead of him, three played (at least in part) in the 19th century. One of the others spent nearly as much time at third base as he did at shortstop. Essentially, over the last 100 years, Cal Ripken is the only full time SS we’ve seen that has posted a higher career WAR than Jeter.

So maybe the mainstream media has overrated Jeter over the last 20 years, but if they have, they’ve slightly exaggerated the greatness of one of the greatest players of all time. This isn’t a Ryan Howard or Jack Morris situation, where the narrative has turned an okay player into a superstar based on myth and legend. Jeter is a legitimate legend on his own merits, with no embellishments needed.

We don’t need to do any kind of career retrospective now, since his career is not yet over, but as a member of the community who has often pointed out Jeter’s defensive deficiencies, I will happily point out that even those flaws don’t keep him from being one of the premier players of his generation. Congratulations on a terrific career, sir.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Nick
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Nick
2 years 5 months ago

I really hope we get to see him play a lot this season, it just didn’t feel right this year. Even as a non-Yankee fan, I loved to see him play and the game will feel different without him.

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 5 months ago

Honestly not meaning to be snarky – if he hits .190, do you really want to see him continue to play a lot?

Sean C
Member
2 years 5 months ago

As a Red Sox fan, yes, I want to see him play a lot.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 5 months ago

Yeah, the guy can’t play defense and he can’t hit anymore. If I were a Sox fan, I’d want him to stay healthy and play every game

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

@Steve:

Why can’t he hit?

Apart from 73 plate appearances in 2013 (in which he had a .208 BABIP), Jeter had a 117 wRC+ in 2012, and a 104 wRC+ in 2011.

He can probably still hit, he just can’t play shortstop or run the bases well. Probably.

Tom B
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Tom B
2 years 5 months ago

He led the league in PA’s and hits in 2012.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

It would be a gritty & heroic .190, though, replete with spin moves, rugged multi-ethnic handsomeness, clutch hits, and tons of NY Post stories about the coterie of supermodels/actresses he would presumably be dating.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

Derek Jeter isn’t gritty. He’s half black.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

it’s the white half that’s gritty.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

The white half is also deceptively as-fast-as the black half.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

Well, he is balding!

JS7
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JS7
2 years 5 months ago

Regardless of what team you root for, it’s going to be a sad day when #2 hangs them up…

Stephen Drew
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Stephen Drew
2 years 5 months ago

I was hoping he’d take some time off this season

Matthew
Member
Member
2 years 5 months ago

He should give every team a gift basket on his farewell tour.

Slats
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Slats
2 years 5 months ago

100% Class. A dying breed in baseball. Kudos to Jeter.

gabriel syme
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gabriel syme
2 years 5 months ago

The borderland of sarcasm?

Luke I am your Father
Member
Luke I am your Father
2 years 5 months ago

Bud Selig should give Jeter the fruit basket. He just sold out every Yankees road game.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

Classic Yankee fan arrogance.

Do you really think that other teams fans are going to show up to watch a 75 win yankees team celebrate the career of their shortstop who now hits .190?

Joe
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Joe
2 years 5 months ago

People fled to see a 79 win team in 2001 just to see Tony Gwynn maybe pinch hit

jim
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jim
2 years 5 months ago

75 wins? you think they’re 10 wins worse than last year?

Zip Rzeppa
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Zip Rzeppa
2 years 5 months ago

He may be retiring, but his herpes will go on forever.

Steve
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Steve
2 years 5 months ago

Damn Wahlberg. Would’ve played until 50 if he hadn’t shot him.

Darren
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Darren
2 years 5 months ago

He’s a bi-racial angel!

James
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James
2 years 5 months ago

I’m not a Yankee fan, but Jeter played the game the way it is supposed to be played. Hope he can make it thru this season healthy

MX7P91
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MX7P91
2 years 5 months ago

What is it that he did the he was “supposed to” do that other guys don’t? Please enlighten me.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
2 years 5 months ago

I know you’re trying to be snarky, but there’s actually a really easy way to explain this:

Derek Jeter played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Alex Rodriguez did not play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.

Derek Jeter never had portraits made of himself as a centaur. Derek Jeter never got caught in a raid of an illegal gambling den. Derek Jeter never sued his trainer. Derek Jeter never talked to the press about the women he was sleeping with. Derek Jeter never tried to pick up girls while standing in the on-deck circle. Derek Jeter never ran across the mound going back to first. Derek Jeter never tried to slap the ball out of somebody’s hand who was tagging him.

Derek Jeter has been one of the most famous people in New York for twenty years and nobody has a bad thing to say about him as a person — do you know how hard that is? Having people with microphones and cameras follow you into Starbucks when you want to get coffee every day for twenty years, and never having done anything to make anybody say you’re selfish or a jerk or anything but a decent human being?

Oh yeah: Alex Rodriguez whined to the press when he got dropped in the batting order in the playoffs. Derek Jeter played on through a bone bruise in the ALCS that was so bad it ended up shattering his ankle and ending his career because he was the only guy who was hitting and wanted to help his team win.

THAT is what Derek Jeter did that other guys don’t.

PotatoPicker
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PotatoPicker
2 years 5 months ago

I’m a Red Sox fan, and not particularly fond of Jeter (mostly due to his uniform and all the folks acclaiming his wondrous defense) but I respect what he has accomplished and I am a fan of how he has conducted his career. That is very well said and I couldn’t agree with it more strongly than I do.

TKDC
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TKDC
2 years 5 months ago

I pretty much agree with all of this, but Jeter let his pride get in the way of the team by insisting on being the short stop when the superior Arod was brought in. He either did know or should have known that he was not better, but that the Yankees would not ask him to change positions. The best thing for the team would be for him to do so and he did not.

Tigers Fan
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Tigers Fan
2 years 5 months ago

Appreciate the Jeets v Arod diatribe. Must have been great to finally get that off your chest. Especially once Arod turned into a cheat and stopped carrying your team to your last “world” championship. My only hope is that Alex Rodriguez goes down as one of the best SS to ever don a Yankee uniform while never playing the position for the “Bombers”. The lesson here, as always, give Australian supermodels your number at all costs. That is how you play the game “the right way”.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Curiously, only three of the things you mentioned have anything to do with playing the game at all. The rest is just off-field stuff, and we all know that Jeter has been far from an angel off the field.

http://nypost.com/2011/12/13/jeter-gives-autograph-swag-to-one-night-stands/

“Derek Jeter never ran across the mound going back to first.”

Jeter never broke a poorly articulated unwritten rule. The stepping-on-the-mound incident only got so much press because it was A-Rod.

“Derek Jeter never tried to slap the ball out of somebody’s hand who was tagging him.”

Yeah, that was a pretty terrible move on A-Rod’s part, but that’s one incident.

“Derek Jeter played on through a bone bruise in the ALCS that was so bad it ended up shattering his ankle and ending his career because he was the only guy who was hitting and wanted to help his team win.”

So, wait. You’re praising Jeter for taking a risk with his health that wound up wrecking his ankle and ending his career… while the team still owed him tens of millions of dollars? Right. That’s totally helping the team.

And finally:

Derek Jeter refused to switch positions when his team acquired a clearly superior defender at the same position. Alex Rodriguez agreed to switch positions even though the guy at his position was a clearly inferior defender because that’s what the team wanted.

Which one played the game the right way?

(I respect Jeter. I think he’s had a phenomenal career. Please don’t make him out to be God and A-Rod to be Satan.)

larry
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larry
2 years 5 months ago

no, that is a list of things that Jeter didnt do that A rod did. A rod being an asshole doesnt say anything about how Jeter played the game “the right way”

RC
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RC
2 years 5 months ago

“Derek Jeter never talked to the press about the women he was sleeping with.”

lol, what?

Daniel Nuxoll
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Daniel Nuxoll
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter didn’t insist on staying at SS. No one ever asked him to move. I don’t recall any world-class athlete ever asking out of a position, and I wouldn’t expect them to ever do so. Part of being a great player is thinking that you are the best person for the job. It is a coach or GMs job to pull a guy off the field or out of his position. It is a players job to go out and do their best.

St Francis
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St Francis
2 years 5 months ago

Remember when he faked an HBP? Was he supposed to do that?

Bryan
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Bryan
2 years 5 months ago

Yes, because others in a similar situation would not have done that.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Yup. It helped the Yankees win, so it was exactly what he was supposed to do.

JJ
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JJ
2 years 5 months ago

Derek Jeter is in the process of building the largest home in Tampa Bay. The estate will have 300 bedrooms in case all of his girlfriends show up at once.

Wilt Chamberlain
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Wilt Chamberlain
2 years 5 months ago

That’s adorable.

TomG
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TomG
2 years 5 months ago

The kitchen will boast three microwaves, two wall ovens, but no range.

not another pun
Guest
not another pun
2 years 5 months ago

You win this time good sir, bravo.

hamjenkinsIII
Member
hamjenkinsIII
2 years 5 months ago

Jerek Deter

goprojoe
Guest
goprojoe
2 years 5 months ago

YEAH JEETS!!!

tylersnotes
Member
2 years 5 months ago

I knew who a red sox would vociferously argue that if Jeter played for any other team no one would know who he was. That comment single handedly pushed ‘Red Sox fans’ above ‘Yankees fans’ in my insufferability power rankings.

On the other hand, few moments have given me as much joy as being at Camden Yards 2 years ago when the Yankees played the Orioles, and seeing a grown yankees fan crying at the bathroom stall saying “What if Jeter’s done, man?” This was in April, and Jeter went on to have a 3.0 WAR season, but I had never before that moment believe it was possible to feel pity for a Yankees fan.

It’s hard to imagine another baseball celebrity being all of these things again any time soon. He made being a baseball fan fun.

not a yankees fan
Guest
not a yankees fan
2 years 5 months ago

seeing Yankees fans cry is always great. Unfortunately, it happens far too rarely.

ShishBoomBah
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

I’ve seen a lot of them arrested and kicked out of ballparks.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

“I knew who a red sox”

I’m assuming you meant to write, “I know of a red sox fan who”.

Most red sox fans (including myself) that I know think Derek Jeter is a first-ballot HOF. We just hate his guts because he plays for the Yankees and never had problems in his career (either on or off the field…well until he broke his ankle).

Sean C
Member
2 years 5 months ago

I immediately went out and got tickets to his last regular season game at Fenway (before they reached the asinine prices they are at now). I hate him but man do I respect him.

RJ
Guest
RJ
2 years 5 months ago

I was at Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS, It was not fun to watch Jeter break his ankle. All of 2013 made me think I witnesses the end of childhood icon (32 now). Weird to watch a “superhero” go down.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

As far as I’ve seen, most Red Sox fans (of which I am one) respect Jeter. We don’t necessarily LIKE him, granted, but we recognize his greatness as a player.

Is he overrated in some ways because he played in New York? Yeah, probably. On the other hand, he’s never won an MVP award even though he was probably the best player in the league a couple of times. Strip away both the positive and negative press, and he’s an all-time great.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

Surprisingly, I don’t think he was ever the best player in the league in a single season. Jeter’s strength was his longevity not his peak; his second best season by WAR was when he was 35 years old, and he’s never had a season below 2 WAR until he was 37, then followed it up with a 3 WAR season at 38.

To be fair, he had an incredible 1999 season, and was one of the best players that year, but I’m not sure he was the best.

RJ
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RJ
2 years 5 months ago

Best *clean player!

Eric Feczko
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Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

@RJ:

Jeff Bagwell says hi, and Manny Ramirez, as far as we know, wasn’t doping in 1999.

PotatoPicker
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PotatoPicker
2 years 5 months ago

There was this pitcher who had a pretty phenomenal 1999 and was in my view easily the best player in the American League that year. And I believe he was clean as well.

RJ
Guest
RJ
2 years 5 months ago

@ EF If you read the historys of baseballs the Astros didn’t play in the Al in 1999. Oh on Manny, you wanna buy the GW Bridge gets you from NJ to the Bronx lickty split if you have the secret passage owner lane?

RJ
Guest
RJ
2 years 5 months ago

@ PP in the words of Pedro, “Derek is my Daddy”. You can be cute with ’04 but the Jeter’s Yankees owned his sorry ass, ’09 being the final ‘Who’s your Daddy’.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter led position players in rWAR by 0.6 in 1999 and he was only .1 behind Manny in fWAR, despite UBR not yet existing (Manny was consistently worth -2.5 UBR a year, while Jeter has been worth +1.7 a year, so I think it’s fair to assume that Jeter was a better baserunner in 1999).

Also, Manny and his massive post-1997 power jump were definitely dirty.

RPMcSweeney
Guest
RPMcSweeney
2 years 5 months ago

@RJ are you talking about the time in 1999 that Jeter’s Yankees owned Pedro’s sorry ass when he struck out 11 in 7 innings while giving up 2 runs? Or that time later in the season when he struck out 17 in a complete game one hitter?

RPMcSweeney
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RPMcSweeney
2 years 5 months ago

@RJ or, for that matter, that time when he struck out 12 in 7 while giving up no runs and handing Jeter’s Yankees their sole loss of the postseason.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter was very likely the best position player in the league in 1999. Of course, if ever a pitcher deserved the MVP, it was Pedro in ’99, but if you acknowledge that the MVP is usually given to a position player, it probably should’ve been Jeter.

He was also pretty terrific in 1998 (though A-Rod was probably better) and 2006 (though several guys, notably Grady Sizemore, had better years). The issue is more that in several Jeter’s best seasons (1998, 1999, 2006), the MVP went to a clearly inferior player (Juan Gone, I-Rod, Morneau).

Brandon Inge
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Brandon Inge
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter is a great player, first ballot HOF, and even a below average shortstop is still a better fielder than most on a baseball field.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Eh. Jeter wasn’t just a below-average shortstop, he was a historically terrible shortstop. That’s why his total defensive value (fielding + positional adjustment) is negative for his career, an incredibly difficult feat for a shortstop.

I totally agree that he’s a deserving first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I wouldn’t say he was a better fielder than most on a (major league) baseball field.

John c
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John c
2 years 5 months ago

I was refreshing my Jeter memory checking his stats on baseref…errrr…this site ;o)

Simply put, the Yanks, MLB, and especially me will miss him. Maybe he didn’t figure out how to field his position properly until around ’09 or so (and then age set in), he was, without a doubt, one of the greatest position players I have seen. We heard how Nomar was better or Omar was better. ARod truly was better, but even he knew he was manning third. In crafting his HoF career, Jeter outlasted them all at short.

Yes, his legend is already overblown, but he is one of the few who have earned exaggeration. The “flip” play alone earned him iconic status while diving head first into the stands against Boston pushed it over the top…with ARod watching…hands on his head–a great ballplayer momentarily turned fan–knowing he was a witness to true greatness: one of my favorite baseball scenes ever.

Oh, let the cavalcade of mediocrity begin. Perhaps this season, definitely next. Jeter saved me from that for nearly two decades. The never ending train of subpar to ok shortstops.

I will miss him.

Brian
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Brian
2 years 5 months ago

Direct, to the point, and well said. Just as Jeter would have done it.

RC
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RC
2 years 5 months ago

If Cameron was Jeter, he somehow would have managed to fire Alex, have Wendy writing stories about the plight of minorities in sports, and would be writing law articles himself.

Johnhavok
Guest
Johnhavok
2 years 5 months ago

One of the best with the bat at his position, but a very ovverrated defender. Despite that, should be a slam dunk first ballot Hall of Famer.

rogue_actuary
Member
Member
rogue_actuary
2 years 5 months ago

One thing that future glamor-type athletes can learn from Jeter is that you can have a lot of fun and still live a successful private life. About the only non-sports related news I ever hear about Jeter is that he’s dating some new starlet.

I’m betting that there is someone close to Jeter who is able to tell him “no” at the appropriate times. I mean, the guy basically became a man on the biggest possible national stage. And yet, I haven’t heard about scores of illegitimate children, or shooting incidents in clubs, or some crazy ex-flame trying to crazy-ex-flame his house down…

I don’t think he’ll be missed by those outside the game in the same sense as something for which many of us will long, but he’ll be missed in the sense that it will be strange to watch the Yankees send their nine out into the field and know that Jeter won’t ever be headed out with that group again.

Fan
Guest
Fan
2 years 5 months ago

The last of that great core from the mid-90s retiring, only serves to highlight how directionless the Yankees might be very soon. Could be Ellsbury and a bunch o guys named “who?” or “so?”, until the Yankee farm system can get restocked with legitimate prospects. And I do mean legit, as in highly regarded overall, not the usual overrated overhyped treatment some Yankee prospects get. Without some serious work between here and spring training 2015, next year’s Yankees might be in a dramatic dogfight for 3rd place in the AL East.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

Over his career, Derek Jeter was one of the worst defenders at shortstop in the major leagues (25th lowest cumulative defensive output since 1871); this only makes his career more remarkable, given that he ranks 6th in WAR.

Over his career, Jeter has the 3rd highest cumulative offensive output of any shortstop (behind A-rod and Wagner). What is amazing is that he did this by having, arguably, the best hit-tool out of any shortstop in baseball; his career BABIP is .353. Over 10,000 plate appearances, this is a reliable indicator of his true talent at getting on base by hitting the ball. No shortstop with over 5000 PAs comes close (2nd place: 0.334 BABIP). Only two players with the qualified number of PAs approaches Jeter, both played before 1900.

Travis L
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Travis L
2 years 5 months ago

Interesting to note, then, that A-Rod had better offensive totals even though he lost a number of near-peak years @ SS due to Jeter.

A-Rod was an absolute monster. Jeter had a lot more PA as a SS and still didn’t have as much cumulative offensive value.

I wonder how many wins the Yankees cost themselves with Jeter @ SS over A-Rod.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

The offensive value numbers at SS include A-Rod’s time at 3B. Jeter has 26 more batting runs as an SS than A-Rod does by B-Ref, and 1.2 more by Fangraphs (5 more if you cut out 2013).

JayT
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JayT
2 years 5 months ago

Holding his offense constant, how different do you think his career WAR would have been if he moved to a different position early in his career? At what position do you think he would have been a plus fielder?

MGL
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MGL
2 years 5 months ago

His value probably would not have changed much at all had he played 2b, SS, or even CF. Obviously his defensive numbers would have likely been better relative to the other players at that other position, but that gain would be canceled by the lesser positional adjustment.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

Maybe.

Jeter’s problem has always been his range/positioning/instincts. Given that range is less important at 3B, he might have beaten out the positional adjustment had he been a third baseman from the get-go.

Of course, this is just blatant speculation. I know of no way of assessing this hypothetical question.

JimNYC
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JimNYC
2 years 5 months ago

As a lifelong Yankee fan — I was 14 when he made his debut — I can tell you that Jeter would have made a terrible third baseman. His problem was always glove-side range, not range to his right — and at third base, all you have is a sea of glove-side.

He was fantastic at going back on popups and had a great arm, leading me to believe he could have been a plus CF… but ultimately, SS gave him the most value.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

Moving guys down the defensive spectrum is only a net negative when they can successfully field the tougher position.

Jeter couldn’t.

His value at 3B or second base almost assuredly would have been higher.

tribetime33
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tribetime33
2 years 5 months ago

Caps off to Jeter. Great player in any era of the sport of baseball. A definite Hall Of Famer.

Jetes
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

I don’t want your forgiveness. I won’t make excuses. I’m not gonna blame you, even if you are an accessory… But I will not accept your natural order. I didn’t come for absolution, I didn’t ask to be redeemed. But isn’t that how it is, every goddamn time… Your prayers are always answered, in the order they’re received…

Stringer Bell
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Stringer Bell
2 years 5 months ago

One of the greatest players of all time? Mmkay. He’s certainly a hall of famer, but calm down now.

Connor
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Connor
2 years 5 months ago

Look at the numbers in this thread of comments, sir. He was arguably one of the greatest, and a first ballot HOFer. His BABIP stats are off the charts. His only hole was range. Playoff stats were solid and consistent. He has a great arm, sure hands, and was a great baserunner. He batted everywhere in a Yankees lineup that was absolutely stacked at times. True class and a great leader. I’m sure to get downvoted, but I ain’t even a Yanks fan. Watched a lot of their games on the local TV network though, and Jeter never failed to impress.

bpdelia
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bpdelia
2 years 5 months ago

A hall of famer is one of the greatest players of all time.
That’s what the hal of fame is for. A museum dedicated to…. The greatest players of all time. He’s a top five short stop of all time and probably on the top 75 players in history. So I just don’t understand that comment.

Are you seriously arguing that the fifth best short stop in major league history is NOT one of the greatest players of all time?

I don’t get it.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

“A hall of famer is one of the greatest players of all time.”

Not necessarily. It depends on how you define greatness.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-follow-up-thought-on-the-hall-of-fame-standard/

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 5 months ago

He’s certainly in the discussion as one of the greatest.
Since 1871, there have 3792 players with 1000 plate appearances and 2905 pitchers with 300 innings pitched. Derek Jeter has the 70th highest WAR of all these players. About 1 percent of all baseball palyers since 1871 (or 1900, doesn’t really matter much) have generated more wins.

WAR is a crude measure of greatness, but if we define greatest of all time as being the top 1 percent of all players, he’s certainly in the discussion.

pft
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pft
2 years 5 months ago

The positional adjustment gives SS and unfair handicap.

The positional adjustment is given simply because a SS has more opportunities to make plays. Like a clean up hitter has more opportunities to collect RBI’s, yet we don’t inflate the clean up hitters WAR because he had more opportunities to drive in runs do we?

SS is also a position (along with 2B, 3B, C) with one of the lower talent pools since it excludes LH throwers who make up at least 12% of the population.

Travis L
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Travis L
2 years 5 months ago

You are incorrect on your assessment of positional adjustment.

Doug Lampert
Guest
Doug Lampert
2 years 5 months ago

A league average defending shortstop who hits and runs bases at league average is obviously worth far more than a DH who hits and runs bases at league average.

The short stop is one of the 30 or so best infielders in MLB, and hits every bit as well as the DH since average hitting (unlike defense) is determined based on all position players.

Defensive ratings are runs saved or given up compared to the AVERAGE at the position. Without the positional adjustment the WAR of those two players would be identical.

Positional adjustments are to compensate for the fact that an average defending catcher, short stop, or center fielder (where average is computed based on others at the same position) is simply far more valuable than a league average defending 1st baseman, corner outfielder, or DH (where average is still computed based on others at the same position).

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 5 months ago

IIRC, DH accrues a 20% or so penalty in offense which would show up without adjustment, so a league average everything would be slightly worse due to this.

Leaving that aside, if the league average shorthop has accrued 0 runs of defense (Since a non adjusted DH would be 0), then I don’t see why he is more valuable aside from “he plays shortstop”. After all, it means his positive and his negative have basically cancelled out and he has provided no value over all the balls that have gone his way. Plus, a run is a run, so why is saving 3 runs at 1B less valuable than 3 runs at SS? A 0 at SS is worth 0 runs because it did not accrue any value except for 0, I don’t see how it becomes more valuable than a 0 elsewhere.

I’m not sure adjustments are totally invalid, but the amount is hilariously too high. According to positional adjustment, Miguel Cabrera has been more valuable at 3B the past 2 years than at 1B in 3 of the last 4 years.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

“The short stop is one of the 30 or so best infielders in MLB, and hits every bit as well as the DH since average hitting (unlike defense) is determined based on all position players.”

I would argue that at no point in his career has Jeter been one of the 30 or so best defenders in baseball.

Fantastic baseball player, but one of the worst defensive shortstops of all time.

Doug Lampert
Guest
Doug Lampert
2 years 5 months ago

So it is your contention that if you put a league average DH at short stop he’ll do as well on defense as a league average SS? Or is it your contention that the HUNDREDS of runs an average shortstop saves over a year that would not be saved if the position were being played by the DH have no value because they are average?

League average shortstops are far better at defense than league average other positions. The positional adjustment is an attempt to correct for this, and the method of estimating it is to look at what happens to defensive value when a player moves from one position to another.

Players moving to shortstop who were above average at their old position end up below average over the next few years, utility infielders who are above average at other positions are below average at shortstop, shortstops who move to third base are suddenly much better relative to league average even after you take the difficulty of adjusting to a new position into account.

Being a league average shortstop makes you better than about half the shortstops in the league, and shortstops are among the best defenders in the world, trying to claim that a league average shortstop only saves more runs on defense than a DH and thus has no value is absurd. Were that the case half the teams in the league would be using their DH as a shortstop so as to improve to average.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

See, stuff like this is why Avon ended up selling you out.

Jon L.
Guest
Jon L.
2 years 5 months ago

Or because you murdered his cousin.

Tanned Tom
Guest
Tanned Tom
2 years 5 months ago

The anti-steroid face of baseball for 20 years. I recall numerous polls done over the years asking baseball players which one player would they most want as a teammate, and Jeter always came out first. The respect he is held in by his peers says it all.

Slacker George
Guest
Slacker George
2 years 5 months ago

Coat-“tail” charlies, each and everyone of those polled.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter was a below average defensive SS (and with defense average is replacement level, no difference). His WAR is inflated due to the positional adjustment given to address the fact that SS have more opportunities to make (or in Jeters case not make) plays. Kind of like RBI’s, where players who have more opportunities get more RBI’s.

As a hitter, Jeter was above average, but not elite, who had longevity, and got many IF hits due to the Yankees IF high grass. If he played another position like 3B, where he probably should have played, he would be far less a slam dunk for the HOF. The fact that he has 3000 hits gets him in regardless of position, but WAR’s bias for middle IF’ers should be taken into consideration

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 5 months ago

If you removed all positional adjustment from Jeter, he would move from negative 25.7 to negative 138.8 (Note that this is also keeping him at SS: He would presumably have a higher fielding level at an easier position). FanGraphs says 10 runs = 1 win. The difference between those two numbers is 113.1, so Jeter would lose 11.3 WAR. This means he would still have 62.4 WAR. While not a slam dunk, 62.4 WAR is well within the threshold for being a HoFer. And again, if you take him off SS and move him to 3B he probably has better defensive numbers, so I don’t think it would have done much worse. (Though I do think positional adjustments are pretty wonky right now)

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

I did say he was a HOF’er, just not like the 6th best all time as some were saying

Jon L.
Guest
Jon L.
2 years 5 months ago

Well, pft, you would definitely know more about it than a guy like Dave Cameron. Maybe if he had supported his claims with statistics and arguments, it would be different, but your grasp of the true meaning of positional adjustments trumps him.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

That’s not what the positional adjustment adjusts for. It’s saying that an average SS is a better fielder than an average 2B/3B/CF, and should thus receive a corresponding bonus in defensive value for the purposes of WAR.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Show me how they quantify this? Looks to me like the numbers are a bit arbitrary. At least I can’t find any clear calculation methodology that makes sense.

I also don’t understand if 50% of all WAR is for pitchers, and 50 is also for offensive players, and 15% is for defense , then only 35% is allocated for offense (or is it 43%).

That seems to penalize players who get most of their WAR from offense. Last I checked runs scored were as important as runs saved.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

They’re saying than it’s as defensively valuable to be an average SS as it is to be a +5 2B or 3B.

That seems fair to me, and is a better solution than basing both offense and defense on the positional average, as this allows an apples to apples offensive comparison between players at different positions.

You can quibble with the exact numbers, but the principle is sound.

BobbyJohn
Guest
BobbyJohn
2 years 5 months ago

Dan O’Dowd already on the phone with Cashman working out a trade for Tulowitzki next winter…

Preston
Guest
Preston
2 years 5 months ago

Defensive criticisms of Jeter are overblown. It is a reaction to the fact that the GG seemed to regard him as a great defender. He was below average. But his career UZR 150 is -6.8, and that’s without including his age 22-28 seasons, when he had his greatest range. Hanley Ramirez, Michael Young, and Asdrubal Cabrera have all posted worse career UZR/150 at SS (and Hanley and Asdrubal are both still SS). He looks so bad historically because he’s being compared to TZ, which is not a meaningful stat (I mean really how are they calculating Honus Wagner’s TZ?). Among his peers, rated by the same system, he was bad, but not untenable, and his offense at the position was unquestionably excellent.

Ducky
Guest
Ducky
2 years 5 months ago

Cherry pickin, bottom third of the league defensive shortstop easily? Great Player nonetheless.

Preston
Guest
Preston
2 years 5 months ago

I’m not saying he isn’t bottom third. My point is to the people who say he’s historically bad. His defensive numbers are historically bad because UZR has shown there is more variance in defensive value than TZ showed. Bad defensive SS of the past haven’t been given the proper negative value. So Derek Jeter’s defensive stats are more negative than players from earlier eras. But among his peers he’s only bad, not historically bad.

Victimize
Member
Victimize
2 years 5 months ago

Craziest thing to me is he played his whole career at SS for one team. Most SS get converted to 3B late in their careers (he prolly should of been tho).

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Arod was a better defensive SS. He probably should switched to 3B instead of Arod in 2004.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
2 years 5 months ago

great contact hitter and by all accounts a classy guy. absolutely a 1st ballot HOF.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Lets look at Jeter regardless of position.

Since 1950 Jeter is ranked 85th among all players in BattingRuns from B-Ref BRPI. 285.03. Only 30 of those players who outhit him made the HOF while only 14 who produced less made the HOF. 54 players had more BattingRuns than Jeter and are not in the HOF although some are active and others on the ballot.

So offensively, Jeter is not a clear HOF’er.

He plays a defensively challenging position, but did not play it very well. In fact one can say he was below replacement level if you accept that league average in defense is replacement level. Players make the MLB on the basis of their offense. There are many fine defensive players who languish in the minors or on the bench because they can’t hit.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

“league average in defense is replacement level.”
??????
….
?????

but… that’s not correct. At all.
You could find below replacement-level players overall who would do really well at one particular skill–defense, or base running, or power, or whatever–but that wouldn’t make replacement level in that skill whatever those players could do, because they would suck at everything else. Replacement level refers to the total value offered by high-minor level(s) players, not to one particular skill.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Well, a replacement player is expected to have league average defense, by WAR.

He’s still egregiously incorrect, though.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

wait.. say what? Do I have this wrong?

Or are you saying that a *hypothetical* replacement player could be one who is replacement level with the bat and league average on defense?

from the glossary…
“? Offensive players – Take wRAA, UBR & wSB, and UZR (which express offensive, base running, and defensive value in runs above average) and add them together. Add in a positional adjustment, since some positions are tougher to play than others, and then convert the numbers so that they’re not based on league average, but on replacement level (which is the value a team would lose if they had to replace that player with a “replacement” player – a minor leaguer or someone from the waiver wire).”

Replacement level refers to the total contribution from all skills, not the level of any given skill. A replacement level player could be an amazing defender or a terrible one or a league average one, provided the sum total of their contribution was replacement level. I think. But correct me if I’m wrong.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
2 years 5 months ago

I was pretty sure they assume that a replacement level player is average defensively and 20 (or so) runs below average offensively.

What you said could be right, though. I’m not positive.

Joe
Guest
Joe
2 years 5 months ago

So you don’t see the value of a shortstop who hits, even if he’s not that great at playing it? Move Jeter off of short, and who do you have to plug the hole left behind? Probably some guy who hits like a shortstop, which is generally pretty awful.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter is one of the five greatest offensive SS of all time, by any real standard.

There isn’t a debate about whether or not he deserves to be a first ballot HOF. Intelligent people cannot disagree.

There might be an argument over whether he deserves to be considered in the upper echelon, but to see arguments are pretty much pointless.

Tommy
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Tommy
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks, Dave.

Tim
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Tim
2 years 5 months ago
John
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John
2 years 5 months ago

I think he announced his decision before the season because he saw all the cool stuff Rivera got on his season long farwell tour, I liked the rocking chair out of broken bats myself.

Wonder what odd parting gifts Jeter will get?

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Is the narrative that Jeter was ever considered a great defensive shortstop real, or is it just another strawman narrative invented by the SABR community? A google search of “Jeter + defense” returns tons of articles on Jeter’s defense. They are all negative, and the vast majority come from what the SABR community considers the mainstream media. Many of them even come from NY-based publishers. Finding articles overrating Jeter is about as difficult as finding unicorns… It is a myth that Jeter was ever overrated.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

try searching “Jeter + Gold Glove”

you’ll find some lovely gems, such as the fact that Jeter has more Gold Glove awards than all but 4 shortstops ever–more than Cal Ripken, though Mr. Ripken produced 300+ more runs defensively than Jeter over his career.

I know the Gold Gloves are now more or less meaningless, but they used to be how people measured defensive value in HoF cases and such.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

When I search Jeter and Gold Glove, all the articles that I see are about how he doesn’t deserve them.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

that’s a clever comeback, but I think you are purposefully ignoring the point.

He won 5 GGs. Someone (sportswriters, managers, other players, etc.) thought he was an excellent defender.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Apparently UZR thought Jeter was a good defender in 97, 98, 02, 04, 08, and 09.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

1. In his best year, 2009, he was the 8th best defensive shortstop in the league. That was the only time he could really be considered “good”. In his second best year, 1998, he had the 14th highest DEF value, which is pretty average.

2. Circling back around: Jeter was overrated because:
A) He won 5 GGs, and thus was regarded as among the best at his position defensively (for 5 years!).
B) He deserved at best 1 GG (and that’s a stretch), and generally contributed substantially negative DEF values. From a sabermetric perspective, he was likely a very bad fielder.

(remember, the DEF column includes a positional adjustment of +15 [I think] runs for being a SS. So just cause he had positive value in those years doesn’t mean he was good among shortstops, it means he was good among all players)

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Good call. I was just looking at the Def column, and didnt consider that this includes the positional adjustment.

You should be more circumspect. Jeter was only overrated if UZR is correct and the managers that vote on GG were wrong.

But the question of whether Jeter was actually overrated is one of what most people thought of him. From the beginning of his career his defense was always criticized. He was also considered overrated from the beginning.

In fact, Jeter is probably the most underrated player of all time. He is an inner circle HOFer for whom the majority of the press throughout his career has been about his flaws.

ankle explosion hr celebration
Guest
ankle explosion hr celebration
2 years 5 months ago

the most underrated player of all time?
the article literally says:
“he’s still easily one of the greatest players of all time.”

Despite pft’s groaning, I don’t see many people disagreeing with that. If you still think he’s underrated after that, then you pretty much have to believe that he is a Walking God.

He just happened to come up at a time when SABR was going mainstream, and he was the perfect player to contrast a SABR view with a mainstream view. As it is, I think everyone agrees he’s one of the best (~50-100) players ever.

But if he had actually been as good at defense as non-SABRists said he was, then he would have been a Walking God. He would have been one of the top ~10-20 players ever (a sort of Cal Ripken+). In that sense, he was overrated–at least in that brief time (2005-2009 or so) when he was winnning GGs despite playing mediocre to bad defense.

It’s a silly debate. He was a great player, absolute lock for the HoF, wonderfully and exceptionally free of the scandals that mar so many of these guys. His defense wasn’t that good, and he was caught in the middle of a big SABR vs. Old School debate, and he was rightly criticized for not being as defensively good as he probably could have been (given his exceptional athleticism and so on).
On the other hand, he’s unambiguously one of the all-time greats.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

“You should be more circumspect. Jeter was only overrated if UZR is correct ”

Or DRS, or total zone, pretty much any of the other metrics. They all think he was terrible.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

None of those stats are independent of each other, and at least a few times, the managers thought he was good. We don’t actually know what the real answer is. It is tautological to say that we know the managers are wrong because UZR says so.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Of course, Ripken’s defensive stats are also essentially meaningless, as he never played an inning at SS while UZR existed…

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

A Google search is going to be biased toward A) people who post written articles on the Internet (which skews toward the SABR types) and B) more recent articles (which, again, skew toward the SABR types). It’s not going to show you all the times announcers and newspaper columnists have praised Jeter’s defense over the year.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Announcers comment on the plays that are made. Jeter makes very good plays, and almost never makes mistakes. What would you have them say? “A single through the hole. According to UZR Jeter makes less plays than other shortstops, but we don’t actually know if anyone could have made this specific play.”

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

No, we’d like them to stop telling us that Jeter has fantastic range, when he clearly doesn’t.

Just as we’d like them to stop telling us that David Ortiz can’t hit lefties. Or that Tony Dungy is a good guy. You know, stop telling us things that are obviously not true.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Not even John Sterling, the most biased and dopey of all play by play guys ever, claims that Jeter has fantastic range.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

I remember being told for weeks after the “in the crowd catch” that nobody else in baseball gets to that ball.

I remember him winning gold gloves, and being told “he makes plays no one else does”

Those are both claims that his range is fantastic.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Actually, neither of those are claims that he has fantastic range. Also, both can be true even if his range is poor.

It is possible for Jeter to have good range on popups and bad range on grounders. In fact, in Jeter’s case, it is almost certainly the case.

No one else makes the jump play. …mainly because there are easier ways to go about it. But no one else makes it. Obviously no one else makes “the flip”.

It is likely bias that makes people think that because Jeter is bad at some aspects of defense, he is bad at all of them. He isn’t.

AynRand'ssocialsecurity#
Guest
AynRand'ssocialsecurity#
2 years 5 months ago

I kind of think of him as a SS version of Mike Piazza (simply as players not how the media portrayed them). Both played average to below average defense at very difficult positions but provided plus (and sometimes plus plus) offense at those positions to more than make up for it. Both seem like 1st ballot HOFers as well.

larry
Guest
larry
2 years 5 months ago

Mike Piazza loves you for this comment. Not even close. Piazza was a terrible defensive catcher and that never won anything. I know ppl around here dont also value it, but winning means something. That why people love Jeter, bc he was leader and winner. Cant say the same about Piazza

Aaron
Guest
Aaron
2 years 5 months ago

Not that he did anything wrong, but I wonder if he would have been the same player if he was brought up by, say the KC Royals. Jeter had everything he could ever want with the Yankees: annual playoff team, best possible pay, large fanbase. He never had a reason to want to leave NYY. Would being brought up in another location have changed his attitude?

Trenchtown
Member
Trenchtown
2 years 5 months ago

You can’t really blame Alex Rodriguez for moving off shortstop. If defensive talent were the only consideration, Derek Jeter is the one who should have moved. In this case Rodriguez was actually the team player who changed positions even though he was better.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

Another thing about Jeter: it is gospel around here that the Yankees made the wrong decision moving Arod to 3rd instead of Jeter. We know how this played out! We know for certain the Yankees made the right decision because we know that Arod’s body gave out on him a long time ago and he would have never been capable of playing shortstop. Hell, he was a minus defender at 3rd from the beginning. …funny how giant steroid monsters don’t tend to age well at the difficult infield positions.

Ian R.
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Uh. A-Rod’s UZR in his first year at third base was +9.1. One-year defensive metrics are flawed, of course, but he was not a minus defender at third “from the very beginning.” (Indeed, UZR/150 says he’s been basically a scratch defender at third base for his career, and his 3B years obviously only include the decline portion of his career.)

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
2 years 5 months ago

UZR is basically a meaningless stat. I watched him play from the beginning. Great hands. Great, accurate arm. Terrible on anything above the shoulders. Cement feet.

But obviously that is just my opinion, which has about as much value as UZR (i.e. none). In any case, we know for certain that Arod would not have been able to handle SS, and that is the point. Nitpick about the unknowable all you want, but don’t ignore the things we actually know.

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 5 months ago

Jeter will be a deserving hall-of-famer, but I’m sick of the constant accolades about his character and personality. Everything about his attitude reminds me of the kid in school who sucks up to his parents and teachers by pretending to be a goody-two-shoes, but will stick out his tongue at you when they’re not looking.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But it always seemed like he took what should have been routine plays and tried to make them look difficult and amazing. The “running-into-the-stands” play is a good example; even if it wasn’t exactly routine, he made it far more melodramatic than it needed to be. Jeter is a defensive drama queen.

It also doesn’t help that he breaks into that sly, obnoxious smirk all the time when he’s playing.

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