Quick Thoughts on Derek Jeter   Leave a comment

Derek Jeter won the 2009 AL Gold Glove at shortstop–his fourth Gold Glove of his career. And there has been some talk among the baseball community that Jeter was wholly undeserving of his latest award. Although I couldn’t agree more, I would say that this Gold Glove was his most deserving from among the four. Let me explain…

"Yes, I got a routine putout. That should be enough for me, my chiseled jawline, and my beautiful fiancee to win a Gold Glove."

Among the 11 shortstops in the AL who played at least 800 innings at that position, Jeter ranked 5th in UZR, with a 6.6, trailing Erick Aybar of the Angels, Adam Everett of the Tigers, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers, and Cesar Izturis of the Orioles. (UZR, which stands for Ultimate Zone Ranking, is a mathematical determination of the number of runs a player has saved or cost his team playing defense, including his arm strenght and double play ability.) Jeter’s UZR was much closer to the best (Izturis, at 10.8) than it was to the worst (Yuniesky Bentacourt of the Mariners/Royals, at -20.5). I commend Jeter for that, especially since his 6.6 was the highest UZR of his career. In his other three Gold Glove seasons (2004-2006), he had UZRs of -0.4, -14.3, and -6.8. The highest UZRs in those three years, in comparison, were 16.4 by Julio Lugo, 19.9 by Orlando Cabrera, and 11.8 by Alex Gonzalez.

Jeter was also clearly behind Andrus in putouts (206 to 261) and finished sixth in that category. He also ranked sixth in assists and eight in double plays. Granted, he was tied with Izturis with the fewest errors (8) among AL shortstops. However, in 40 fewer games started, Izturis had just as many assists and double plays as Jeter. Again, keep in mind that Jeter’s rankings of 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th and 1st are among 11 eligible shortstops.

Even when he commits an error, he looks awesome.

AND THIS WAS JETER’S BEST DEFENSIVE SEASON… EVER!!!

So, this analysis begs the question: How did Jeter win the Gold Glove… EVER? Two reasons. First, Omar Visquel’s reign as the best defensive shortstop in the AL ended. Second, he’s Derek Jeter. He’s articulate, he’s never used steroids, his hobby is collecting World Series rings, and his list of girlfriends include Mariah Carey, Scarlet Johannson, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo, and Minka Kelly (his current fiancee). So, here’s what was going through the mind of the Gold Glove Award voters: “Defense? Who cares about defense? Give Jeter the award and maybe we can get a picture with Minka Kelly.” I hope that picture was worth your soul… because the award should’ve clearly gone to Elvis Andrus… or Erick Aybar… aww, heck, just let Jeter have it.

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Posted November 11, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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