The New (Old) Derek Jeter

2008 looked like the beginning of the end for Derek Jeter. His OPS dipped below .800 for only the second time this decade, his ISO fell off, and his home run rate dropped. Maybe he was simply melancholy about the old Yankee Stadium closing, but Jeter didn’t look like a sure thing to produce like … well Derek Jeter. ZiPS projected a .354 wOBA, CHONE a .349 wOBA, and Marcel a .353 wOBA. As it turns out, that new park may be the best thing to happen to Jeter in a while.

Most players hit better at their home park, and Jeter is doing just that. Everyone has talked about how the new Yankees Stadium is a hitters’ park and the affect applies to Jeter too:

Home: .320/.401/.495 9 HR
Away: .322/.395/.415 2 HR

Jeter actually has a higher BABIP on the road, a higher walk rate, and a lower strikeout rate, yet his power is really shooting up in the new Yankee palace. Oddly, Jeter’s only other full-time right-handed batting teammate, Alex Rodriguez, isn’t seeing similar results, or at least he doesn’t on the surface. His BABIP is only .161, yet his line is .209/.358/.535. Only 6 of 19 home runs have come on the road, despite about split playing time.

As a team the Yankees are batting .273/.360/.487 at home and .278/.357/.452 on the road. So while a lot has been made of the park, the main difference does indeed appear to be home runs hit. 53 in 1,866 plate appearances on the road and 91 in 2,015 plate appearances at home. Or, in percentage form: 2.8% versus 4.5%. So the park seems to be making a difference in home run rates, although I’ll leave the park factors to the people smarter than myself.

Assuming Jeter doesn’t under perform his projections, he has the chance at a five win season. That seemed relatively unlikely entering the year.



Print This Post





Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Nick
Guest
Nick

The new park may help a bit, but there’s a bigger issue that’s helping him this year. Last year around May, Jeter was hit in the wrist by a pitch. After that, until around September, he was AWFUL. I think he hit like .230 with a ton of GIDPs. He’s just so stubborn that he refused to sit down, even though it was a detriment to the team.

Andy S
Guest
Andy S

No, he continued to hit .300, but with zero power. I know we’d all like to blame Daniel Cabrera for Jeter’s 2008, but let’s be honest, that probably was a cause for 2-3 weeks of troubles, because he started heating up after that and then slumping again.

The real ? here is how Jeter’s defense has improved. I know small sample size, but still, it will be interesting to see if he can maintain it. I hope not; I don’t want Jeter getting any more ideas that he’s great at shortstop, making it tougher to move him to an OF position.

Michael
Guest

To be honest, I don’t think Jeter keeps track of his UZR/150. It’d be nice though.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

ever been hit in the hand by a pitch? odd’s are no, not by a major league fastball.

his hand was broken, anyone watching him play could see that he was not healthy for 2 months after daniel cabrera plunked him. yet people were quick to put him in the “decline” bin. yankee brass put him on a new workout program to help his lateral movement int he field, which is directly tied to his UZR improvements, but the difference in batting is solely due to being able to use both hands.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R

As much as we tend to hate on Jeter, his longevity at a middle infield spot is absolutely insane.

2078 games, 9,532 PA’s, NEVER played anything but SS. Only played under 145 games once since 1996. And unlike Cal Ripken Jr. who was pretty much in decline mode by age 32, Jeter still looks fairly strong. Props where due.

Xavier
Guest
Xavier

“No, he continued to hit .300, but with zero power. I know we’d all like to blame Daniel Cabrera for Jeter’s 2008, but let’s be honest, that probably was a cause for 2-3 weeks of troubles, because he started heating up after that and then slumping again.”

You don’t think getting hit on the hand sapped him of a good bit of his power? Add to that his lingering hamstring issues, and instead of a .315 hitter with good speed and some pop, you have an empty .300 hitter.

“The real ? here is how Jeter’s defense has improved. I know small sample size, but still, it will be interesting to see if he can maintain it. I hope not; I don’t want Jeter getting any more ideas that he’s great at shortstop, making it tougher to move him to an OF position.”

His legs seem to be healthier than they have been in a while, which explains a good bit of his newfound range up the middle, as well as his 18 stolen bases this season (after going a fairly terrible 11-16 last year). Another, perhaps more readily apparent cause is going from Giambi to Teixiera. Jeter and Cano only have 7 errors between them this year, and while their range isn’t anything special, they both rate high in terms of sure-handedness. Some of that credit, I imagine, has to be going from a terrible defensive first baseman to a very good one.

Lee Panas
Guest

I think Jeter’s defensive improvement is real. He was OK last year too so that’s a 1 1/2 year sample. Anecdotally, he’s playing deeper than he used to which may help him get to more balls. Seriously, I do think the Yankees pay attention to UZR or whatever close cousin their stat department uses and I think that may be the reason for his change in positioning. With all the publicity surrounding his defensive problems, they would have been crazy not to look into it.

Lee

Chris
Guest
Chris

It was about a month that he couldn’t hit because of the wrist injury:

Before May 20, 2008: .312/.351/.427/.778
May 21 thru June 17: .212/.291/.298/.589
June 18 thru end of season: .322/.391/.433/.824

He had a hamstring injury early in the season which I believe contributed to his slow start, but after June 18 he was basically at his career norms.

wpDiscuz