Derek Jeter has more power to right than Albert Pujols


For Derek Jeter, taking the ball to right field is an art. Even as I write this sentence, three months removed from live baseball, I can picture the swing. Jeter takes his stride, closes his shoulders, extends his arms, and slaps an outside pitch between the first and second basemen for a single. Sometimes he pokes it down the line for a double. Other times he gets a pitch that catches too much of the plate and he sends it over the short porch in right. No matter the result it still looks pretty, even most of the outs.

Can you guess what this is a picture of?

Thanks to FanGraphs splits, we can see exactly how good Derek Jeter is on balls hit to right field. It comes as no surprise that in 2009 he was excellent. He put 164 balls in play to right field, dunking in 46 for singles, slapping 11 doubles and a triple, and hitting 12 home runs (which, as a reminder, do not count as ball in play). That’s a .398 batting average. Moreover, it’s a .676 SLG, adding up to a .278 ISO and a 1.074 OPS. Those are pretty excellent marks, especially for a right-handed hitter going the opposite way. It made me wonder how other right-handed hitters fared.

The first name that came to mind, of course, was Albert Pujols. He’s been the best player in baseball for a few years now, so I assumed that this resulted from his ability to hit to all fields. Yet, after checking the numbers I was a bit surprised. Yes, Pujols demonstrates power to all fields, and he does hit the ball to left better than right. That’s to be expected. But on ball hit to right field he’s no match for the mighty Jeter. Pujols has a .305 BA against a .537 SLG for an ISO of .232. That’s good, but it’s not Jeter. For our purposes, we’ll conveniently ignore the vast discrepancy in their pull numbers.

What about other prolific righty sluggers? Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks posted a .260/.349/.543 line overall, good for a .284 ISO. To right field he posted a .333 BA and a .611 SLG, a .278 ISO that matches Jeter’s. I’d still hand Jeter the edge here 1) because of his BA and 2) because he did it in nearly twice the opportunities — Reynolds had only 91 plate appearances in which he put a ball into right field, while Jeter had 176.

Derrek Lee of the Cubs had a resurgent year, hitting .306/.393/.579 for an ISO of .273. He did demonstrate more power to right than Jeter, posting a .284 ISO in 112 attempts. His batting average fell far below Jeter’s though, at .275. In terms of power, sure, he outhit Jeter. But in terms of overall proficiency, it’s all Derek.

Surprisingly, Jason Bay demonstrated good power to right field in 2009. As a right-handed hitter playing half his games at Fenway, clearly he posted better numbers to left field — a .466 ISO, which is nearly, but not quite, Pujolsian. He also posted a .262 ISO to right field, which lags behind Jeter a bit. Like most other hitters, Bay’s batting average to right wasn’t quite up to par, either, at .262, and he also had only 61 plate appearances in which he hit a ball to right field.

You know who killed the ball to right field? Nelson Cruz. He had 80 plate appearances where he hit a ball to right, and posted a .291 batting average and .646 SLG for a .354 ISO. The power came almost exclusively off home runs, as he hit nine to right. His only other extra base hit was a double. But, again, his sample was less than half of Jeter’s.

Among the more important points here is the ability to frequently take the ball the other way. It’s one thing that Jeter posts monstrous rate stats when hitting the ball to the opposite field. It’s quite another that he does it so often. He actually hit four more balls to right last season than he did to left. It makes me wonder why pitchers continue to work him outside.

To end this on a further high note, Jeter’s career numbers when hitting the ball to right field: .373 BA, .954 OPS, .211 ISO. Pretty damn impressive over a 14-year career.

Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Categories : Offense
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Ladies, I not a machine, okay? I just Derek.

    • miketotheg

      i laughed out loud so hard now everybody knows im not actually working in my cubbie. goshdarnit.

  • Brian

    Great post, but these pictures of fat women are killing me. Can’t we find a new RAB advertiser?

    • larryf

      Derek goes to right and you should too when looking at the ad….

      • Moshe Mandel

        Those ads are hilarious because those are clearly not the same person.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      1) This is completely off-topic.

      2) Are you willing to compensate us to the level of this advertiser?

      • radnom

        Just some advice, but if you always take that attitude people are going to start blocking them. Personally, I turn off my adblocking software for site I want to support (like RAB), but if the ads ever became obtrusive it wouldn’t matter how much I like the site, they would be blocked.

        That said, I don’t think these ads are bad and they are on every site these days. Nothing wrong with a few fatties.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Out of curiosity: If you use adblocking software (I don’t), do you not see anything in the little squares where the ads are?

          And does your use of this actually mean RAB doesn’t get the money for your pageview? I assume web ad money is linked to pageviews.

          • radnom

            Out of curiosity: If you use adblocking software (I don’t), do you not see anything in the little squares where the ads are?

            Depends on the site, but usually it renders it as if the ads were never there (there would not be a blank square). Again, that works better on some sites than others.

            And does your use of this actually mean RAB doesn’t get the money for your pageview? I assume web ad money is linked to pageviews.

            This I’m less sure of, and I’m sure different advertisers operate differently, but the advertiser does not have access to accurate pageview numbers for RAB. For pageview based ad services, compensation depends on how often the ad is loaded on the site, which is negatively affected by adblocking software.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada


              So, as an advocate of more free shit for me, I should be firmly against adblocking software as it decreases content provider revenue and will likely result in an eventual cost-shift from advertiser to consumer.

              • A.D.


              • radnom

                I hear you on that, but with the massive amount of autoplay sound and video/flashing/popup ads these days I find it safer to just unblock the sites I use frequently and don’t abuse the ads.

                Sort of like how I justify downloading music. Yes its stealing, but whatever I’m not going to actually buy all these CDs.

                • Brian

                  I apologize for the off-topic comment that started this discussion. I love this site so much that I’m willing to stare at a 400 pound woman’s stomach profile just to read it.

          • whozat

            depends on how you block the ad, and depends on the type of ad. Payment on some classes of ads are linked to clickthrough rate, some are linked merely to views. Some adblocking software downloads the content and doesn’t display it, some blocks the download altogether. The latter would, presumably, cause the site owner to not get any money. The former…I doubt that the ad vendor can do much to tell whether the ad was actually rendered and shown to your eyeballs.


            • radnom

              I wonder why anyone would want to use the former type of adblocking software? Not only do you remain open to security breaches from nefarious ads, but it slows you down. If you’re not going to see it anyway, why bother?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          I appreciate the input, and further appreciate you turning off your ad-blocker for the site. We’ve worked to keep obtrusive ads off the site. I believe, but could be mistaken, that you helped us out on that front a few months ago. Flashing and talking ads we take care of as best we can.

          Removing the said fatty ad would cost us some serious money. I don’t want it there. None of us do. But we also would like some form of compensation for our efforts. The online ad market sucks, and we’re just doing what we can.

          • radnom

            We’ve worked to keep obtrusive ads off the site. I believe, but could be mistaken, that you helped us out on that front a few months ago. Flashing and talking ads we take care of as best we can.

            You guys have been doing a good job of this. One of the many reasons I’m more than happy to let the ads through.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              I do miss the ol’ Fantasy Sports Day girls, though.

              http://www.fantasysportsday.co.....seball.jpg (meh, safe-ish, sorta)

              Bringing them back into rotation would be teh awesome.

              • Thomas

                That whole website is pretty much just half-naked girls. Cool!

          • Steve H

            Removing the said fatty ad would also greatly upset JMK.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              And with the FLOTUS’s anti-obesity campaign underway, he’s already on suicide watch as it is.

          • miketotheg

            LMFAO @ “said fatty” let’s have an RAB bake sale!

    • pat

      Blame JMK. He’s the one always clicking on the “Before” picture hoping for more where that one came from.

  • steve s

    Give credit to Sterling for adding the description of this phenomena (the Jeterian Swing) to the basball lexicon.

  • Justin R.

    I can’t wait for the season to start just to see how many games start with a Jeter base hit and Nicky J walk to kick things off with a two on, no out situation for Tex and A-Rod.

    April seems so far away…

  • Nick

    Are you saying Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?

    • Joe

      Let’s not start a holy war here Harris.

  • Mike Bk

    good piece. one question about the stats at the end is it a career .954 OPS or a different slg because it would impossible for him to have slugged .954 to right for his career.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      You’re right. It’s OPS. My bad.

      • Mike Bk

        no prob, thanks for checking.

  • A.D.

    Crazy how much power he generates to the opposite field

  • pat

    I’ve always wondered why stadiums are so anti-pepper.

  • Matt :: Sec 105
  • bexarama

    Jeter’s HR in Game 1 of the ALDS was a thing of great beauty. (happy sigh) And dammit, I was just gonna guess it was the Maier home run!

  • Jay

    Good article, Joseph. It made me think of a former Yankee who was a good opposite-field hitter: Mike Stanley.

    Out of curiosity, would you know his career stats to RF?

    Thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

  • d-ness

    There is just one thing I take issue with when titling a column such as this. I think it is important to realize that numbers cannot represent a player’s overall abilities, characteristics and qualities fully. Agreed, Derek Jeter sees results that represent more power to right field. He also has 16 fewer feet to hit a home run in his home stadium, where nearly half of his at bats will take place.

    I would contend that Derek Jeter does not “have more power” to right field than Albert Pujols, but in fact hits for better numbers, slugs better, and has a better batting average. He has better success. I take issue with the way statistics are used to represent qualities that cannot possibly be represented accurately. Albert Pujols, without a doubt, can hit the ball further to any field than Derek Jeter can. Therefore he “has more POWER” to any field than Derek Jeter does. I just think when professional writers choose their words (see New York Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, local news outfits for how NOT to choose words), they should use a bit more tact when representing statistics. Say Derek Jeter has better power numbers to right field than Albert Pujols. Don’t say he has more power.

    On that note, I love Jeter, and the Yankees, and read RAB religiously, but I gotta take issue with the wording. Sorry.

    • Chip

      So you’d like him to say “displays more power?”

      • Chip

        Also, nobody is seriously saying that Jeter would out-homer Pujols to right if Pujols started trying to hit everything to right. It’s more of a tongue-in-cheek headline that I think most people here understood

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          You got it with the tongue-in-cheek. As I said to Ben last night, it’s not every day you get to say Jeter has more power than Pujols. I just wanted to run with it.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Your post title has murdered blogging history.

            Jayson Stark and Brent Mayne.

          • D-ness

            Fair. I appreciate your enthusiasm. I wasn’t at all trying to criticize your work. You do a great job. Anyways happy posting… just had to get that off my chest.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              It’s a legit criticism, too. Sometimes we assume that everyone’s “in” on something, and we can send mixed messages. I absolutely get what you’re saying.

  • Chip

    I thought I saw something this year about how Jeter and Cano lead the league in opposite field hits this year? It seemed like Cano had the whole line drive into the opposite gap figured out this year.

    • pete

      i think cano pretty much had the whole hitting the ball thing figured out this year

      • Jay

        i think cano pretty much had the whole hitting the ball thing figured out this year

        Yes, but, you know, Dustin Pedroia plays harder and has a greater emotional investment in the day-to-day outcome of his team. In other words, he cares more than Cano.

        • http://www.facebook.com/adorador Ray Fuego

          Pedroia can suck big fat zweigles

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