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Derek Jeter hasn’t been able to catch up to fastballs

May 5, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

Derek Jeter Getty Getty Images

Derek Jeter had a very rough weekend, including the first 0-for-7 game of his career, and is now hitting just .240 with a .582 OPS this season and .220 with a .566 OPS in 41 total games dating back to last season.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York wonders if Jeter should be moved to the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup and in doing so passes along this tidbit: Jeter is hitting just .220 on fastballs clocked at 91 miles per hour or higher, whereas MLB as a whole hits .261 on such pitches.

It’s no surprise that a 40-year-old is having trouble catching up to good heat and it’s also no surprise that when he does catch up to 91-plus pitches he isn’t able to drive them with much authority, managing just one homer and five total extra-base hits in his last 180 plate appearances.

  1. hojo20 - May 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Last in the AL in slugging. Way to go Jeets!

  2. therealdave123 - May 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    The ego on King Derek wont allow himself to be dropped in the order. He really should be nothing more than a part time player, and if it was not for his name he would be, living on nothing more than reputation now.

    • Rich Stowe - May 5, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      and it’s a reputation anyone would kill to have…provided he also gives you his gift basket supplier

    • 18thstreet - May 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      He should only be a part-time player if the Yankees have a better option at shortstop. And I don’t think they do.

      • Liam - May 5, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        When Brendan Ryan is back they might as well try him. He’s an even worse hitter than Jeter, but Jeter is hardly a competent defensive shortstop anymore whereas Ryan is spectacular there.

      • TheMorningStar - May 5, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        Stephen Drew will be available, sans draft pick compensation, in about a month. Will the Yankees move to shore up their sagging SS position?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 5, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      It’s only been a month. Miguel Cabrera is OPSing 760. Charlie Blackmon is OPSing 988.

      Jeter missed a whole year and then some. Let’s at least give him a bit of time to get back on track before we throw him on Monty Python’s cart.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - May 5, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        I agree. It’s not like this is the first time people have written Jeter off and it’s a little early to hit the panic button.

        I’ve also noticed that there are a ton of people quick to criticize Jeter’s performance this early in the season, but I don’t see too many people praising Teixeira’s power so far this season after all the doom and gloom predictions about how his wrist surgery was going to take away his power. I guess his .554 slugging % and .951 OPS fall under the “small sample size” category, but Jeter’s average is cause for alarm? Let’s not forget that it’s May 5 and he was hitting .272 with a .352 OBP when April ended. He was hitting .292 in 72 AB when play ended on 4/26. He’s 2 for his last 24 going back to 4/27 and 1 for 15 in 3 games in May. So those 3 games and 15 AB are a better indication of his ability than the previous 21 games and 81 AB? Or the last 24 AB are somehow a better indication of his skill than his first 72? It’s almost like nobody has ever seen a player in a slump before. Maybe he’ll hit .240 the rest of the way, maybe he’ll snap out of it like he has in the past. Historically, he hits better from July-Sept./Oct. than he does March/April-June.

      • American of African Descent - May 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Do you get a gift basket if you write him off?

      • doctornature - May 5, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        One homer and five total extra-base hits in his last 180 plate appearances. Not that small a sample size.

        Nobody else gets this many chances without being DFA’d

        But I like Jeter, and I think the fans would be more upset than he would if he was dropped to 9th. I may be wrong, but he doesn’t seem like he has a Bonds type ego.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 6, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Last year he was playing on a broken ankle. I think you can throw those stats out the window. Are you ready to drop Miggy to 6th or 7th in the order for Detroit? I don’t know if he is cooked or not (it is possible) but I am not going to try to make that determination after 100 ABs

      • tysonpunchinguterus - May 5, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        His last 180 plate appearances includes the 17 games he played last season when he was less than 100% but tried to play through it as he recovered from his ankle surgery. Most players with 1 good leg are going to struggle. Taking 17 games from last season and adding it with a 4 or 5-game slump this season and declaring a player washed up is not a fair assessment of any player. Was he washed up when he hit .250 in April 2011? He hit .331 over the final 3 months of that season. 1 bad week and an injury-wrecked season don’t define who he is now.

    • yankees218 - May 5, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      Please show me any kind of evidence of this so called “ego” on Jeter. Please don’t comment on things that you know nothing about. Thanks so much.

      And his name didn’t become so popular just because of his good looks. You might want to remember that.

      • protectthishouse54 - May 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Agreed. I’m pretty confident that if Girardi did drop Jeter in the order, he would do nothing to undermine his manager or distract from the team.

      • paperlions - May 5, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        Saying Jeter has an ego isn’t a slam, it is true and makes him just like everyone else.

        As evidence, there is the fact that Jeter was left at SS when the Yankees signed a far superior defensive player. Rather than have a better defensive alignment with Jeter at 3B and ARod at SS, they knowingly went with a worse defensive alignment….for years.

        Then there is Jeter’s public complaints about his last contract negotiations, during which he was asking for a lot more than the overpay the Yankees were offering…then he got mad when they told him that if he thought he could get more (he was looking for 5-6 years at $22-24M/year) somewhere else that he should go shopping to see. Of course, as it turns out, the 3 year $51M deal was a huge overpay as well.

      • therealdave123 - May 5, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Lets see, refused to change positions when Yanks signed A-Rod despite the fact A-Rod was a superior SS at the time. Got into a pissing contest when the Yankees wouldn’t give him a 20 mil+ a year contract when he was worth nothing close to that amount anymore, and guarantee if Girardi tried dropping him to an appropriate 7 spot in the order there would be behind the scenes grumbling from our pinstriped knight.

  3. Rich Stowe - May 5, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Jeter needs to build a shrine to Jobu – he can hit the fastball very much….

  4. dondada10 - May 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    I wonder if Jeter would’ve considered retiring last year if Rivera wasn’t in the midst of his retirement tour.

    • Rich Stowe - May 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      no, only because Jeter would not have wanted to retire because of injury

  5. SBoy - May 5, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Still just early May… too soon to be writing off the Capt. just yet…

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    He is still holding his own against lefties (.302/.388/.302) but he could certainly stand a few extra days off or a lower lineup spot against righties. But how far down? You don’t want him batting 5th since the power isn’t there, but any lower and you are sticking him behind guys like Roberts, Solarte, etc.

    If Girardi can get Ichiro on board with being a 5th OF, he could probably convince Jeter to accept a lower lineup spot.

    • bolweevils2 - May 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Exactly. In recent years, he’s still been an asset against LHP, it’s just against righties that he’s been a problem. He did hit RHP well in his 2012 rebound season, but that’s the only year since 2009 that he’s had an OPS better than .700 against them.

      In most of those years though, that RHP OPS was in the .600s, which isn’t a tragedy for a shortstop. Particularly for one who makes up for that by hitting lefties well. (Though weak hitting shortstops are supposed to have superior gloves, which he doesn’t) But that doesn’t mean you want the guy anywhere near the top of the lineup vs.RHP if there weren’t other factors involved.

      But of course there are other factors involved. Jeter is an icon to the Yankees, and they don’t want to embarrass him or been seen as disrespecting him, so no matter what he hits he’ll stay near the top of the lineup for the rest of the year.

  7. TheMorningStar - May 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    In other news Jeter hasn’t been able to catch up with hit fastballs, or any other type of batted in his direction for at least a decade or so.

    He should be riding the pine; his oversized ego is hurting his team, plain and simple.

    • yankees218 - May 5, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Are you the same person who commented above. What ego?!?!?!

      • TheMorningStar - May 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        The same ego that wouldn’t make the move over to 3B when A-Rod joined the team; the same ego that wouldn’t move over to 2B when Cano left.

        Jeter is a horrible SS, the worst fielder in all of MLB. But for his ego he would be at a different position years ago.

      • dcarroll73 - May 5, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        TheMorningStar is big on hyperbole. Jeter has bad range. This is no news and not something that his fans (including me) would dispute. That is the negative in his defense, but on the positive side he is rock steady on everything within his range plus he can still make strong accurate throws from deep in the hole. I am glad to burst Morning’s bubble and point out that hardly adds up to the worst SS in MLB. Add in his batting, even this April up until his recent slump, and he is a good option at SS for the Yanks. In case people have forgotten, Drew’s expected batting and slugging are about as bad as Jeter’s worst case outlook. Since Girardi, Yank’s management, and Jeter are all already on board with the idea of getting him more off days, that should fit right in with the LHP/RHP splits mentioned above. This is all nothing short of a Yankee haters made up problem.

    • jbriggs81 - May 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Jeter was never asked to play third base with the arrival of Arod, nor was he asked to shift to second base after the departure of Cano. In fact, when Arod came to the Yanks it was with the understanding that he would play at 3B.

      • TheMorningStar - May 5, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        And why wouldn’t mgmt have asked? Surely its not because jeter was a better SS than ARod. And since he now has zero range in the hole, why wouldn’t they shift him to 2nd to mitigate his liabilities? Its ego, plain and simple.

  8. moogro - May 5, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Gritty and focused

  9. yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    If Beep Beep wanted to retire gracefully, he would have done so 4years ago.
    He does retain the singular skill of BIDPs with two outs though

    • proudlycanadian - May 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      As Len pointed out, there are still things that Jeter can excel at..

      • nbjays - May 5, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        Like pasta diving?

    • bronxbomber213 - May 5, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      4 years ago? didn’t he lead the league in hits in 2012?

  10. thomas844 - May 5, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Jeter will still probably start in the ASG and win a Gold Glove this year.

    • bolweevils2 - May 5, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      (Damn that “report comment” button! Sorry, mistake there mods!)

      I don’t know why thomas was downvoted. It’s probably true. Certainly he’s all but a lock to start the ASG. The gold gloves, well, he’s won them before. Who can tell why they give them out?

    • 18thstreet - May 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      It won’t be a tragedy is a well-respected Hall of Fame player is voted to start the All-Star Game in his last season. I mean, Elvis Andrus is probably (maybe?) the best known American League shortstop other than Jeter, and he’s having a crappy year, too. Would it be better is Andrus gets the start?

      Unless you’re married to Jew Lowrie or that guy on the Astros, it’s hard to see getting worked up over it.

      • 18thstreet - May 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        Jed. Jed Lowrie.


      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        For that matter, Alexei Ramirez is having the best first month among AL shortstops. I think All Star voting after 4 weeks is a bit silly, exactly because of this. The best first 4 weeks does not equal the best player.

  11. Old Gator - May 5, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Last time I was in New York, I was walking north on Park Avenue by the old trolley tunnel when a fastball went by at about maybe 90-92 MPH. A few minutes later, Derek Jeter came running past me with a butterfly net. I guess he never did catch up with it.

  12. larrymahnken - May 5, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I can’t imagine that’s a remotely significant sample size. Hell, the whole season thus far is barely a useful sample size.

    • bolweevils2 - May 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      But you can look back to other recent years and see the same trend, other than his fine 2012 season. Though I suppose his fine 2012 season proves he could have a good year even if the longer term trends are bad.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - May 5, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        2010 was the only season you could really point to as a down year. He hit .297 in 2011 and it was obvious that his struggles early in that season were at least partially due to him stressing out about his 3,000th hit. Once he got that hit, his season turned around. Even in 2010, he got on base enough to score 111 runs. So 4 years ago he had a down year and then rebounded the following season and lead the league in hits in 2012, but his recent slump is part of a trend?

  13. weaselpuppy - May 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    well, at least he still has his range in the field….

  14. drewzducks - May 5, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    • aceshigh11 - May 5, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Does Jeter have a 40-pound impacted colon too?

  15. aceshigh11 - May 5, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Vengeance from the field
    Kills the magic he once did wield

    Heavy cleats of lead
    Fills no pitchers full of dread
    Swinging as slow as he can
    Iron Butt grounds out again

  16. steve7921 - May 5, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    As a Rays fan, I hope the Yankees sign him to a 10 year, $240 million contract….he is Jeter, he is the greatest!

  17. drs76109 - May 5, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Two thoughts. First, they could trade for a SS with some pop still in his bat-Jimmy Rollins comes to mind. Second, next year rhey’d have a SS to draw upon. his name is Alex Rodriguez (assuming they keep him).

  18. yankees218 - May 5, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    When did he ever refuse to play a position? When was he ever asked to play a different position? When has he ever had an ego? You people need to stop pulling stuff out of your a$$

  19. jollyjoker2 - May 5, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    old man … kick him to the curb!

  20. yankees218 - May 5, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    You’re an idiot. Plain and simple.

  21. unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - May 7, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Not hard to see this one coming. Jeter has been on the decline for a few years now. As should be the case for all hitters in their late 30’s who are not pharmaceutically enhanced.

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