Jeter not getting on base (and how it makes the Yanks offense more remarkable)


(Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

We were prepared for a slow start from Derek Jeter. Given the new swing mechanics he worked on this spring, it seemed like an inevitability. Through the season’s first month we didn’t make any mention of Jeter’s performance outside of game recaps. In fact, the only post we’ve made all year that involved Jeter’s performance is this whimsical one by Mike. Unfortunately, this is the first of them.

Joe Girardi has said that they have to wait a while, specifically until 150 PA, until they start making judgments. Jeter is now at 175, and his numbers don’t look anything like a leadoff man’s should. Forget the batting average and slugging percentage. The most important number for a leadoff man is his OBP, and Jeter’s downright stinks. At .309 it ranks 133rd out of 192 qualified players. It also ranks eighth out of the nine Yankees who have 100 or more PA. That Jeter has more PA than anyone on the team further compounds the issue.

While the guy getting the most appearances making the most outs is a problem itself, it also causes problems for the rest of the lineup. Mark Teixeira is the biggest loser in all of this. He’s tied for fourth on the team with 22 RBI despite having the second most extra base hits. That’s because he’s not coming to bat with men on base. In 61.63 percent of his plate appearances he has seen a bases empty situation. That ranks 37th out of the 225 players who have 100 or more PA. The only Yankee who has seen more bases empty situations is the leadoff hitter himself.

(To be clear, he has seen the 37th fewest PA with runners on base.)

Part of that, of course, is that Curtis Granderson has done a good job of clearing the bases. But he’s hit only 10 homers in the two hole. Let’s be generous and turn all 10 of those homers into doubles. That would still put him at 109th in the league at 55.81 percent of his PA with the bases empty. This is not something you want to see for your No. 3 hitter. Even Alex Rodriguez at No. 4 hasn’t seen a ton of bases on PA. He has had the bases empty in 52.29 percent of his PA — and that’s with the benefit of Teixeira’s .378 OBP.

While the main issue here is of how ineffective Jeter has been atop the lineup, the secondary issue is of how highly this speaks of the Yankees offense. Despite the recent slump they’re still second in the AL in runs per game at 5.03. That they can do that while their leadoff man OBPs around .300, and while their second best hitter (performance-wise this season) has seen a great majority of his plate appearances with the bases empty, is a testament to the lineup’s depth. The Yankees can afford to continue the Jeter experiment, because they’ve scored runs. But as they showed during the winless skid, during which Jeter got on base in just five of 30 PA (.200 OBP), his presence at the top can hurt at times.

While Jeter can turn things around, even if it seems unlikely, he should have to do it from a lower spot in the order. If the Yankees want the most effective offense possible they need to have men on base when Teixeira and A-Rod come to the plate. To date they have not seen that. In fact, Nick Swisher has seen the most opportunities with men on base. (Which only makes matters worse, as things stand.) The No. 6 guys should see those opportunities, but not more than the Nos. 3 and 4 guys. That’s the inefficiency in the Yankees’ lineup. Make a change, and they could be even better. Unfortunately, I don’t get the sense that one is coming.

Categories : Offense


  1. Klemy says:

    I have been told that it’s still early.

    • jetrer says:

      The problem with that is Jeter’s struggles date back to last year. Its been a lot longer than a month and a half that Jeter has been a subpar leadoff hitter in this lineup. Jeter’s numbers against lefties have been good enough to remain in the #1 spot, but against righties, there is over a year’s worth of evidence that he absolutely needs to be moved down in the lineup. Against lefties: 2011 – .282 BA/ .391 OBP, .410 SLG, 2010 .321/.393/.481 (those OBPs against lefties warrant him being leadoff against lefties IMO) Against righties: 2011 – .244/.279/.277, 2010 – .246/.315/.317 (those numbers warrant Jeter being dropped to ninth against righties and perhaps being given more regular rest against tougher righties)

    • JobaWockeeZ says:


      That’s Jeter’s line dating exactly one year from today. Or do we have to wait for his contract to expire to fully say that he isn’t hitting?

    • That might be the least satirical article in Onion history, despite their genuine and sincere efforts to lampoon and exaggerate in the name of comedy.

      Every joke in there is unlaughably true.

  2. Glenn says:

    Jeter needs to use the pink bat again. Mother’s Day was his only good day at the plate.

  3. Andrew says:

    Jeter was always considered an aggressive swinger/hitter, but a 29% out of the strikezone swing rate is terrible compared to the kind of rates he used to put up (averaged 19.5% from 2002-2009). His selectivity or lack thereof is the worst part of his late career game and has to be the big culprit as to why his OBP is cratering. It seems amazing that he would lose his ability to draw walks and work counts even if he’s dealing with less bat speed. If he made contact with more pitches in the strike zone perhaps he’d resurrect his ability to hit the ball hard consistently. But given how 2010 went, I don’t know when/if that change is going to happen.

  4. Jon L says:

    What was Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

  5. Skip says:


    this should be the line-up but as we all know it will never happen

    • Esteban says:

      You’re probably right about Gardner leading off at this point, but how many people were clamoring for Gardner to lead off a month ago?

      • jetrer says:

        when someone is struggling like Gardner was (and Jeter is) they should be dropped until they start hitting again. When they do, it makes sense to move them back up

    • jetrer says:

      too many lefties stacked and Swish is way too high …btw tex has better number than Cano and Arod

    • Mark Teixeira, 2011: 172 PA, .254/.378/.500 (141+), .388 wOBA, 147 wRC+
      Robinson Cano, 2011: 162 PA, .285/.321/.523 (129+), .369 wOBA, 134

      Mark Teixeira does not need to be moved down from the #3 hole. Cano doesn’t need to be moved up from the #5 hole Everybody needs to stop with that. It’s change for the sake of change, and it’s just as likely (if not more likely) to disrupt each player’s production than increase it.

      Tex-ARod-Cano at 3-4-5 is just fine and does not need to be altered.

      • CP says:

        But what about all the pop-ups!?!?

      • Victor says:

        All those wOBA and wRC+ nonsense that is so prevalent on this site means nothing. The third spot in the order is reserved for your best hitter. Robinson Cano is that. With runners on base I would much rather have Cano up with Arod then Tex.

        • Esteban says:

          I laughed.

        • All those wOBA and wRC+ nonsense that is so prevalent on this site means nothing.


          The third spot in the order is reserved for your best hitter.

          Overly inflexible and generally not true. All that aside, working under your prescription that the #3 hitter should be better than the #5 hitter, Tex is currently a better hitter than Cano.

          Robinson Cano is that. With runners on base I would much rather have Cano up with Arod then Tex.

          And since Tex is better at getting on base than Cano is, putting Cano at #5 and Tex at #3 gives you the best chance of having runners on base for ARod and Cano.

          • Victor says:


            Hahahaha…poor guy.

            Overly inflexible and generally not true. All that aside, working under your prescription that the #3 hitter should be better than the #5 hitter, Tex is currently a better hitter than Cano.

            Says your master computer that punches in all those nonsensical stats of yours. Cano has more hits than Tex, better at bats than Tex, less holes than Tex therefore better hitter than Tex.

            And since Tex is better at getting on base than Cano is, putting Cano at #5 and Tex at #3 gives you the best chance of having runners on base for ARod and Cano.

            Valid point, but that argument was presented after the “new lineup” where the 1st and 2nd place hitters would be getting on base more frequently than we are seeing now.

            • Men On Base, 2011 and career (I’ll leave out the wOBA and wRC+ since they’re evil voodoo stats that you can’t won’t understand):

              Mark Teixeira:
              2011 – .321/.409/.732
              Career – .294/.402/.557

              Robinson Cano:
              2011 – .277/.310/.477
              Career – .286/.325/.443


              • Victor says:

                I’m glad you made assumptions all on your own. You’re a big boy after all.This year, Cano is a better hitter than Tex. Guess you can’t and won’t understand that. They are two remarkably great hitters. Cano has a higher average, more hits, higher slugging. Tex has higher on base, ops and obp.

                #namecallingisforgrammarschool. Especially over a computer. Funny guy.

                • And yet, as I just showed you, Tex has been better across the board (in average, hits, slugging, on-base, OPS, everything) with men on base, which was the reason you were so interested in flipping them in the first place.

                  Your assertion that you’d rather have Cano up there over Tex with runners on base is wrongheaded. You should rather have Tex than Cano. Tex has been the better hitter in that situation, across the board, both historically and right now at this very moment in the 2011 season.

                  They are two remarkably great hitters, yes.

                  Tex is the better one, still. (And this is coming from an abashed Cano fan. I only own one jersey, it’s #24.)

            • Cano has been hacktastic all season. Swinging at EVERYTHING. Keep him in the five hole, he’s better suited for that.

              • Victor says:

                LOL @ Hacktastic…being that Tex is a switch hitter I think they’ll leave him batting 3rd. Just be interesting to see how Cano would do batting 3rd.

            • jetrer says:

              Cano has better ABs????? Making out on the first pitch all the time is a better AB??

    • Dave says:

      Swisher above Martin and Montero?

  6. Jon L says:

    When does “It’s still early” really become “It’s been enough time to make a fair judgment”?

  7. Monteroisdinero says:

    So much to dislike about Jeter at the plate. He doesn’t take enough pitches and certainly not as a leadoff hitter. You take away the 2 HR game and his #’s are atrocious. Atrocious enough to consider the Nunez defensive liabilities. I think his defense would improve with more playing time whereas Jeter’s hitting obviously will not. It was a bad contract and there were NO competitive offers. Jeter cannot turn on a fastball and the holes in his swing are becoming craters.

    Jed Lowrie is looking pretty good now.

  8. Joe says:

    I see it being a long season for the Yankees offense. They just don’t have the Bernie Williams in his prime or Paul Oneill or Derek Jeter in his prime. These guys hit 300 for them. This team is too much of a 250 average type of a team. That’s not going to work in the AL East when your pitching staff isn’t dominant. As much as I hate to admit it the Rays and Red Sox are just better teams than the Yankees. You look at position by position with the Yankees and Red Sox lineups and you see Adrian Gonzalez is hitting 320 while Mark Teixiera is hitting 250. That’s 70 points higher if those averages hold up. Derek Jeter is hitting 250 Jed Lowrie is hitting 320. Again 70 points higher. Forget about OBP because would you rather have a 250 hitter up with runners in scoring position or a 320 hitter with runners in scoring? Naturally anyone who is smart is going to pick the 320 hitter. 3rd base Kevin Youkilis while he has basically the same batting average as A Rod he is more likely to reach 290 then A Rod who may only hit 260 because of age. And then when you look at the Yankees outfield, it’s basically the same as the Red Sox. So the Yankees don’t have an advantage in the lineup and they certainly don’t have an advantage in the pitching staff. The Yankees are too homer happy and should be less about power and more about average because hitting with runners in scoring position is where tight games are won NOT the long ball.

    • Guest says:

      This might be the single most effective piece of Sabr-trolling I have ever seen.

      Down to the handle of Joe (Mr. Morgan, is that you?).

      Well played, Joe. Well played.

    • CP says:

      They just don’t have the Bernie Williams in his prime or Paul Oneill or Derek Jeter in his prime. These guys hit 300 for them.

      2000 Average AL batting line: .276/.349/.443/.792
      2011 Average AL batting line: .250/.320/.391/.711

      The 2011 Yankees are averaging 5.03 R/G, which is second in the AL.

    • Steve H says:

      Last year the Yankees were 7th in batting average, 1st in OBP.

      They easily led the league in runs.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah but your judged by how consistent you are as a team on offense not necessarily because you led the league in runs scored. The 2009 team scored 915 runs, they lead the league but it indeed felt like they lead the league because they were “consistent.” The 2010 team scored 859 runs that it a 56 run drop from 2009. The Yankees last year batted 267 as a team and in 2009 they batted 283 as a team. That’s 16 points higher than what they were averaging in 2010 thus they produced more runs because of it in 2009. The Yankees offense in 2009 wasn’t like 2010 where if they scored like 12 runs in 1 game then they would score 3 runs in each of the next 5 games.

        • Steve H says:

          The Yankees offense in 2009 wasn’t like 2010 where if they scored like 12 runs in 1 game then they would score 3 runs in each of the next 5 games.

          Absolutely false.

        • CP says:

          The team won in 2009 and not in 2010 because they had 3 healthy starting pitchers in the playoffs.

          • It'sATarp says:

            And Arod was in beast mode in 2009, he carried the team and prolly would have lost 3-4 games w/o him. We didn’t have that kind of an insanely hot hitter in 2010.

        • hogsmog says:

          And give me one single reason why a higher team BA would at all be correlated with a lower standard deviation in runs/game. You probably can’t, because there isn’t one.

    • theyankeewarrior says:


    • jetrer says:

      yeah you may want the higher average guys up with men on base, but with lower OBPs there will be fewer situations with runner’s on base

  9. Mike c says:

    Is this a new article? I feel like I’ve read this one 1000 times already… I guess the ‘drop jeter’ amen corner needs to vent? Don’t worry guys you’ll get your wish soon enough

  10. Rookie says:

    You nailed it, Joe. You nailed it.

  11. Cy Pettitte says:


    • Martin
      Cano TEX
      Teix CANO

      • Cy Pettitte says:

        that’s fine, I just figured might as well really shake it up, lol. But really, the only to people who should be in the lead off spot should be Gardner/Martin. Jeter needs to be dropped already.

        • CP says:

          Jeter can (and probably should) lead off against lefties.

          • Cris Pengiuci says:

            And to show him “the repsect he desvers”, bat him 7th, using this lineup against righties (until Swish comes around):


            This will allow Swish to get on base for the top of the order. You could even swap Jeter & Martin to show more respect if necessary.

    • LarryM.,Fl. says:

      Cy Pettitte, that is an interesting lineup but this team is fragile. Girardi would be crazy to consider moving Jeter down in the lineup. Being 8th behind Jorge might make him acceptable to the move especially as the ultimate team player.

      Pitchers are just going after him with fastballs until ahead in the count then the braking stuff then dribbler up the middle or to the left side.

      I cannot see why Jeter can’t adjust. I can see .260/.270 with some doubles and sacrifice flies but he’s embarrassing himself nightly.

  12. Monteroisdinero says:

    We are a bunch of little league parents arguing with the coach that his underperforming/overrated son shouldn’t bat leadoff.

    /deaf ears

  13. Why are so many people insisting on dropping Tex?

  14. Billy Mumphrey says:

    You’re preaching to the chior, Mike. I’ve been saying Jeter should be moved down to 9th for weeks now. The manager is spineless so Cashman is gonna have to step in again like he did with Jorge and be the bad guy. If George were still alive he would have put this to rest already.

  15. CP says:

    I predict Jeter will have a big game tonight, and everyone will be convinced (again) that he’s back. And then he’ll go into another slump – or should it be called the new normal?

  16. Uncle Fester says:

    Is there any chance at all that Jetes bats 9th anytime soon, given that seems to be the best baseball move? It’s not as bad as having Colon bat 9th and having the DH take Jeter’s spot.

    • Cris Pengiuci says:

      He ain’t batting anywhere but leadoff (or very close to it) until after he get’s his 3,000th hit.

  17. BklynJT says:

    Whats the standard deviation on that runs/game average? There are a couple of 10+ scoring games that are masking the fact that the Yankees have scored 3 runs or less in 12 of their 40 games… that’s roughly 25% of their games that they are scoring less than 3 runs. In those games, the Yankees are 2-10.

  18. MikeD says:

    There won’t be any sign it’s coming until it happens.

    Anyone consider the possibility that the reason the Yankees were upset with Jeter’s support of Posada and wanted to “discuss things” is because they’re already planning to drop the other shoe, which is dropping Jeter in the lineup? They’ve been sending messages since the off season, and they are continuing to send messages. You’re next.

    As great as Posada and Jeter have been for the Yankees for a very long time, the Yankees won’t keep them there forvever. They do get a little more runway than the average player, and they do deserve that, but that runway will end. Posada’s now at the end of that runway. Jeter’s rolling down it.

    It’s not easy on the players, it’s not easy on the organization, and it’s not easy on the fans. None of us like seeing Jorge struggle, or Jeter tapping weak grounders into the dirt. We haven’t seen many “legends” get old, and by legends I mean home-grown Yankees whom have performed well for many years. There are others, like Paul O’Neill, who worked their way into the inner circle of fan favorites. The favored sons. Maybe it’s been since Mantle, before my time, and certainly before most everyone else here, that a Yankee great got old in front our eyes. The others were free agents, or people we traded for, and then left.

    Guidry, perhaps, to a lesser degree. Munson was right on the edge, but then he died. He never got old in front of us where “tough decisions” had to be made, although I am old enough to have seen Munson, and discussions were already happening. Mattingly was a fraction of his former self, but he was still a great fielder and could still hit, cranking out a .289/.345/.420 line the last few years. When he stepped to the plate it wasn’t as if I thought the AB was over before it began, as I feel many times with Jeter now. There were also a few times during the season when his back felt good and he would remind us of who he was. He did that up until the end in the ’95 playoffs. He left because I suspect he knew what was coming. He might have been told. Mussina wasn’t a favored son, but he saw how messy the end could be during 2007. He probably worried the end had arrived in 2007, and then he had a new lease on life. I have to wonder if that influenced his decision to call it quits after 2008; he got a glimpse of how bad it could be at the end, so he left on a high note. Paul O’Neill was fading, but he was still productive, and left with a 20/20 season and a 100+ OPS+. Bernie Williams basically just faded away. He could still hit lefties at the end, and could have played a few more seasons as a Marcus Thames-kind-of-player if only Joe Torre would have used him that way. He didn’t, so Brian Cashman removed Bernie Williams from Joe Torre. It was an uncomfortable ending to not be invited back, but I insist to this day that it had more to do with Torre than Williams. It wasn’t pleasant but it wasn’t messy. One day, Bernie was just gone. Andy Pettitte may not have planned it this way, but if he’s watching from afar, he is probably more confident in his decision than before. He left on a high note. He more than any of the original core FIVE (Jeter, Bernie, Jorge, Mo and Pettite) saw how flaky management can be when they let him walk away as a free agent. This time he walked away.

    That leaves us with three other Yankee “legends,” one who still performs at the highest of levels. Mo may simply leave after 2012. He’s hinted next year will be the last, but he’s hinted at that before. We’ll see. Posada will be gone after this season, even if he has a resurgence and opts to play elsewhere (I have no doubt he will if he gets interest.) As for Jeter, I believe very strongly he is one of most intelligent players in the game, a product of his upbringing and his parents. He is very self-aware, which is why he is so guarded. He sees what’s happening and he knows he is not above it all. The Yankees have been all but telling him he’s not above it all staring with the contract negotiations and his linkage to the Posada affair. We’ll never know what he’s thinking, but it would not surprise me if 2012 is his last season. We won’t know it’s coming. We’ll wake up one day, hear about an announcement and Jeter will retire, before he’s reduced to a bench player maybe getting 100 ABs his last year. The two sides will come to an agreement that works for both. They may convert his last two years to a longer-term personal services contract so that it’s not counted against the luxury tax, but he’ll be gone.

    DiMaggio knew what was coming and decided to exit gracefully before it got messy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yankee management was already hinting to him his time was running out. My guess is the Yankees will try to do the same with Jeter once it’s clear he can’t provide value. We’re not there yet, since as a SS in the AL, the bar is much lower right now.

    Jeter will try to leave with some dignity before he is told he’s dead. Unless he discovers the fountain of youth, 2012 will be it for him.

    –”No one dies in dignity but one could live with it.” Dr. Gregory House (Brian Cashman’s favorite show?)

    • Tom Swift says:

      I can see Jeter not exercising his player option, but I do not see him retiring before the end of the 2013 season, barring injury. He is thinking past 3000 hits to 3500 hits.

      • MikeD says:

        The problem he’ll face will be playing time. First he gets dropped to 9th. Then he gets “rested” more reguarly. Then he’s a part-time player. Then he’s just sitting on the bench. The Yankees will force him into a decision by not playing him.

        He had a large drop off in production last year. He’s worse (so far) this year. If he continues to decline, he will no longer have a regular spot as he continues through 2012. The Yankees will treat him as a sunk cost and that will be tough for him to handle. That’s why I think the two sides could come to an agreement by the end of 2012 at Jeter’s rate of decline.

        What will be the Yankees choices if he becomes totally non-productive? An outright cut of a legend, where they’ll still have to pay the full value of his contract? And why would Jeter want to put himself through that? It makes sense at that point for the two to come to an agreement.

        Once the Yankees decide that the remainder of Jeter’s contract is a sunk cost, and once Jeter realizes he is no longer going to be playing reguarly, the two will work out an agreement.

  19. Bob Michaels says:

    Why did the Steinbrenner family agree to Casey Close and Jeters demand for essentially a 60 million deal. It`s quite evident he`s at the end of the road. Oh yes he`s iconic but that does not win Ball Games.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.