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An illustrated analysis of Derek Jeter’s defense

Aug 27, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

Jeter error

I link this Ben Lindbergh piece at Grantland not to mock Derek Jeter‘s defense, but because the approach here — with heavy use of Gifs and infographics — is a really cool way to look at defense in general. As Lindbergh puts it, it meshes the old fashioned eye-test — which usually helps Jeter’s case — with some advanced metrics.

People already know that Jeter is not and never has been a strong defender and those who doubt it aren’t the sorts to be persuaded by silly things like evidence. But what this does do is take the defensive discussion out of the realm of extremely-flawed defensive metrics and literally shows us what people are talking about when they talk about the player’s defensive strengths or weaknesses. And there are strengths, even if Jeter has been poor on the whole.

None of this is particularly helpful from a data analysis perspective — it would take an awful long time to write up these sorts of defense stories for everyone and you still don’t have data sets you can compare — but it is pretty spiffy and probably tells us more than anything else on the matter can.

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. pjm1120 - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Since when is 5 gold gloves a “poor defender”.

    • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Ask Raffy about the GG he won while he was a DH…

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Ask Mike Bordick about the Gold Glove.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Jeter is off to a good start tonight with 2 hits. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Cano was hit on the hand and it might be broken.

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        If Cano is out, that will be the 5th time this season a Yankee has missed time due to being hit by a pitch. And it’s not bad luck. For some reason, it has been the Yankees policy since the Joe Torre era that they never, ever, retaliate when their batters get hit. In the game where the Red Sox beaned Arod, the unreported story is that THREE other Yankees got beaned in that game. Every pitcher in the majors knows that they can throw inside at Yankee hitters with absolute impunity because the Yankees will under no circumstances ever retaliate. Ever.

      • nbjays - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        Yet despite this “fact”, Yankee hitters still continue to hang out over the plate.

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        Guys getting hit on the hands is not being thrown at…it is usually just being thrown inside and the hitter’s failure to recognize the pitch early enough to get out of the way…or just doing a poor job of getting out of the way.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Inside pitch. Cano started to swing and then checked his swing. He made no effort to get out of the way. Certainly not a deliberate attempt to hit him..

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        You mean like David Ortiz who basically stands on top of the plate but never gets hit?

      • eatitfanboy - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        Not sure where I said these pitchers were deliberately trying to hit players. If you read my original comment, I said that pitchers know the can “throw inside” at Yankee hitters with impunity. This may come as a shock to you, but teams that have a reputation for retaliating when their guys get hit, intentionally or unintentionally, don’t get backed off the plate as often. Ask David Ortiz. He practically straddles the plate, but pitchers don’t come in on him because they know what will happen if they do.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:18 PM

        X-Rays negative.

    • jefferydfcastro - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      my roomate’s mom makes $84/hr on the laptop. She has been fired for 9 months but last month her paycheck was $13128 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site…

  2. braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Gee, Jeter isn’t very good defensively. Maybe we can take away his 5 World Series rings.

    I always get a kick out of people who go out of their way to expose how average or bad Jeter is defensively. Dude has 5 WS rings and is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT HIS DEFENSE. He’s already accomplished what every player dreams of, so trashing his defense just seems like an empty and petty gesture.

    • DJ MC - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      It’s comments like this (and the one above invoking the Gold Gloves) which try to throw out reasonable discussion and intelligent analysis for, essentially, “Scoreboard!” that bring on much stronger assaults on certain players (Derek Jeter and Jack Morris being the most notable). And attacking in return is just going to make it worse because it lowers the number of people that will want to remain on your side.

      I’m perfectly willing to listen to an argument that Jeter’s defense is balanced out (and then some) by his offensive production–in fact, I tend to agree with that–and if you want to bring intangibles into that…I won’t agree but at least I can find a starting place for a conversation. But offering a screed about counting his rings? That’s nothing but an empty gesture. Possibly petty as well.

      • Alex K - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:19 PM


        That might be the single best reply that could have been made to someone yelling “SCOREBOARD!”.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        You don’t understand my point at ALL. Retroactively stating a player is bad defensively, whether true or not, is petty and hollow when that player is one of the best players of all-time who has 5 World Series rings and too many playoff records to count. I’ll ask you and you won’t answer, but when all is said and done, what does Jeter’s defense matter when he has 5 rings and Hall of Fame offensive stats with many playoff records. His legacy is his offensive prowess at the SS position, 5 WS rings and countless playoff records. You can tell me all day long about how bad he is/was defensively, but who do you think had a better career, Ozzie Smith or Derek Jeter. It’s hollow and petty nonsense.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Ok I’ll bite. When I say Jeter is not an elite defender (I would not say poor defender, he does play the hardest defensive position after all), it is not meant to belittle him. That many fans immediately take such statements as an insult to Jeter is part of the problem. Personally, I want the assessment of a player’s defense, offense, and base running when I try to decide how good a player really is. Ozzie was a superior defensive shortstop to Jeter. Jeter is superior to Ozzie offensively. Jeter has more rings because he has been on better teams–granting that he’s a big part of that. Jeter absolutely will and should be a Hall of Famer the moment he’s eligible.

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:34 PM

        See Brad, now THERE is a strawman. No one even implied that Ozzie Smith (or SS) had a better career than Jeter did, saying that Jeter had a better career is irrelevant to the point about Jeter’s defense, which has been average in his best years and below average to horrible the rest of the time….very well done indeed.

        No where in that argument is it even implied that Jeter was not a great baseball player or that Jeter is not a sure fire HOFer, or a top 3 all-time SS…all of which everyone would probably agree with….the discussion is only about Jeter’s defense and understanding how good it was or was not…that isn’t petty, it is simply evaluation.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        I wonder where the long articles are about Ozzie Smith’s offense…

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        Is he still playing?

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        No one ever tried to present Ozzie’s offense as something that it was not…..funniest and most ironic comment in this whole thread is where you refer to yourself as intelligent…good stuff.

        Instead of the blind rage thing you have going on, why don’t you actually take the time to read the Grantland piece to understand what the point of the article was (and the point was NOT that Jeter’s defense was bad)…you might learn something…or just stay angry, either way.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        Oh, okay. Then where is the article or person saying Jeter is a good or better defender that this article was a response to. I’ll be waiting. You can keep the “personal” attacks coming. I understand that it’s all you have.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        Then where is the article or person saying Jeter is a good or better defender that this article was a response to.

        You know the guy won 5 gold gloves, right? Hence, an article discussing him not actually being very good at defense.

    • ricardorobertasq - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      And Robert Horry has 7 NBA championships, so he must be better than Jordan, Kobe or Lebron.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Yes, but St. Jeter won those 5 World Series all by himself. The Yankee pitchers and other hitters contributed nothing to those wins.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        Idiotic nonsense. Jeter is a Hall of Fame player even without 5 rings, Horry isn’t. Your argument is just a stupid and lame strawman argument.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        lol No one said he won 5 Championships all by himself. Keep reaching. Clearly he played “good enough” shortstop to help his team win 5 World Series, huh. But let’s just ignore all that and keep talking about his sub-par defense. Since it’s clearly a strawman brigade in this thread, I’ll just add mine. You can have Omar Vizquel and I’ll take Derek Jeter, deal?

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        ALL RIGHT!!!! Two real, live strawmen in the same thread. Again, no one is arguing about the HOF, you used a red herring in your argument, that league titles somehow mean that defense is irrelevant and the league titles themselves invalidate any counter-argument. Ricardo was just making fun of you.

        Saying Jeter would be a HOFer without the rings is strawman because it is presented as a refutation to a point that is not in contention. The point is that Jeter’s defense has been bad to horrible throughout his career, not that his bad defense makes him unworthy of the HOF ( again, no one said that).

        You are very good at building strawmen yourself, now….just learn to identify them, and you are all set. Good luck.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM


      It isn’t all or nothing. I don’t trash Jeter’s defense but when honestly discussing his career, the player he is, it has to be mentioned that he isn’t a great defender.

      No, he still gets his world series rings etc… but he was one of 25 men. Like another poster said below, Robert Horry has 7 rings yet he’s far from a superstar. There are many other lesser players on those Yankee teams who have rings too.

      One may be reasonable, honest in the way they discuss any of the stars in any sports. I mean Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl and Trent Dilfer did yet no one will say that Dilfer is better than Marino as a QB. So in this same way, just because one has rings doesn’t mean they may not have their career or talents discussed in a negative light.

      Jeter has strengths and weaknesses and just because he won 5 rings doesn’t mean we can’t talk about his weaknesses…

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        I haven’t said that Jeter is good or great defensively, so anyone coming at me as if I don’t know what I’m talking about is a moron. My point is, his defense doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Players play to win championships, which Jeter has 5x more of than the large majority of players will ever have. You can tell me all day long how bad he is defensively and I will ask “So what?” all day long.

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Um, good for you? The question I have is why do you have such a big problem with *other people* discussing Jeter’s defense? It may be a “so what?” to you but obviously it is a topic others like to discuss. Feel free to not take part in that discussion. Jeter is a truly great, first ballot HOF offensive shortshop. He’s also arguably the worst defensive shortstop of his era. He can be both, and one half of that does not diminish the other or vice versa.

        Mike Piazza was a terrible defensive catcher. He’s also one of the greatest catchers who ever played the game and should be a first ballot HOFer.

        See how that’s done?

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        Let all the idiots duke it out over meaningless nitpicks. That actually sounds great. I wish I would have never entered this idiocy. The best part is that Craig hates it when people trash PED users, bet here he his, nitpicking one of the most accomplished players in history’s defense. lol What a twisted sense of reality.

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Nelso Cruz agrees. Defense doesn’t matter, that never won anyone and championships.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        Where’s the long articles breaking down PIazza’s defense then? lol Is it because he never won a World Series and Jeter has 5, that no one trashes his defense relentlessly for the entirety of time?

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Um, during Piazza’s career there were dozens and dozens of articles about how much he was hurting his teams defensively, how he would be better if he moved to 1B or DH, etc etc. It was routinely discussed. Did you somehow miss all that? I didn’t. I was a big fan of the guy. I think he’s right up there with Yogi as far as offensive catchers go. I also think his defense sucked, he couldn’t throw out base stealers to save his life, and that the critics were likely correct that he’d have been better at first or DH.

        There is nothing wrong with taking great player and clarifying exactly what they were great at, and what they were not so great at. Jeter is one of the best offensive shortstops of all time. He’s also one of the worst defensive ones. Why is that somehow not supposed to be discussed when talking about his career?

      • jwbiii - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        Where’s the long articles breaking down PIazza’s defense then?

        It’s in the 2009 Hardball Times Annual, written by Craig Wright. His conclusion was that Piazza’s arm was awful but that the remainder of his skills brought him up to slightly above average.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        You know how to win an argument against braddavery? Don’t bother. Argue with your dog instead. Your dogs quizzical looks and random barks provide far more intelligent feedback then any of the nonsense braddavery continues to spit out on every single thread.

    • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      What idiotic claptrap.

      So Jeter’s 5 rings means we can’t even discuss his defense without people like you trying to shout us down?

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        Go ahead and keep harping on the one negative aspect of his game. What fun lives you people must lead to come on the internet and nitpick one of the most successful careers in baseball history. It’s funny because many of the same people get on others who trash players for PED use… then cum all over their keyboards while nitpicking Jeter’s defense.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        The time-honored act of evaluating ALL aspects of ALL players abilities (particularly great players) has existed for far longer than before the internet was invented (ever listened to sports radio?).

        You’re obviously a Jeter fanboy who mentally collapses when someone critiques your hero, and you’re coming off as absolutely pathetic in this thread.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        I’m not a Yankees fan and I’m no Jeter fanboy. I’m just intelligent enough to understand what people are really doing when they take time out of their days to nitpick an all-time great’s extremely successful career.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Very successful, but not perfect.

        I suppose in your opinion Ted Williams was a failure because he won no rings.

        That’s no more unreasonable than the bogus argument you’re proffering.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        lol Give me a break. I have already stated that Jeter is a HOFer even without ONE World Series victory, so the Ted Williams strawman is just pure nonsense. Ted Williams is 10x the hitter Jeter is.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        Ah, you’re one of those types that will just continue to move the goalposts.

        We’re discussing the merits of Jeter’s defense irrespective or his hitting or titles.

        You don’t want to even debate it. You’d prefer to shut it down by acting hysterical and shouting people down.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        I’m not the one comparing Derek Jeter to Ted Williams, you are. Talk about “moving the goalposts”…

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        I used Williams as an extreme example to highlight the fraudulent foolishness of the frothing, crazed argument you’re belching forth.

        You think Jeter’s five rings shields him from any criticism of any aspect of his play whatsoever.

        You literally think there is NOTHING about Derek Jeter that can be debated because he’s won five rings.

        So by that logic, Ted Williams is a ring-less bum whose career can be dissected at length until his greatness is inevitably diminished by delving into every little-known SABREmetric stat that exists.

        One follows the other.

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM

        No. I’m simply saying that Jeter was good enough defensively to not HURT his team and his offensive prowess and clutch hitting withers his bad defense enough to warrant not putting so much bearing on it… proven by the fact that his teams won 5 World Series’. If he was SOOO bad, his team would be hurt by him playing. Prove me wrong.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:32 AM

        That’s NOT what you were saying initially.

        Let me break it down for you:

        – Jeter is one of the greatest hitters of all-time
        – He’s a fantastic teammate and a proven leader
        – He has had a pretty much storybook career and is a first-ballot HOFer, guaranteed

        I say all this as a Red Sox fan. I think he’s great…I’m gonna miss him when he’s gone…HOWEVER:

        – He is an AVERAGE fielder, at best; at worst, substandard

        I agree with you that his (at times) poor fielding didn’t any way negate the positives I listed above.

        But that’s NOT what you said initially. If you had, I’d have agreed with you. You were overly-belligerent and picked fights with people who probably agreed with you.

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:39 AM

        Well, if that’s how you see it…

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:41 AM

        I really don’t come here to argue…if it happens, it happens, but I’d prefer it not to.

        Jeter’s awesome. Let’s just leave it at that. I still say he’s not the fielder he’s sometimes portrayed as though.

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:46 AM

        I guess I don’t see very many people touting him as a good to great fielder, enough to think it’s a problem that needs to be expounded upon in great detail for years and years anyway. Most who know baseball understand what Derek Jeter is and what he isn’t.

      • largebill - Aug 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        “braddavery – Aug 27, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        I’m not the one comparing Derek Jeter to Ted Williams, you are. Talk about “moving the goalposts”…”

        which would be fine except two posts earlier you said:

        “braddavery – Aug 27, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        lol Give me a break. I have already stated that Jeter is a HOFer even without ONE World Series victory, so the Ted Williams strawman is just pure nonsense. Ted Williams is 10x the hitter Jeter is. ”

        I understand you have issues with nitpicking, but saying “Williams is 10x the hitter Jeter is” pretty much meets the definition of comparing them.

    • erbaodai - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Ted Williams is a top 5-7 player of all-time and way better than Jeter, and he’s a bad defender.

    • erbaodai - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      braddavery you have to understand this is not “about the grand scheme”. This is purely about defense.

    • nbjays - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      So Jeter has 5 World Series rings…

      Ralph Houk (as a player)
      Charlie Silvera
      Charlie Keller
      Bob Cerv

      Recognize any of those luminous stars in the Yankee firmament?

      They each have 6 World Series rings. Ergo, they are each better than Derek Jeter.

      /braddavery logic

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        lol That’s not my logic at ALL. That’s all you, buddy.

  3. rbj1 - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    There’s a reason us Yankee fans usually have a big plate of pastadivingjeter most nights.

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I just love the way Jeter flashes the leather at ground balls as they go past him into the outfield. Such elegance. Such grace. Pure gold.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      He’s gotta keep those hands perfect so he may continue to make up gift baskets for the ladies…

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        Word has it the Ray McKigney character from the classic Seinfeld “hand model” episode was based on Jeter.

  5. shaggylocks - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Derek Jeter has won 5 Gold Gloves and 5 World Series, so obviously any critique you have of him is invalid.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Some people missed your sarcasm.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    This is horseshit.

    It doesn’t even take into account his ability to go into the stands to catch a foul ball like he did that one time against the Red Sox.

    And HELLOOOOO…..Throwing out Jeremy Giambi on a relay anybody?


    • js20011041 - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      Why is it never pointed out that Giambi was safe on that play?

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Jeter gets the benefit of the doubt because his throwing hand is weighted down by all those rings!

        BOOM! Argument OVER!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        Because he wasn’t

  7. heyblueyoustink - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    No gift basket for you!

  8. ckhoss29 - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I just love how people say, well how does he have 5 gold gloves, it makes me laugh. At least 2 were earned when Omar Vizquel was with the Indians, nobody was better than him then, but because he played in a smaller market and didnt have the offensive numbers Jeter did, the voters took them away from him.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      The gold glove vote is a popularity contest and cannot be taken seriously. On the other hand, Jeter won those World Series victories all by himself, without the help of his team mates.

    • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      You think Omar Vizquel would trade his Gold Gloves for Jeter’s 5 World Series winning career, or do you think playing good defense means more than winning Championships, like many here seem to think?

      • buddaley - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        You seem to think that discussing Jeter’s defensive weakness is necessarily an attack on his HOF candidacy or a personal attack on the player. I imagine in many cases it is. There are certainly irrational anti-Jeter fans out there just as there are fans who think he is practically a deity so that any criticism of him is heresy or blasphemy.

        But while you may not be interested, there is good reason to evaluate his defense. It is an effort to create a fuller picture of the player. It is an effort to use a high profile player to consider just how to evaluate defense. It is an effort to consider the true legitimacy of Gold Glove awards. There are many interesting and useful considerations when thinking of a shortstop’s defensive qualities.

        I think Babe Ruth is the greatest player in baseball history, but that does not stop me from asking whether his character was a plus or minus on his teams or to wonder whether there is a way to measure his fielding and base running prowess. And if I read an analysis that indicates he was a poor base runner (I don’t say he was), I do not object to the existence of such an analysis. I embrace it as a good starting point to research further.

        So as much as I admire Jeter, reading negative reviews of his defense provides me with a fuller, more balanced picture of him without in the least diminishing my respect for his impact on the Yankees’ success. The more information and thoughtful analysis I have, the more I enjoy the game.

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:59 AM

        I respect this post. Thank you.

      • largebill - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        “You think Omar Vizquel would trade his Gold Gloves for Jeter’s 5 World Series winning career, or do you think playing good defense means more than winning Championships, like many here seem to think?”

        No one has said anything remotely close to what you are claiming people think. Personally, I think in some cases defense is overrated, but it is part of the total picture of a player.

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        I guess it’s a glass half empty or full thing. I would rather discuss all the great things Jeter has accomplished than how bad his defense is.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    There are two reasons why Jeter is the only 38 year old shortstop in baseball:

    (1) It is exceedingly difficult to play shortstop for a person in his peak years, let alone in his “decline phase.” Te fact that Jeter has maintained enough skill to be a viable option at his position at his age is quite a testament to his talent, conditioning and work ethic, as the article points out.

    (2) .313/.381/.447/.828. That is a damned good career line from any position, let alone a shortstop. If he gives back a bit on defense, he still comes out way ahead.

    As Michael Kay frequently points out, Jeter may not be the kind of SS people “ooh” and “aah” over, but he quite dependably converts balls hit near him into outs.

    Frankly, I was struck in the Ryan clips by how many of those plays did not actually require his assistance. It is impressive that he could cut in front of the third- baseman or second-baseman to make a play, but on many of those, the other fielder WOULD have made the play had Ryan not done so. So while that is nice for Ryan’s highlight reel, him making the play instead of the other fielder making the play does not seem to add as much value to the team as Ryan’s defensive metrics might indicate. At the very least, it is an example of severely diminishing returns. When combined with a career slash line of .238/.300/.320/.620, the overall package certainly pales in comparison.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Bravo! You stated the pro Jeter case vey well. I may disagree with you in that I think that he lets too many ground balls go by him, but your comment was well thought out and well reasoned. Nicely done. And yes, he does belong in the Hall of Fame.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        Even beyond the offense + defense, one should consider the opportunity cost of the 25 man roster. Jeter has certainly been a good enough defender throughout his career that he did not require a defensive caddy, which meant that the team only needed to dedicate 1 roster spot to a natural SS, leaving 24 open to cover whatever other strengths and weaknesses the team had. Sure, they needed a reserve infielder who could play short, but they did not REQUIRE a Brendan Ryan to take a spot that could otherwise be taken with a Rueben Sierra, a second lefty in the pen, an additional long man, or someone else who could be counted on to contribute to the team in other ways.

        Also, I would like to see Jeter compared to an ‘average’ fielder at SS. Sure, Ryan is better, but Ryan might be a better defensive player than any other human being alive on the planet right now…without hyperbole. Ryan’s Defense>Jeter’s Defense is not a particularly profound or illustrative statement, because you could put any name on the right side of the symbol and it would probably still be true. If Ryan’s level of play was what we should expect out of a replacement SS, there would be a solid argument against Jeter playing SS. In Jeter’s absence this season, we Yankee fans had the opportunity to watch several decent players fill in, and none allowed us to stop missing Jeter on either side of the ball.

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        Perfectly done Sabathia. Absolutely agree with you, and this is a great way to evaluate Jeter in context.

      • eightyraw - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

        @Sabathia… WRT comparing Jeter to average SS

        Tom Tango (and others) have conducted With or Without You’s on Derek Jeter. His defense rated several std dev below the mean. Unfortunately The Book Blog is no longer indexed, so I can’t find the specific article where is this laid out.

      • eightyraw - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:31 PM

  10. braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    ‘Let’s ignore the 5 World Series rings and all the great things Jeter has done offensively and in the playoffs and focus on the one negative thing about his game.’ – pathetic haters with nothing better to do

    • Liam - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      Jeter debuted for the Yankees when I was six. I’ve never stepped on a baseball field wearing a number other than two. I insisted on playing shortstop for as long as coaches would let me. I barely resisted crying the day he reached 3,000 hits, I will cry during his retirement press conference, and only my untimely death can prevent me from being in Cooperstown the day he is inducted. I am as far from being a Derek Jeter “hater” as one can be. All of that said, Derek Jeter is a poor defender.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Other than a few who are less knowledgeable, I don’t see anyone saying he’s a good defender. I just don’t get this stuff. I don’t see any long articles breaking down Mike Piazza’s terrible defense. Why is that? Is it because Jeter has 5 rings, that people need to try and knock him down a peg? I don’t believe that’s it’s simply light-hearted discussion.

      • Liam - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        You’re asking why, in 2013, you don’t see any articles discussing the defensive shortcomings of Mike Piazza, who retired in 2007?

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        You mean like this?

        Or this?

        How about this?

        Seriously, that’s just the first page and ignores the fact that for most of his career Piazza was analyzed in dead tree publications. I read many articles about his defense in Baseball Weekly, for instance.

        Do you even try before spouting off?

    • erbaodai - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      “Jeter has 5 Rings and is good offensively he’s god and if you point out his flaws you’re a hater.”


  11. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    The second you bring up Gold Glove, you automatically lose the conversation. People seem to forget they started calling the Silver Slugger award the Gold Glove award for a decade or two there. To anyone who brings up Derek Jeter’s gold gloves, all I have to say is Mike freaking Bordick.

    “Mike Bordick could field his position, and as one of the game’s steadiest shortstops for over a decade, Bordick set a pair of big-league records when he handled 543 chances over 110 consecutive errorless games in 2002, a season that saw Alex Rodriguez awarded the AL Gold Glove despite having a lower RFg and nine more errors than the sure-handed Bordick.”

    • eightyraw - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      Rodriguez in 2002: 12.5 UZR, 1390.2 innings
      Bordick in 2002: 7.8 UZR, 1007.2 innings

  12. braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I’m amused by the Jeter hate. It’s such a strange phenomenon.

    I want 1,000 downvotes for this comment please. Give me all you got…

    • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Not a single person has said anything hateful about Jeter or his career. Critical evaluation of both the positive and the negative is not hate…it is just evaluation, and it is necessary for understanding.

      If you had bothered to read the Grantland piece, you would have noted the point of the article wasn’t that Jeter couldn’t play good defense, it is that he had never been given the necessary coaching to improve his defense by eliminating bad habits and developing better ones that lead to run prevention.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        Who cares.

      • paperlions - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Troll gonna troll.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        How clever.

    • buddaley - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Did you read the Grantland article? Not only does it have nothing to do with “Jeter hate”, it is not really about how bad a defensive player he is. In fact, it makes the point that just as he made adjustments to improve his play, age made continued improvement less possible.

      In any case, I don’t know at this point how convincing the article is, but it is certainly fascinating and provocative. Who would not want to pursue the technique it uses to evaluate defense? Rather than simply criticizing its methodology-a legitimate if limited response-wouldn’t it be interesting to see whether such criticisms lead to refinements or amendments to make it more valid? After all, the author himself notes the potential pitfalls of the analysis.

      Consider, DIPs theory was initially so counter-intuitive it was often rejected. But some people saw its value and over time it has been refined, expanded, and made more convincing. It doesn’t mean it is perfect or even correct, but it is surely worthwhile to consider in evaluating pitchers.

      To simply reject the article because you can detect flaws in it is akin to rejecting the automobile because it broke down so often in its early days, or the radio because of all the static that made it difficult to hear.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:09 PM

        I never said anything about the article. It’s the way that others are using it as a way to smear Jeter that I find amusing. That along with all the Jeter hate in this thread, is what I was talking about when I said “hate”.

    • cohnjusack - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      I’ll use my comment from another post, because it so perfectly describes you sir.

      I can’t count how many times I’ve had basically this conversation

      ME: Jack Morris was overrated. No way he should go to the hall.

      THEM: Oh yeah, if Jack Morris sucked so much, how come he went to 5 all-star games, won 250 games and pitched for 18 years?

      Of course, pointing out that I never said Jack Morris sucked is futile. In many people’s word, there is no middle. You’re either saying he’s a HOF (same with Ryan Howard-MVP, Nolan Ryan-Greatest All-Time and countless others) or saying he sucks.

      Just substitute “Jeter” for “Morris” here. Derek Jeter is unquestionably a Hall of Famer. He is a HOFer because he was a phenomenal hitter, and that kind of output for someone capable of playing shortstop makes you a HOFer. But, he was not a good defensive shortstop.

      You see Bradd, sometimes people like to discuss the complexity of various things. Like…a player being great and all, but perhaps being overrated with his glove. What adults do in this situation is rationally consider the evidence, think about it, then think about why they may or may not agree with the evidence presented to them. What they don’t do is say “HE HAS FIVE WS RINGS YOU FUCKING HATER!” while everyone stares at their screen with an incredibly perplexed look on their face, calculating the odds of 1000 monkeys on a thousand type writers putting together that sentence. Because surely no remotely rational adult would have such a bizarre reaction to a thoughtful, critical assessment of Derek Jeter’s defense.

      In summary calm down. No one here hates Derek Jeter. I like him just fine. For god’s sake, he gives his one night stand’s autographed baseballs, which is so unclassy it comes around the other side and becomes uber-classy. I just don’t think his defense is very good and he makes a great test case for “eye test” v. “advanced metrics”.

      • braddavery - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        I get the point of the article and I’m not questioning it’s merits, so I’m not really sure how to respond to this. My problem is with people who use articles like this to smear an all-time great and his fans, as if to say “Nah nah nah nah nah, Jeter ssucks at defense!” To which my response is, and will always be, who cares about his defense. He’s an all-time great with 5 rings and numerous amazing accomplishments and stats.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 27, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        So, if someone is good at one thing, there is no point is discussing any of their flaws? Especially when those flaws represent a near perfect case study of the use of advanced metrics of the traditional eye test?

        Albert Pujols kinda sucked this year. Am I smearing him by saying that because he was an all-time great and won 2 WS rings?

      • Reflex - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        I still want to know who actually is hating on Jeter in this thread. Nobody that I can see. Virtually everyone has said he’s a first ballot HOFer and one of the best shortstops in MLB history.

        All anyone is doing is discussing the fact that his defense is not very good. Which is a fair point. Because its not very good. Why is this a problem? Its not hatred to state the obvious. If you’d read the article you would have found the part where Cashman took Jeter to lunch and TOLD HIM THAT HIS DEFENSE WAS HURTING THE TEAM! And Jeter went out and actually worked hard on it, improving dramatically in 2008/2009 before his age really started making it impossible.

        The article points out that Jeter himself was made aware of it, and that he was such a team player he actively tried to fix the problem! The great point of the article was “What if someone had had that chat with him a decade earlier?” which is a fantastic point since obviously once he was made aware he was completely willing to focus on it.

        Its impossible to read the article without actually becoming *more* impressed with Derek Jeter. A lot of players would have said pretty much what Braddavery did and been like “Five rings and great offense bitches, you can shut up about my defense now.” Instead, he actually did his best to improve, and DID improve. That is what a great player who cares about the team does. And that is part of WHY Jeter is great.

        Ugh, others are right. Braddavery isn’t worth arguing with. He does not even read the article he’s arguing against, or the replies people bother to take the time to write to him. Based on his vitriol though, I’m guessing he’s been a recipient of one of those gift baskets though…

      • braddavery - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        I don’t need to read the article to know that Derek Jeter is an average to sub-average defender. It’s common knowledge to anyone who really knows baseball. I’ve never argued otherwise. I’m discussing WHY people harp on his defensive misgivings. I don’t believe that this is simple discussion, I believe it’s more of a smear campaign by people who hate that Jeter is so popular.

      • Reflex - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:51 AM

        So…you didn’t read it, as a result you have no basis for understanding the conversation occurring, and as such you have no idea why what is being said is not ‘hating on Jeter’.

        Got it. There is ignorance and then there is willful ignorance. Welcome to the latter.

        BTW, you had the third response in this thread. Neither of the previous two commentators mentioned Jeter by name, the first comment was someone defending Jeter based on his Gold Gloves, the second comment was by me and a reference to Raffy’s GG for being a DH. Nobody had attacked Jeter, hated on him or anything else. And the source article makes him look like a great teammate and HOF player. But you did not read the source, you just lashed out at imaginary Jeter haters who never actually materialized in this thread.

        Don Quixote has found his windmill…

  13. rickdobrydney - Aug 28, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Anti-Yankee bias is so ingrained in so many writers its not even funny —- Jeter has been a winning ballplayer his entire life– 5 rings — 1st ballot Hall of Famer — people have a need to emphasize the negative — sad—-

  14. rickdobrydney - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    That Lindbergh piece is a long way to go for nothing —what a bunch of “too much time on your hands” crap—- how much time did he absolutely waste on that piece ? Jesus God , professional jealousy abounds in this day and age . A guy quietly goes about his business for 20 years, causes no embarrassment ever to his teammates or organization, racks up 5 rings and Gold Gloves, is one of the iconic players of his era, and gets picked apart by goons like Lindbergh. What an absolute joke. Do you have ANYTHING else to write about ? A piece like that only enhances the vibe of self-serving smugness that I have been getting from a lot of Grantland pieces recently. Sort of like what happens daily on ESPN, and is why I refuse to watch that joke of a network. Lindbergh—-get a freaking LIFE, for God’s sake —–

  15. stlouis1baseball - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I appreciate all the Gifs. I never tire of those.
    But to compare a 48 year old SS to the games best defensive SS seems to be cherry picking a bit.
    But again…I love the Gifs.

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