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Is it really possible that the 1998-2000 Yankees were a historically weak defensive team up the middle?
I find it utterly extraordinary that the greatest dynasty in the last 50 years of baseball could have been anchored at shortstop and CF by two positively terrible defenders.
And look at that list. Every other player on that list was known to be a bad defender except Jeter. He is baseball's Chauncy Gardner equivalent, a man presumed to be something completely different than what he really is.
Considering they scored 965, 900 and 871 runs those three years...yes. (Averaging nearly six runs per game covers up a multitude of sins.)
Look at the teams that have won 105 or more games in the last 60 years. Look at the '69-'70 Orioles, or the '75 Reds, or the '61 Yankees, or the '86 Mets, or the '54 Indians, or the '01 Mariners. Now look at the C-2B-SS-CF personnel on those teams. Those teams had it ALL going for them, in every phase. You don't win that many games when one phase of your game is just plain weak. You sure as hell don't go 125-50 when your defense up the middle stinks.
The '98 team had a great offense.
You sure as hell don't go 125-50 when your defense up the middle stinks.
The 98 Yankees gave up 73 fewer runs than any other team in the league and had the highest Defensive Efficiency rating in the league...
They gave up the fewest Homers and were 4th in strikeouts and 2nd in fewest walks...
In all seriousness RMc's point about the offense is a good one but beyond that I think Jeter's ability not to make errors is meaningful. His range sucked but at the same time he was the classic "he makes the plays he gets to" type guy and I think there is real value to not making a bad situation worse. Jeter was never the guy who would throw away a slow roller and turn an infield hit into a double. I think that has a benefit.
The '98 team had a great offense. The '99 and '00 teams didn't even lead the league in scoring. The '00 team barely scored more than the average (5.41 to a league ave. of 5.30).
#1 is the early front-runner for dumbest post of the year.
You're right Tommy, the ten or so people who have dedicated 1000's of hours to this question and have looked at it from 5+ different approaches and directions and who entered the discussion with no preconceptions about Jeter's defense and yet reached unanimity on the quality of Jeter's defense are all wrong and you are right. Sorry for wasting your time.
It's the stats that suggest that Posada was subpar and that Jeter, Williams and Knoblauch collectively sucked. I suppose it's possible to come within 2 outs of winning 5 WS in 6 years with terrible defense up the middle. But that kind of anomaly would make me re-examine the methodology of the stats you're so defensive about (forgive the pun).
I'm not sure where you get the idea that the methodology of defensive stats haven't been re-examined again and again by those who put them together. Isn't that what all these different metrics are about?
Why is it hard to understand that their offensive contributions outweighed their defensive deficiencies?
Williams lost his speed in front of everyone's eyes in a very obvious manner, and his arm was always terrible. His reputation as a poor defender may have lagged a year or two behind the reality.
The thing that always bugs me with these arguments is that this isn't a case where the eyeball test seems to disagree with the advanced stats. After 2000 or so, Jeter's range seemed really limited to the naked eye.
My point wasn't really directed just at Jeter. It's the stats that suggest that Posada was subpar and that Jeter, Williams and Knoblauch collectively sucked. I suppose it's possible to come within 2 outs of winning 5 WS in 6 years with terrible defense up the middle. But that kind of anomaly would make me re-examine the methodology of the stats you're so defensive about (forgive the pun).
I just do not get how anyone post 1998 could watch Jeter play defense and not come up with the conclusion that he was a poor defender. It was obvious with the eyes, you don't need numbers to tell you that. At no point in time has Jeter ever looked like a good defender
that posited that the one thing shared by all the great dynastic teams was that they were strong up the middle defensively. I remember looking at this theory and concluding it was pretty solid (although the early '70's A's might have been the exception, in my opinion).
I am a little skeptical about the magnitude of defensive metrics for more recent players. Or at least, I am skeptical about comparing them directly to defensive metrics from earlier periods when we didn't have the detailed raw data that we do now.
To the naked eye, Jeter seemed like a decent SS from 96-00 (not Ripken or Vizquel, but solid).
Jeter's flaws don't show up to the casual observer. If the jump throw comes in a fraction late, he doesn't get blamed, instead he gets credit for a good effort. Or if he dives late at a ball up the middle, nobody really notices Jeter's miss, they just credit the batter for a good hit in the hole. He will prefer to eat a ball rather than rush a panicky error-prone throw, which to the casual analyst is simply "Jeter had no play" not "A faster SS would have."
Spotting the flaws in Jeter's game requires the advanced metrics.
Every team in MLB would gladly take Jeter's career with whatever offensive and defensive trade-offs came with it.
Jeter does look like a good defender. He's very good at the visible parts of defense. He grabs everything he can reach, never bricks a ball off his glove. He's a very reliable thrower, never airmailing it. He's fine at turning the DP. So his fielding percentage and error rate are very good. And of course he's had a few particularly flashy memorable reputation-cementing plays.
Every team in MLB would gladly take Jeter's career with whatever offensive and defensive trade-offs came with it. That is the forest & trees aspect that sometimes get lost around here.
Way to many batted balls per game get by him, routine plays that most shortstops make, he doesn't even show up in the frame.
The difference between Jeter and an average shortstop if you think he's a -20 defender is about one play a week. This notion that he misses several plays a game that an average shortstop would make is patently ridiculous.
It's good for fan blood pressure not to make mistakes. I never saw Pete Rose make a mistake at first base. I rarely saw him field a grounder, either. I think it's fair to say the value he added by being mistake-free didn't make him much of a fielder.
It's not that it makes him a good fielder but I think it mitigates some of the damage. Put another way if I have two players who are -15 runs defensively one due to repeated errors and one due to lack of range I think the error-prone player hurts his team more. I have no data behind this, just the theory.
It is a national tragedy that St. Derek will have to wait five years before Hall of Fame enshrinement, just like so many other run-of-the-mill first-ballot Hall of Famers. I hope the Hall will see fit to do the right thing and waive that whole waiting period nonsense on Captain Clutch's behalf.
July 2020, right? The 5 year wait would be 2015-2019. Or is he not going in first ballot?
A ball pastadiving Jeter just means a man on first
see for example the work of Chris Dial providing some evidence that Andruw Jones took all the discretionary plays making his out of zone numbers appear better than they should have.
I note the game where it was broken was actually a suspended game and I have no idea how those count in streaks
Why he stayed there, especially after the Yanks acquired Alex Rodriguez, who was a better SS, though not a really good one, is something we may never know.
Every time I would see the Yankees on TV, I would notice that, on relatively slow grounders up the middle, Jeter was always just barely getting into the frame at the point when even an average shortstop would have been fielding the ball standing up.
Every time I would see the Yankees on TV, I would notice that, on relatively slow grounders up the middle, Jeter was always just barely getting into the frame at the point when even an average shortstop would have been fielding the ball standing up. (That's why there's a guy here named Pasta Diving Jeter, after all.) This was very visible to me, and I am hardly a scout or lifetime "baseball man."
On teams that looked like they had no weakness - about the best I saw was the '84 Tigers.
Initially at least, given both bats were in the lineup, it shouldn't have mattered much who played SS and who played 3B. I suppose Jeter could have moved in 2004 to CF, but maybe by that point he wouldn't have been much better afield than Bernie, and then you've got to find a decent third baseman who can hit as well as Bernie Williams, and the problems cascade. Solely considering the left side of the infield, AROD had an outstanding year at 3B in '04, and Jeter had his usual terrible one at SS, suggesting that AROD would have had a good year at shortstop and Jeter a poor one at 3B, the sum value remaining about the same.
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