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Derek Jeter now has more Gold Glove awards than all but four shortstops in baseball history

Nov 9, 2010, 3:54 PM EDT

Mark Texeira, Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter has never fared well in advanced defensive statistics, typically ranking somewhere between below average and awful. He also now has five Gold Glove awards and a legion of Yankees fans who’ll swear he’s a great defender, so clearly not everyone cares about defensive statistics.

And that’s fine, but the notion that Jeter, at age 36, was the best defensive shortstop in the American League this season is simply absurd, whether you love defensive statistics, hate defensive statistics, or merely prefer the Ultimate Warrior to Ultimate Zone Rating.

Derek Jeter is a lot of things, including one of the best players of this era and a deserving future Hall of Famer, but he’s not the best defensive shortstop in the American League. He just isn’t. This is as close to a fact as something relatively subjective can get.

As for who was the AL’s best defensive shortstop, Ultimate Zone Rating says Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox and The Fielding Bible electorate agreed. There’s also Cliff Pennington, J.J. Hardy, Cesar Izturis, Elvis Andrus, and … well, the list of shortstops who’re better than Jeter defensively is a long one. And yet Jeter now has more Gold Glove awards than every shortstop in the history of baseball save for Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparicio, and Mark Bellanger. Seriously.

I stopped being shocked or even especially frustrated by the Gold Glove voting somewhere between Rafael Palmeiro winning the award at first base in 1999 despite playing a grand total of 28 games in the field and Jeter winning three in a row from 2004-2006. In fact, at this point I’m far more surprised about this year’s winners at the other eight positions being mostly deserving than I am about Jeter winning yet another completely undeserved award.

  1. poorwalt - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Quit crying, Gleeman. Jeter deserves a gold glove every season for the rest of his career after Morneau stole that MVP from him in ’06. They might as well combine this award with the silver slugger as it generally goes to a player with a good bat anyway.

  2. okobojicat - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    So you say he deserves it and give a bullshit reason. And then you say its pointless. What a great argument there.

    Jeter honestly sucks defensively now. He gets to significantly fewer balls than someone with a comparable amount of playing time. He creates less outs than a replacement player. He belongs at 1B or or 2B, not at SS. The Yanks are making a HUGE mistake by giving him a third and fourth year. Give him two with a team option. And have him come in as a special advisor to Cashman and stay within the fold forever. But he’s going to be a HUGE drag on the team come 2013.

    • poorwalt - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:33 PM

      Eesh, take it easy, chief. Bringing up a Twins reference for Gleeman and making a brief passerby comment.

      But yes, the award is pointless if you pay any attention as to who it’s been awarded to. Many of them are undeserving from a purely defensive perspective.

      • okobojicat - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:34 PM

        Alright, I guess I missed your sarcasm. Sorry about that.

        But anyone who really thinks Jeter deserved that 2006 award is full of BS. Give it to Sizemore or Mauer.

  3. Jason @ IIATMS - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    I know by definition I am amongst the legion of Yankee fans and Jeter fans, but I don’t think we all blindly “swear that Jeter is a great defender” notion.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 9, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Let’s face it: Gold gloves are an advertisement for a product…Rawlings Baseball Gloves. You can click a link to buy a glove on the announcement page. It was created by a sales manager of a company trying to sell their product, not to create a sacred hall of defensive metrics. Do you think Alexei Ramirez would sell more gloves? Elvis Andrus? The only silly thing here is the amount of hand wringing done every year about the winners.

  5. hoops007 - Nov 9, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Whats even more entertaining about Jeter winning this award is that generally you can be awful in the field but win the award for offense. He was simply average in that department as well. Why don’t you just give all the gold glove awards to Yankees and Red Sox to make the big markets happy and just call this award what it is, a sham. He isn’t in the top 5 of defense in the AL and is barely able to stay in the top 10, if he can even do that.

  6. bringbacktorre - Nov 9, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    For all you “fans’ who just can’t say anything good about Derek Jeter, chomp on this

    – 5 time World Series champ
    – ROY
    – All-Star MVP
    – World Series MVP
    – 5 time Golden Glover
    – 4 time Silver Slugger
    – Hank Aaron award, Roberto Clemente award
    – Yankee captain
    – perennial all-star
    – lifetime .314 BA
    – on target for 3000 career hits
    – 7 times in top 10 of MVP voting

    … and despite being one of the most well-known athletes in America and playing for the best franchise in sports in the media capital of the world, there has never been even a remote hint of scandal; in fact, even when morons like A-Rod and Big Papi have attacked him, Jeter has always taken the high road; complain all you want about his defensive skills, but this is the guy you want your kids to have as a role model.

    • docktorellis - Nov 9, 2010 at 10:38 PM

      the article clearly states that jeter is a future HOFer and a stand-up player, one of the best of his era. and i bet he would make a great role model for my kids, as you so relevantly put it. but he wouldn’t be the model of superior defense at shortstop for those same kids. the article simply made the statement that Jeter was not deserving of the award for best defense at SS for the AL. in conclusion, your stupidity wins you the gold helmet, awarded to those who most should be wearing one. in public. at all times.

    • mtner77 - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:42 AM

      “- 5 time World Series champ
      – ROY
      – All-Star MVP
      – World Series MVP
      – 5 time Golden Glover
      – 4 time Silver Slugger
      – Hank Aaron award, Roberto Clemente award
      – Yankee captain
      – perennial all-star
      – lifetime .314 BA
      – on target for 3000 career hits
      – 7 times in top 10 of MVP voting”


      And all THAT makes him the best SS in the AL THIS YEAR?

      Blind, drunk, AND stupid is no way to go through life son. Sober up!

  7. bringbacktorre - Nov 9, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    Hey doc

    Thanks for your insight. Now you’re my role model. If I have to wear the hat, can I borrow yours or is it permanently attached?

  8. johnnynewguy - Nov 10, 2010 at 11:50 AM


    I realize you might feel slighted because someone made a joke at you. Get over it. I really hope that you got more out of Docs comment than his slam of you. If you didn’t, then you are probably the reason that I call ESPN the Extra Special Peoples Network. If you did then great. Again no one is saying Jeter is a bad person or not a Hall of Famer. We are saying that he is bad at defense.

  9. bigbbfan - Nov 10, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    In all my many years of following major league baseball this is the worst award ever. Jeter is absolutely horrible as a defensive player, no range, weak arm, errant throws. He is in the bottom two or three in the league. If he possessed so much class as he is credited with he would refuse the award….what a travesty!!!

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