Friday, July 8, 2011
So I figure its necessary to get this obligatory post out of the way. I might as well start with the fact that I unlike most Jays bloggers, do not in fact hate the Yankees. Sure they frustrate me to no avail when they steamroll through the Jays, but I am a big fan of winning.
Throughout my long yet uneventful adventure playing baseball as a kid, I always played shortstop. Since the Jays option of an idol at short was Russ Adams, I found myself naturally inclined to watch Derek Jeter. He may move around the box way too much and try far too hard to convince an umpire that a strike was a ball by how far back he pushes out his ass, but you have to give the guy credit... He's Good.
A lot of people couldn't understand how the Yankees could fathom signing DJ to the contract he received in this years off-season. Evidently they never took business marketing 101 in community college and have the ability to ignore the unnatural wealth Jeter provides the Yankees based on his fan-base.
But that's not really the point of this, my point is that I think Jeter is great, like really great. Certainly not what he once was, but the guy is a legend. I always knew this, but as I was setting my lineup today for my slumping fantasy team, I started looking a little closer at the stats of another AL shortstop. The news item today affixed to Micheal Young, the Texas Rangers stalwart who spent most of the 2000's raking at shortstop. Jeter is only two years older than Young yet he has played almost 800 more games than him.
While Jeter is closing in on 3K hits, Young is still trying to reach 2000. While the Ranger's did with Young defensively what the Yankees should have likely done with Jeter years ago, they both are very similar offensive players. Both shortstops have average power (both their career highs in HR is 24/both have a career slugging percentage of .450) and are outstanding contact hitters. Yet Jeter has 1000 more hits than him and is only two years older. Sure playing time early in his career had a lot to do with it for Jeter, DJ played his first season in 1995 when he was 21, Young didn't break into the league until he was 25.
For all the hate Jeter receives from everyone that isn't a Yankees fan, hopefully some take the time to appreciate the star he truly is. While many contend he is a below average fielder, when it comes to his bat, Captain Clutch has put together a career for ages.
...and oh yeah, his 72.4 career WAR places him 10th all time among MLB shortstops (if he had have been an avg SS defensively he'd likely rank among the top 3 of all time)