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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.