Who would you rather have leading off for the Yankees:
Player A: .286/.364/.418 in 323 PA. 26 stolen bases in 36 attempts, 33 walks, 15 doubles, five triples.
Player B: .268/.328/.348 in 335 PA. Eight stolen bases in 11 attempts, 25 walks, 13 doubles, one triple.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Brett Gardner is Player A and Derek Jeter is Player B.
Let me preface this by saying that I love Jeet. He’s one of my favorite players ever and arguably one of the three or four greatest Yankees of all time. He’s given me thousands of memories and he’ll always be one of my idols. That being said, he should not be leading off. I don’t think he should be benched by any means, but he should be hitting at the bottom of the lineup. Also, this is not meant to be a Jeter-bashing piece.
Over the weekend in Toronto, Gardy was on fire. He went 10-for-16 with five runs, three doubles, a walk, no strikeouts and three stolen bases. Since June 4, he is hitting .339/.414/.476 and boasts a 3.6 WAR on the season, which is good for 10th best in the AL (tops among AL LF) and 20th best in all of baseball (second best — Ryan Braun — among ML LF).
Gardy was last caught stealing on June 18 and has gone 12-for-12 since then, you can’t omit that kind of speed from the top of the lineup. You just can’t.
Jeter is also hot as of late, hitting .325/.357/.500 in nine games since coming off the DL on July 4. However, if you omit that five-hit game on July 9 Captain is hitting just .229 over that span. For the season Jeet owns a 1.0 WAR, which is 54th best in the AL and second worst out of 11 qualified AL shortstops (Cliff Pennington is the pits).
My proposed lineup:
- Swish Dog
Yankees, you caved on his contract demands but please do the right thing this time around and move him down in the lineup. There is simply no reason why Derek Jeter is hitting leadoff for the Yanks…besides the fact that his name is Derek Jeter.