Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jeter Month: In Defense of Jeter

Because boy, does he need it from this guy.  "This guy" (cue up Jon Gruden) is just some no-name blogger.  So, full disclosure and confession from me: this is absolutely the lowest of low hanging fruit.  I know that.  I KNOW.  I feel 100x weirder about breaking this down than I did about breaking down the article from the Poughkeepsie Journal.  But man, this anonymous dude put just enough thought into this, and it's just insane enough, that I felt like covering it anyways when I uncovered it doing a Google search for insane Jeter articles on the other side of the spectrum.  I mean, come on, it's still Jeter Month and I'm getting sick of dumping on Jeter.  This is a borderline insane sports opinion masterpiece, like something Bill Plaschke might write.  Therefore I must treat it as such.  (Since it's by a non-journalist, I'll cut out criticism of grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, etc.)

Derek Jeter: Hall of Famer?

Yes.  And possibly Pope.

Derek Jeter is one of the most prolific players in Major League Baseball. He's captain of one of the most prestigious teams in the game, the New York Yankees. However, does prestige alone justify a player’s eligibility into the Hall of Fame?

That is a great question, which can be answered by looking at the players in the Hall of Fame.  Since with very, very few exceptions (Veterans Committee guys, usually), the players in the HOF are all somewhere between "awesome" and "unbelievably amazing," I would say that the answer to your question is "No."

I would dare say that the majority of MLB fans would answer "yes" without batting an eye.

No they would not.  This is a horrible, ugly, disfigured straw man.  Please set it on fire.

I partially don't blame them. Hell, Jeter's nickname is "Mr. November" for crying out loud! 

That's not really a "prestige" label.  That's more of a "He happened to hit one really important home run during the World Series (a World Series during which that home run was his only RBI in seven games, and he hit .148/.179/.259 by the way, but hey, I'm supposed to be on his side during this post so I'll drop it) the same year that an unprecedented tragedy caused the World Series to be delayed for a few weeks so the home run came just after 12:01 AM on November 1." label.

When it comes to pressure situations, Jeter may very well be the first name that comes to mind. He is the very definition of clutch. 

It's been said a hundred times, but of course: Jeter regular season: .312/.381/.446.  Jeter postseason: .308/.374/.465.  Jeter 2 outs, RISP: .305/.404/.428.  Jeter "late and close:" .290/.382/.410.  It is not that Jeter is clutch.  It's that he's good all the time, and has had a shitload of chance to be good in the postseason because of the team he plays for, and then dipshits in the media have washed his balls and called him the greatest clutcher who ever clutched a clutch because he has been successful in the postseason at about the rate you'd expect him to be.  Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Furthermore, Jeter has 5 World Series championships (including a World Series MVP). Also, he is the winner of 4 golden glove awards and has a career batting average of over 300.

I will agree with all of that, even the reference to the GGs, since I'm trying to pump Jetes' tires here.

With all that said, I still question his legitimacy into the Hall of Fame. 


From my observation, many baseball fans believe he is a first ballot Hall of Famer due to his post season performances. I'm not blaming them. 

I sure am.  He's a first ballot HOFer because of his entire career, his whole body of work.  If he had his same postseason numbers but had hit .220/.290/.330 during the regular season with 1500 career hits, he would not be a HOFer.  And yes, I know, even if that were the case there would still be plenty of zilcheroos who would insist he belonged in the Hall.  But if Scott Brosius didn't make it past one ballot, I don't think imaginary "only good in the postseason" Jeter makes it either.

I think that's how most people do it. 

This man needs new friends.

But sometimes memories can be deceiving. 

Little does he know, he's totally right.  No really, little does he know.  I think this guy started following baseball from his hometown of Worcester MA about three weeks before writing this.

Sometimes fans, myself included, have a narrow view of something based on limited exposure. In Jeter's case, they may only remember a few great moments, and those moments alone may cloud their judgement. 

You don't say.

The following is a list of reasons why I believe Derek Jeter does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame (if he were to retire today, the 2009 offseason):

He means the offseason after the 2009 season, when the Yankees won the WS.  At this point in his career, Jeter had about 2750 hits, 225 HR, a lifetime .317/.388/.459 slash line, and about 67 rWAR.  He was Barry Larkin (who got in on the 3rd ballot) with a worse glove, but a slightly better triple slash (and 400 more hits), and four additional RINGZZZZ.  He most likely would have been a first ballot guy if he had retired right then.  Whether that happened or not, he was a HOFer, unquestionably.

Top MLB Shortstops

1.) Derek is not the most dominating shortstop in his era.

Ah, this old chestnut.  Start filling out your bingo card.  "Must have been the absolute best at his position during his 'era' (however that's actually defined)" is right next to "Would you buy a ticket to see him play?"

In fact, Derek Jeter isn't even the best shortstop on his team! Alex Rodriguez is the best shortstop in the game, 

This is true.

and Jeter (the Captain) wouldn't even relinquish his throne to the better player. 

This is also true.  But Jeter only did this because he likes to win so much, and knew that his arm wouldn't really play at third, while A-Rod's would.  And they got a World Series out of the arrangement.  QED.

I can easily rattle off four more shortstops that are not only better at the position, but also have a more legitimate bid for the Hall of Fame during his era.

No you can't.

For example, someone who I think should be an automatic bid for the Hall is Omar Visquel. 

BUT WAS HE THE MOST DOMINANT SHORTSTOP IN THE GAME DURING HIS ERA?  Dear God, Omar Vizquel has 12,000 career PAs (17th all time, although Jeter is about to pass him) and 28 dWAR... and still only has 45 rWAR.  He's an interesting HOF case, but if you have 12,000 PAs and can't get to 3,000 hits, and you aren't Ozzie Smith (who was a much better hitter than Vizquel anyways)... I don't think you should go in.

He was an average hitter at the plate, but he's a dominant defensive shortstop. He has the second most glove glove awards with 11 (2 behind Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith). What's even more impressive is that he won it in both the American League and National League.

What's even more impressive is that he happened to play for teams in both leagues, unlike that bum Ozzie Smith!

Number three would have be Jimmy Rollins. 

Through 2009, Jimmy Rollins had 1600 hits, a career OPS+ of 98, and 35 rWAR.

He possesses all-star qualities in every aspect of the game from batting to fielding. 

I like that this guy's argument against Jeter is "Now you can't believe everything you see... you've got to THINK, sheeple!"  And then he's all over Rollins, who is maybe 2/3rds the player Jeter is.

He hits for power 

True, although not as well as Jeter does.

and contact, 

Not true.

steals bases, 

True, although Jeter does too, almost as well.

and hardly makes any defensive mistakes. 

He has a much better glove than Jeter.  Pretty much all shortstops do.  Unfortunately, Jeter is so much better with the bat that it doesn't matter.  Jimmy Rollins is a low OBP guy who in his prime, could hit home runs and steal bases at a slightly better rate than Jeter.  To be fair to this blogger, at the time this was written, Rollins was arguably still in his prime--he just finished his age 30 season on a down note, but was theoretically still capable of doing what he did in his mid 20s.  To be fair to Jeter, even in Rollins's prime (which ended after that 2009 season--he's been hurt/crappy ever since), Rollins wasn't a better overall player than Jeter.

He is a 3-time golden glove winner and holds yearly titles in stolen bases and the 2007 NL MVP award.

He won the stolen base title once, in 2002.  And Jeter's GGs are a hilarious joke, but if we're bringing up Rollins's, we should probably mention that Jeter had four as of this writing.  Also, that MVP vote was a fucking sham.  David Wright and Chase Utley wuz robbed.

Next is Miguel Tejada 

Tejada is like Rollins with more power, no SBs and a worse glove.  As of this writing his career was essentially over.  He was worse than Jeter in every way except defensively, where he wasn't anything special.

who also holds yearly titles in RBIs 

He did that once, in 2004.

and the 2002 AL MVP award. 

Another sham MVP, given to the much less deserving candidate because Oakland made the playoffs and Texas didn't and A-FRAUD is a cheater anyways.  Also, that was the year that Barry Zito won 23 games and the Cy with a 2.75 ERA.  Barry Zito used to be awesome!  I had forgotten about that during his long, slow descent into sub-mediocrity in San Francisco.  I am getting old.

Much like Rollins, his best asset is his work at the plate. 

Much like Jeter, who is way better at the plate than either of those clowns.

He can hit for both contact and power. He is a dominant force and is someone I would place ahead of Derek Jeter.


And last but not least is Alex Rodriguez. 

You already brought him up.

The name alone justifies his bid over Derek Jeter. 

What?  I hate Jeter but I think "Derek" is a pretty alright name.  It's better than "Alex" any day.

Not only is Rodriguez a better shortstop but he is arguably the best player in baseball. Although he is currently a 3rd baseman, many of Rodriguez's dominant years was as a shortstop with 2 golden gloves under his belt.

Again, Jeter had four as of this writing.  Just saying.

MLB Statistics

2.) Derek doesn't have the stats to back it up

Finally.  Let's get to some gritty statistical analysis.

If one looks at it from a statistical standpoint, Jeter does not measure up.

He can't hold Omaz Vizquel's jockstrap!

- Offensively, Jeter doesn't hold a single batting title. 

Same number of batting titles won by Rollins, Tejada and Vizquel combined.  A-ROID has one, way back in 1996.

In my heart of hearts, I think that matters. 

From earlier in this article: "Sometimes fans, myself included, have a narrow view of something based on limited exposure."  MIKE SCHMIDT AND EDDIE MATHEWS: WHERE ARE YOUR BATTING TITLES?  SHAME ON YOU.  LEAVE COOPERSTOWN IMMEDIATELY.  BABE RUTH AND WILLIE MAYS, YOU GET OFF WITH A WARNING SINCE YOU ONLY WON ONE EACH.

For instance, he doesn't possess a single season MVP title. 

And this brings me so much glee.  But it means absolutely fuck-all.  EDDIE MATHEWS, WITH 96 CAREER RWAR, YOU AGAIN.  YOU WORTHLESS SHITFUCK.  MEL OTT, YOU TOO!

Although many look at him as a power hitter, 

No.  Maybe during the 1910s they would have.

at least from a shortstop standpoint, 

Not even then, no.

he has never hit over 25 homeruns in one season (only 3 seasons with over 20 homeruns). Also, he only has one season with 100 RBIs or more.

Those bastards at the bottom of the Yankee lineup are to blame for this.  He should have made Joe Torre bat him 4th.  That would have changed everything.

- On the defensive side of things, Jeter is mediocre at best. Sure he has made some spectacular plays that we all have etched in our minds, but he's really inconsistent. He's never really had a wide range, so on average, he's not going to stop anything past routine grounders. Plus, even when Jeter does manage to get to the ball, he commits a lot of erros. In total, Jeter has 213 errors in 15 years (an average of 14.2 errors per year.). To put that in perspective, Omar Visquel (as mentioned above, 11-time gold glove winner) has a total of 183 errors in 21 years (an average of 8.7 errors per year.)

No argument.  My pro-Jeter stance has limits.

Or even better, let’s take the average shortstop, someone like Adam Everett. 

Adam Everett was an insanely good defensive shortstop.  He was nuts.  He had to be, to get to play in almost 900 career games with an OPS+ of 66.

He’s solid and has been a starter for the Detroit Tigers for 9 years. He is your everyday player, but by no means a household name and hardly a Hall of Fame candidate. He has committed 84 errors in his career, averaging 12 errors per season.

And the argument just ends right there.  Jeter averages 2.2 more errors per year than Adam Everett.  Hall of Fame: ACCESS DENIED.

New York Yankees

3) Derek is a Yankee!

Is he ever!  I like the exclamation mark, like this is a feature in Us Weekly or something.

That’s right folks, whether anyone wants to admit it, Jeter gets special treatment because he is a New York Yankee. If Jeter began his career for any other team, nobody would pay him much attention.

Yeah, with his 2750 hits, 225 HRs and 300 SBs while playing a premium defensive position (poorly, but stil), I agree.  If he were a Royal or a Padre, he'd have been forgotten about.

Derek would be the equivalent of a Yunel Escobar, the Atlanta Braves current shortstop (meaning good but definitely not Hall of Fame material.). 

Through 2009, Escobar was a career .301/.375/.429 hitter.  Pretty good.  But not nearly as good as my boy JEETS.

The Yankees are a major enterprise. They are, by far, the most recognizable American sports franchise. Since Derek is their proclaimed captain, he receives more attention that may not have been warranted.

Yup.  And he still would have been a Hall of Famer if he retired in December 2009.

Now, I’m not saying that Derek Jeter isn't a good player. In fact, my opinion of him is far from that. He's really good. He hits in the clutch and helps the Yankees win ball games. He does the right things and says the right things. He is a good role model for children all across the United States and is loved by millions. Of course, I know that none of this matters. I can him praise, but most of you will just glance over this part. But the fact of the matter is, I think he's good and very popular.

That's an A+ paragraph.  My ears are smoking as my mind tries to process how this guy can agree with all of that, and still think Jeter is a non-HOFer who doesn't hold a candle to Miguel Tejada.  It's glorious.  It's one of the best cases of double wrongism I've ever seen.  It's like a Bears fan writing an article about how overrated and mediocre Aaron Rodgers is, while also expressing the opinion that Rodgers is absolutely hilarious in those insurance commercials.

However, the Hall of Fame isn’t about popularity or at least it shouldn't be. The Hall of Fame is not about clutch hitters during the month of November. And it isn’t about average shortstops that commit 13-15 errors during their golden glove season.

That is correct.  The Hall of Fame is about the collective waste of skin that is the BBWAA, and their quest to make sure everyone knows how righteous and good the BBWAA is.

The Hall of Fame is about the best of the best. Who cares if he gets 3,000 hits over an extended period of time? So? Good for him. 

And fuck Hank Aaron and the 23 seasons it took him to hit all those home runs.  So?  Good for him.

It's a great achievement, but I don't think it's an automatic bid to the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame should be about being a dominant player at your position during an extended period of time. 

Like Omar Vizquel.

To me, batting titles should take precedence over longevity.


Also, the number of world series rings you have on your fingers shouldn't matter. Winning the World Series is a team effort. Did Derek Jeter help Yankees win those championships? Sure he did. But he wasn't the sole reason why the Yankees won. This isn't basketball. The Yankees won because they had a great team, every single time.

This whole article should just be this paragraph cut and pasted over and over.

Again, the Hall of Fame is about being the best over the course of many seasons (not just postseason and 15 years of racking up singles). In my humble opinion, Derek Jeter simply doesn’t demonstrate these qualities.

I am ashamed for having picked on this.  I hope whoever wrote it never finds this blog.

1 comment:

Anon said...

Well, if JOE DIMAGGIO wasn't a first ballot hall of famer! QED!