No Yankees fan can forget Derek Jeter‘s heartbreaking injury in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS this year. At that moment, it really felt like the Yankees’ postseason was over. But more than the short term consequences, I, and many other fans, had an awful feeling in the back of my mind that Derek Jeter’s career was over.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case. Though he was out for the rest of the playoffs of course, Jeter will be healthy and ready to play by Spring Training. However, that doesn’t mean that the injury won’t affect Jeter’s performance. Especially for a player of his age, a leg injury like the Captain’s can have a significant effect on performance.
Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues took a look at this very subject today, using Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections to see what we can expect from Jeter going forward: Projecting Derek Jeter
Great players tend to age differently than others, but no matter how iconic he may be, Jeter is 38 years old and Father Time is lurking. The number of full-time shortstops who qualified for the batting title at that age (or older) and managed to be above-average offensively is three, and only one has done it in the last 60 years. That was Jeter in 2012. Factor in the ankle injury, the significance of which should not be downplayed, and I think it’s far to say the Yankees captain is more of a question mark now than ever before, even after that disappointing 2010 season.
I certainly hope that Axisa and Szymborski are wrong about Jeter, but given his age, skill set, and leg injury, none of us should expect great production from him in 2013. I know we say that every year, and he never fails to outperform expectations, but every year, the likilihood of Jeter take a big step backwards increases.
Questions for discussion:
1) What do you expect from Derek Jeter in 2013? Will the ankle injury hinder his performance?
2) Who on the Yankees must step up if Jeter does, in fact, struggle offensively?