Sunday, September 16, 2012

My brain is going to explode if I try to do a Simmons or Easterbrook post tonight

Both of those motherfuckers.  Unreal.  Whether it's Gregg lambasting Mike Gundy for allegedly showing poor sportsmanship against Savannah State, when Savannah State's coach went on the goddamn record after the game and thanked Gundy for the way Gundy handled things, or Simmons's douchechilling appearance on PTI (summarized by Bill Brown in the  comments to my last post), they're both too much for me to handle right now.  Instead, let's let Richard Justice have the spotlight.

Ageless Jeter Worthy of MVP Consideration

There will be writers prepared to give Jeter MVP votes well after he retires, but wanting to put him in the conversation this year is only slightly less silly than that.

There can't be a conversation about the American League's Most Valuable Player Award without including Derek Jeter, 

There certainly can.  He's been worth 2.5 rWAR and 3.5 fWAR this year, which doesn't even put him within shouting distance of the top 10.  He's been crappy on defense as always, and merely good on offense.  If there were a separate MVP vote for guys 35 and older, he'd be in contention, although if that imaginary "senior division" vote were fair (and we all know it wouldn't be because baseball writers are worthless pieces of shit) Torii Hunter would win it.  

and doesn't that make this whole season even better?

No.  Always good to lead off your column with a non-rhetorical rhetorical question that most readers will answer differently than you want them to.

Jeter is leading the AL in hits

And in plate appearances, meaning he's pretty high on the "outs made" leaderboard as well.

and is second in batting average and fourth in runs. 

You or I could bat leadoff for the Yankees and score a shitload of runs.

He batted .389 in April, 

Making him a strong candidate for AL player of the month for April, which is apparently also known as 2012 AL MVP.

and his average has fallen below .300 for just two days the entire season.

Batting average is a dumb statistic, etc.  His .366 OBP is pretty OK, nothing to sneeze at, also not what you'd want from your leadoff hitter in a perfect world.  But also: intangibles.

His defense at short has been terrific, as usual. 


Meanwhile, his Yankees have had at least a share of first place in the AL East for 93 straight days, 

Making Robinson Cano and his 6.5 rWAR/6.2 fWAR an excellent candidate for AL MVP runner up to the guy who is having one of the 50ish best seasons of all time by any hitter, ever, in baseball history, in the history of baseball.

and now with the stretch run upon us, Jeter is hitting .378 in September.

As the Yankees fall apart.  Just saying, SOMEONE has to take the fall if they finish behind the two inferior teams that are chasing them down, and hey, shouldn't it be the guy who apparently has leadership skills growing out of his ass?

He's part of what appears to be a close race for the AL MVP Award. 

It does not appear to be anything resembling close.  I don't like the Angels, and I despise the hype that surrounded Trout during his meteoric rise through the minors these past couple seasons, but there isn't much I can say to shit on his 2012.  Dude plays lights out center while absolutely raking.  

There's a case to be made for Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton as well.

Hamilton leads the league in RBIs so of course someone like Justice is going to claim he's part of the race when he's not even the most WAR valuable guy on his own team (good for Adrian Beltre for putting together a great season after getting paid for once, zing, sick burn by me).  Cabrera deserves some props for not being a complete and utter blimp crash at 3rd, and he leads the league in OPS, but clearly, Mike Trout is the only player who should receive a 1st place AL MVP vote this year.

Trout is especially interesting because he didn't come to the big leagues until April 28 but immediately ignited the Angels. They're 68-49 with him in the starting lineup, and he's leading the AL in batting average, runs and stolen bases. Trout is second in OPS, third in OBP and fifth in triples. He has also played a spectacular center field, and with the numbers so close, it might be what decides it.

But then again: does he play shortstop for the Yankees?  Is there a media mandate that he be included in all MVP discussions as long as he's having something resembling a half decent year?  If you blow him, will he give you a gift basket?  Those things could decide the race too, if the race were close, which it's not.

Cabrera is right there, too, leading the AL in OPS and slugging and second in batting average, RBIs and hits. He's fourth in runs and home runs.

And first in being a fat guy playing out of position for a playoff contender.

And there's Hamilton. Despite hitting .202 in June and July, he's leading the AL in home runs and RBIs and is second in runs and fourth in OPS. Also, the Rangers are leading the Major Leagues in runs and have been in first place in the AL West for all but two days. Their lead hasn't been less than three games since April 15.

Hamilton plays on the same team as a bunch of other really good players; players so good they were able to cover for him when he completely no-showed for 1/3 of the season.  Don't forget to factor that into your voting.

The case for Jeter is this:

Jeter-like Jeterness.

• Doing his job at the top of the lineup spectacularly well.

By OBPing a "hey, most teams would take that from their leadoff guy, I guess" .366?  By making sure to touch every base in the proper order as Cano, Fish Fillet Rod, Teixeira, et al drive him in?

• Playing nice defense.


• Winning.

He wrote that.  Not me.

• Leadership.

That too.

• Being at his best when the pressure is cranked up the most, 

Like during April.

which is pretty much every day of the year with the Yankees.

Oh, well that's just sneaky.  "Give Jeter credit for performing at his best when the chips are down... i.e., ALWAYS.  Except for during June when he hit .232/.295/.313, but that doesn't count, because Jeter."

Regardless of how it plays out, it's fun just having Jeter in the discussion. 

If you are a member of the BWAA or a Yankees fan (or hell, maybe if you're a Red Sox fan, because BOOOOO FACK YOU JETAH THE CHEA-TAH).  If you are anyone else: no.

Scouts have marveled at the quickness of his bat 

I will give $500 to charity if Jeter tests positive for steroids before Halloween.  I'll scan the receipt and post it on the blog.  Promise.  Please please please please please

and his ability to get hits on pitches in tough locations.

Also: Winning.  Leadership.

There was a time last season when it looked like Jeter's best days might be over, 

And they were/are.

and no one wanted to see one of the all-time greats go out this way. He'd simply done too much and meant too much to the game.

/chugs bottle of Pepto

If someone ranked every player the last 100 years in terms of winning, production and citizenship, 

Ooh, a new -ship to go along with the never-explained but always cited leadership he apparently displays regularly.

that is, representing the game the right way, 

A lovely combination of "representing the game" and "playing the game the right way."  Justice is breaking new ground here.

Derek Jeter might be No. 1. He's pretty much the poster boy for what those of us who love the game would like every player to be.

/goes to store, grabs another bottle of Pepto, chugs it before paying for it

And then it goes on for a while longer.  Apparently all you need to do to insert Jeter into an MVP conversation these days is 1) make sure he's hitting over .300 2) claim he's playing great defense, what, is anyone going to be able to definitively prove you wrong? 3) note the fact that the Yankees and their $10 kajillion payroll are in playoff contention and finally 4) spit some boilerplate about playing the citizenship the right way or some shit like that.  It's that simple.  Oh, in closing:

Andy Pettitte considers Jeter both a friend and a teammate.

Well then!

"I mean, he's just the same every day," Pettitte said. "He's out there doing his job, 

Number of players who have been on MLB rosters since opening day who are not doing their jobs: 0

getting hits, 

Lot of guys pulling that one off too

getting on base, 

His BB rate is just over 5%.  His OBP is 42 points higher than his average.  Just sayin'.  I'm fine with the "getting hits" part but I'm going to push back on this one.  GENTLY.

leading us. 

And representing the game the right way

He's just amazing."

OK, $1,000 to charity for a positive steroid test in the next six weeks.  Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please


Cs said...

Well at least we have a new definitive criteria for HOF voting: citizenship rating

Jeff said...

Wow - it's great to see this blog still going strong. Looking forward to your Easterbrook writeup Larry.

I love how Jeter being a "nice guy" who plays the game the "right way" is worth like another 30 homeruns to guys like Justice. If Jeter put up Barry Bonds 2001-2004 numbers but took a shit in Pettitte's locker after every game and refused to sign autographs, he'd be much less valuable than he is now.

HowardR said...

I have learned that Andy Pettitte considers someone on the same team as him to be a teammate.

pnoles said...

I seriously thought idiots like this didn't exist anymore....but here we are.

BR said...

Do you really think Derek uses PEDs or are you just an Os fan with Yankee anger issues?
I did watch some of an Os game on MLB last week and noticed: Nate McLouth is the size of the Lucky Charms Leprechaun; O'Day will get shelled in the playoffs; Adam Jones has a hard time not swinging at pitches in the ditch (the one outside the stadium); and it was nice to see the Baltimore fans have something to cheer for in September.

Larry B said...

I neither think Jeter uses PEDs nor am I an Orioles fan. That is some pretty nasty trash talk you've got for the O's there, though. Perhaps resident Baltimorean Jack M would like to respond.

Tim N said...

There is only one statistic that will keep Jeter from winning the MVP - his classiness:grittiness ratio is too high.

I'd like to see him down around 1.04.

BR said...

Reading comprehension has apparently left my building. Since you're not an O's fan, I'm glad I didn't waste how stupid that cute bird looks on their cap in my list.

Jack M said...


I have to compliment you on your spot on Yankees fan impersonation. The only things that were missing: a dismissive wanking motion throughout your comments, and a complete ignorance of any Yankees history outside 1996-2000 and 2009.

Adam said...

Well at least Jeter can take heart that if he ever is suspected or tests positive for PEDs he has Andy Pettitte to "misremember" for him.

BR said...

Jack M:
Good read, I am merely imitating a Yankees fan! It is true I've always rooted against the Orioles. To my way of thinking, Brooks Robinson was the poster boy in a long line of overrated Oriole players. No, wait a second, I forgot Cal Ripken, excuse me! I did think Frank Robinson, Luis Aparicio, Jim Palmer and maybe Mark Belanger might have been worth following if you were stuck living on the Eastern Shore in the pre-cable and pre-PC era. You know, box scores, baseball cards and Dizzy and Pee Wee on the Game of the Week.
As for Derek and PEDs, that would be a great. Kind of unthinkable like Tom Brady being filmed peeing off a hotel balcony.

dan-bob said...

What charity would be the beneficiary of this largesse, LB? If you'd consider donating it to my school I might see if I can doctor his test results.

Anonymous said...