So much for all those critics who said Derek Jeter couldn’t play shortstop anymore and was hurting the Yankees defense with his lack of range, especially to his left.
There are a few sites on-line, such as Bill James’ that track a player’s fielding ability. Everyone and their mom was talking last season about Jeter’s lack of ability. In fact, according to Bill James, Jeter allowed 8 more runs then the average shortstop – a figure that most likely cost the Yankees a couple of wins.
This season, Bill James rates Jeter at +2 – meaning that he has allowed 2 less runs then the average shortstop. Foxsports is reporting that Jeets also has only 2 errors this season in his first 59 games – giving him a .992 fielding percentage which is the best of his career.
As the Yankees Captain, Jeter gets a lot of media attention. As a good looking single guy, he gets a lot of media attention. As the probable best player to ever put on a Yankees uniform (sorry Babe, Lou, Joe and Mick), Jeter gets a lot of attention. That being said, a lot has been written and spoke about his abilities, or lack of them.
Although it is great news to hear his defense is doing great, it was hard not to be impressed with Ramiro Pena running hard to his left last night to get a grounder up the middle and preserve the win for the Yankees.
Jeter is 35 now and he won’t be able to play shortstop until he is 40 – its just no possible. Cal Ripken was a phenomenal baseball player and a great athlete, but even he moved to third base. Of course, the Yankees have third base locked-up in the hands of Alex Rodriguez until 2017.
So naturally, the only place for Jeter to go is left field – which wouldn’t be horrible – Jeets has a wicked throwing arm and can make the throw from shallow left to home plate in one or no bounces.
Until then, let’s just appreciate Jeets for the phenomenal player he is.