Now playing at shortstop…Dave Kingman

July 25th, 2007 → 11:40 am @

Yet another one of Feeding the Monster‘s astute readers (are there any other kind?) sends in this interesting observation: Julio Lugo has six HRs and 47 RBIs, while Derek “Cap’t Intangibles” Jeter has 7 homers and 49 RBIs. This is somewhat remarkable, considering Jeter’s hit further down (usually second or third) and is on a Yankees team that’s leading the league in many offensive categories; Lugo, meanwhile, suffered through an 0-for-June. That’s not to say that the two are anywhere close to being at the same level: Jeter has .401 OBP, good for 10th in the AL; Lugo’s .290 puts him 85th. (Who woulda thunk that Lugo would turn into a SS version of Dave Kingman? Kingman’s career averages: 25 HRs, 76 RBIs, .301 OBP. Lugo’s projected ’07 totals: 11 HRs, 76 RBIs, .290 OBP.)

(An aside: in response to Jack’s query on yesterday’s GD post, “catholic |Ààkaθ(…ô)lik| adjective 1 (esp. of a person’s tastes) including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.”)

Post Categories: Derek Jeter & Julio Lugo

Baseball: one sport where it definitely pays off to make it look really hard when you do something really easy

November 4th, 2006 → 10:52 am @

Derek Jeter won the 2006 AL Gold Glove at shortstop over Alex Gonzalez.

Compared to Gonzalez, Jeter had a lower fielding percentage (.975 to .985), a lower zone rating (4.14 to 4.36) and a lower range factor (.821 to .863), which means Jeter made a higher percentage of errors per chance, got to less balls hit to his area of the field, and made fewer plays per nine defensive innings. (Besides that he was great.)

One thing Jeter is quite good at is making plays other shortstops made with relative ease look as if they require Herculean efforts (think of his mad scrambles to the right, resulting in a pivot, whirl, and mid-air throw across the body; what’s generally lost in all the oohing and ahhing is that said ball was only about two feet away from Jeter to begin with). These are plays that good shortstops (Alex Gonzalez, say, or Pokey Reese or even Alex Rodriguez) make look easy. Heck, even Pokey’s in-the-stands grab in the famous July 1, 2004 game at Yankee Stadium was better than Jeter’s head-first dive…but since Pokey didn’t emerge bruised and bloodied, no one’s talking about him anymore.

Very smart people who know much more about baseball than I do have argued that Jeter is among the worst defensive players in all of baseball; I won’t go there. But his Gold Glove is nothing more than one more piece of proof that baseball coaches and managers are not always the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Post Categories: Alex Gonzalez & Derek Jeter & Gold Gloves

Breaking News: Derek Jeter likes to win, doesn’t kill puppies in his spare time

October 26th, 2006 → 10:27 am @

The Times‘s Tyler Kepner has an update on the love affair between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. (How could a headline like “Jeter Unable to Make it Easier for Rodriguez” not be good news for the Yankees?)

During the year I spent with the Red Sox, my opinion of Jeter improved greatly; I went from thinking he was among the most overpaid and overrated players in baseball history to appreciating his — and yes, I know this is going to sound shockingly close to the “Captain Intangibles” crap that Yankees fans so often get mocked for — approach to the game and his leadership. He goes out of his way to take young players under his range-less wing; he’s much more likely to give you a good at-bat than are most players; and he’s among the better winners in the game (compared to, say, Kevin Millar). But if A-Rod is going to be with the Yankees next year, Jeter — who told some Sox players, sotto voce, that he didn’t disagree with their criticisms during the ’05 pre-season — should find a way not to telegraph the fact that he hates his partner of the left side of the infield. To wit:

“Jeter said he expected Rodriguez to be back, but did not have any ideas on how he could make life easier for his teammate. Jeter, the Yankees’ captain, has been criticized for his seemingly lukewarm support of Rodriguez.

‘What would you like me to do?’ Jeter said. ‘You’re there and you support him. Everybody supports all your teammates at all times. I don’t really know if there’s anything else I can do. Maybe I’m not that smart; maybe you can help me out.'”

Jeter is smart — at least compared to most baseball players — and he knows he could do a lot more than say, “yeah, whatever, that guy’s not bad.”

That aspect of Kepner’s piece is sort of amusing — it’s (almost) always fun to watch 30-something multi-, multi-millionaires act like petulant little bitches. What bugs me is the piece’s lede:

“ST. LOUIS, Oct. 25 — Derek Jeter has been traveling in Europe, and he said Wednesday that he had not seen any of this year’s World Series. This is the time of year when Jeter, the Yankees’ shortstop, would rather be playing than watching.”

As opposed to whom? Pretty much every single major leaguer in the world would rather be playing in October; even Manny knows that. The endless articles celebrating Jeter’s desire to play in the World Series are ridiculous. Yes, we know Jeter likes the Series; that’s about as far from unique as is possible. And yes, we know he, along with the rest of the Yankees, he thinks of the Series as more of a right and less of a privilege; that’s the unique part. If you want to point something out, focus on that.

Post Categories: A-Rod & Derek Jeter & Sports Reporters

Speaking of A-Rod…

August 26th, 2006 → 11:56 pm @

“He’s never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. He hits second – that’s totally different than third or fourth in a lineup.”
— Alex Rodriguez, Esquire, April 2001

It really is, isn’t it?

New York Yankees starting lineup, August 26, 2006

1. Damon, CF
2. Rodriguez, 3B
3. Jeter, SS
4. Abreu, RF
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. Williams, DH
8. Cabrera, LF
9. Fasano, C

Post Categories: A-Rod & Derek Jeter

This is the type of thing that can only bring a clubhouse closer

August 18th, 2006 → 12:04 am @

“With two outs in the top of the sixth, a runner on second, and the Orioles already ahead, 9-2, Jay Gibbons popped the ball up between Rodriguez and Jeter, but closer to Rodriguez. Rodriguez positioned himself under the ball, but it caromed off his glove as Jeter brushed into him in an effort to catch the ball himself.

Afterward, Rodriguez said he called for the ball but that Jeter did not hear him. Jeter said the reverse, adding that he initially thought Rodriguez caught the ball to end the inning. In fact, Jeter initially started toward the dugout while the ball lay in the dirt. Both players appeared embarrassed after the play and neither immediately picked up the ball…

It would have been Rodriguez’s 22nd error this season, one in which his shaky defense has become an ongoing issue. But the official scorer, Howie Karpin, changed the ruling, giving the error to Jeter for impeding Rodriguez’s ability to make the catch…

Jeter initially looked surprised that he had been charged with the error but then said he did not care. Torre said it should have been Jeter’s play, since he is the shortstop and in charge in the infield, but that no one could be blamed if they could not hear each other.”

— “Missed Play Adds to Long Day for Yanks,” The New York Times, January 18, 2006.

Let’s see: two players making a combined $44 million a year who haven’t liked each other for half a decade. One’s among the most beloved player in Yankees history. The other regularly gets booed at home. And the team’s manager diplomatically takes sides while pretending he’s not taking sides.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah: the Yankees lost to the Orioles, 12-2.

Post Categories: A-Rod & Derek Jeter & Yankees