Yankees: Comparing Dansby Swanson to Derek Jeter Is Unfair

Mandatory Credit: John Munson-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John Munson-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

No matter how complimentary you are, when comparing a rookie shortstop to that of Yankees great Derek Jeter, one would be wise to take caution.

I for one am not a fan of comparing players of different eras. From one year to the next, the game evolves and so do the players. I mean, if you were to compare relievers of yesteryear to the way Terry Francona used Andrew Miller during the 2016 Postseason, you’d have no historical lineage to pull from. That’s why, when Jim Callis of MLB.com compared Atlanta Braves top prospect Dansby Swanson to arguably, the greatest Yankees shortstop of all-time, I cringed.

In Callis’ defense, he did say comparing the two doesn’t mean Swanson will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer but did state this isn’t the first time he’s made the Jeter/Swanson claim — as he feels their styles and personalities match one another.

"Like Jeter, Swanson should hit for a high average with moderate power (albeit good pop for a shortstop) and a decent amount of walks. He has similar quickness and should provide 20 or so steals per year. Swanson is a solid defender and likely a better shortstop than Jeter was, though he probably won’t match The Captain’s five Gold Glove Awards.Swanson’s charisma is reminiscent of Jeter’s as well. Relative to the market sizes, Swanson will become as big a star in his hometown as Jeter was in New York."

Funny thing is I didn’t read anything about Swanson potentially winning five World Series Championships. Which is precisely the reason I would never compare the two — at least not until the 22-year-old former Vanderbilt product plays a full season in the big leagues!

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That’s the thing that separates Jeter from most other great players — the hand full of rings. Likening a guy with 145 career Major League plate appearances is a disservice to Swanson — in terms of having to live up to the enormous hype of being “the next Jeter,” — and Jeter himself, stating that a kid with only a little over a year and a half of Minor League ball under his belt will do anything on the field like that of the Yankee great.

I’m sure Braves fans will say that Callis was simply being complimentary, and I would agree. But why not take a look at the other phenomenal young shortstops that currently play in the Majors to compare and contrast to. If I’m a rival organizational scout, I want to know how Swanson stacks up against Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner — I could go on.

This is what matters — not how Swanson who batted .302/.361/.442 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 38 games in 2016 with the Braves, measures up to a man, who in my opinion should be a unanimous selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020 — surpassing Ken Griffey Jr. 99.3% this past year.

I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of Swanson in action last spring against the Mets at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida — and I’ll admit, the triple he ripped down the line — then flew into third base head first was an absolute thing of beauty.

So yeah, he has all the tools to add his name to that ever-growing list of fantastic young game-changers, but let’s pump the breaks on the accolades for just a second.

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Let the kid prove he belongs at the Major League level before saddling him with somewhat unreal expectations. Because anytime you compare a player to Derek Jeter, you’d be remiss to exclude the fact of what he accomplished in the Postseason.