Derek Jeter is enjoying an excellent stretch that has lasted 185 games. How much more does he have left in the tank? Plenty if you ask me. (Image: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees fans should sit back and ENJOY Derek Jeter's resurgence


Here’s a tip for all New York Yankees fans, grab a cozy chair, a beer, some nuts and shut up and enjoy Derek Jeter‘s most recent season of resurgence.

Enough complaining about his lack of power and decreasing range. Stop it with the whining that he’s lost a step. Cut it out with the notion that since he’s 38 he can’t possibly keep it up and that he’s one step away from retiring. Please, give it all a rest.

Derek Jeter is all smiles as fans await his demise. (Image: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

If Jeter has shown one thing over the last few seasons, it is that he can and will do everything within his abilities to produce for the Yankees. This season he has done so by rising up all-time lists and it’s not like when others have climbed the ranks in the past. He’s not piecing together a hit here and another there to inch his way past Hall of Famers. He’s passing them with 4-for-5 days including extra-base hits and yes, homers.

He’s having a great season with the bat and it is upsetting when Yankees fans bash his performance with talk of what used to be and how this can’t last. When will our own fans stop doubting The Captain?

Jeter’s got no power? OK, he doesn’t possess raw power, never did, but he has 11 homers, 10 out of the leadoff spot. How many more does he need to hit? He’s added 27 doubles this season. His .447 SLG% is the highest since 2009 when he slugged .465. His OPS is .809 (.831 career). He’s never been Ruthian, but anything over an .800 OPS for Jeter should be considered a positive occurrence.

His fielding numbers have received plenty of attention over the last several seasons. I’m a believer in using these metrics and yes they more or less represent what we see with our eyes where it concerns Jeter these days. He has diminished range to be nice, but he doesn’t exactly kill the Yankees defensively. What’s more, he’s never been a particularly great fielder based on UZR; ever. He has three seasons since he came up in 1995 where he had a positive measure. As of last night’s game his UZR/150 was -18.9 which would be the worst of his career. But, taken in the context that it has never been great, what’s all the moaning about? Is there a better option for the Yankees anywhere in their system? No, there isn’t. So get over it. Eventually the Yankees will move Jeter or he’ll decide it is time; but is now the moment to be banging him for his fielding deficiencies? I don’t think so.

Lastly, let’s cover those who think that he’s nearing the end of his rope and this season is some miraculously long lucky streak. Jeter has been left for dead twice over the last few seasons. First, it was after the 2008 season where many of his numbers decreased. In 2009 he responded by hitting .334 with 18 HR, 107 R and 66 RBI. His OPS was .871. Then he had a miserable 2010 season (especially when compared with 2009) and it continued into the first half of 2011. He went on the DL in mid-June and missed 18 games, coming back on July 4, 2011. On July 9 he went 5-for-5 including a homer for his 3,000th hit and he has not looked back since.  Here are Jeter’s numbers from that day through last night along with a scaled 162-game view based on the period:

That’s a .330 batting average, with moderate power and hey look, some speed. After 2009 and 2010 the question became; which season was the aberration? After the first half of 2011, many would have said 2009. Now, since July 9, 2011, one may think it is the other way around and 2010 plus the first half of 2011 should be considered the outlying time period.

I like to look at the bright side, so while I’m not sure Jeter can keep up the pace he is setting over the last few weeks, I do feel he has plenty left in the old tank to continue to be productive with the bat for at least a few more seasons. Maybe he’ll reach 4,000 hits or maybe he won’t. He’ll go through his ups and downs just like any other player and yes eventually he’ll fall into a decline that won’t stop. Or will he? Look no further than what Chipper Jones is doing in his final season and you’ll see that it is possible to go out with a vengeance.

Right now, can’t we just sit back and enjoy what he’s doing instead of railing over his inadequacies which borders on being picky? We’re watching a true icon obliterate records and anyone who doubts Jeter’s resolve and abilities going forward is sure to be disappointed.

*Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.

Tags: Derek Jeter New York Yankees

  • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

    I have to admit – I have been completely guilty of doubting Jeter and failing to appreciate how great he has been. It really is remarkable how consistent he has been, and I need to do a better job at appreciating that.

    The problem for me is that so many people seem to think that he is just as good as he used to be, and should even be considered for MVP this year! I’m tired of people referring to Jeter’s hit total as evidence of his greatness. Yes, getting hits is great, but when you have a high hit total, it usually means you’re also not getting walks. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s not argue that Jeter should be MVP just because he’s leading the league in hits.

    That being said, Jeter is unbelievable. He’s 38 for heaven’s sake, and he playing like a 30 year old! He is far exceeding what anyone expected from him, including the Yankees, and for that he deserves praise. But let’s keep our praise reasonable (not you, Chris, but others). Jeter is one of the best hitting shortstops in the majors, but his defense makes him less valuable than others at short, and he is definitely not the MVP, even of the Yankees.

    • Chris_Carelli

      Matt, you’re absolutely right. Jeter’s fabulous season is one to embrace, but suggesting he is the MVP of the league is far overreaching. He’ll get some top-10 votes, but beyond that will fall well short of winning the award. He could be considered among the MVPs of the team, but even that arguable. I was just tiring of the outward discounting of what he’s accomplished this season.

      • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

        Right I completely understand. Unfortunately with Jeter we’re always going to have way more extremists than normal on both sides of the table – people who discount everything Jeter does, and people who think everything he does is perfect. In reality, he has flaws just like any player, but is well exceeding expectations and is a valuable member of the team. I still think Cano is far far better than Jeter, but after him I think there are a lot of players that are contributing similar value to the team (Tex, Swish, Jeter, Granderson mostly).