Dealing with Jeter at the top of the lineup

The Obligatory Juan Rivera Post
Manipulating Phil Hughes' Roster Spot
(From Flickr user jcanroot via Creative Commons license.)

When Derek Jeter came off the DL before yesterday’s game, the Yankees got more than just the player. They got all of the drama that comes along with him. That’s not exactly normal for Jeter. While the spotlight has always moved with him, but it has cast him in mostly a positive light. The stories about Jeter this year have been something less than that. While there are still positive vibes, mostly in regards to his 3,000 hit milestone, he and the team have faced an onslaught of criticism over his place in the lineup (and in some, more frivolous, cases, his role as a starter). Yet all this nitpicking might be just that.

A common refrain from stat-minded fans goes something like this: The difference between the optimal and the least efficient batting orders amounts to about a win during the course of a full season. It still means something on a game-to-game basis, but as with most averages it evens out when you collect a large enough sample. It’s not ideal, having guys who don’t get on base often sandwiched with guys who do, but good teams can overcome that in the long run.

It is clear to everyone, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, that Brett Gardner is a better fit in the leadoff spot than Jeter. Even after Gardner slumped a bit in the past week his on-base is 30 points higher than Jeter’s. The ZiPS rest of season projections give Gardner the advantage as well. Given his speed and prowess on the base paths, it’s a great advantage to have him leading off. But is it worth the drama to move Jeter down — probably to eighth — while Gardner slides into the lead off spot?

Against lefties this shouldn’t even be a question. Even as his production has declined in the past few years Jeter has continued to hit lefties. His wRC (weighted runs created, based on wOBA) against lefties from 2010 through the present is 51.0, which trails only Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Nick Swisher — that is, hitters who have clearly outproduced him on the whole during that span. His slash stats, .315/.396/.462, indicate that he is still well suited to the leadoff role when a lefty is on the mound. Since they face a lefty starter roughly a quarter of the time*, we’re then dealing with three quarters of the remaining games when analyzing Jeter’s role atop the order.

*Baseball Reference has the exact number on its team splits page, but all 2011 splits pages are blank at the time of writing, so I am SOL on the exact number.

Let’s see how this stacks up when we compare the number of times both Gardner and Jeter project to reach base against righties the rest of the way. To get an approximation of OBP, I’ll use each player’s numbers against righties from the last two seasons. I’d like to go back to 2009 as well, but it’s clear that both Gardner and Jeter have changed dramatically as players since then. It would make for a larger sample, but i don’t think it would be fair to the analysis.

Jeter has batted 718 times against right-handed pitching in the last two years and has reached base safely 220 times, good for a .307 OBP. Gardner has hit 631 times against righties and has reached base 233 times, good for a .373 OBP. If we take these rates and put them into the context of 263 PA* we get Jeter on base 81 times and Gardner on base 98 times. The difference of 17 times on base can be huge, since it means 17 more opportunities for Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and even Robinson Cano to drive in runners. But it’s also 17 runners in the span of 59 games, or one runner every 3.5 games. Is one base runner every 3.5 games worth demoting Jeter?

*The leadoff man will get approximately 350 PA the rest of the way, and so figuring a quarter of them will come against lefties, that leaves 263 against righties.

Let’s take this a step further, even, and plug in everyone’s 2010-2011 numbers against righties into Dave Pinto’s lineup analysis tool. With Jeter at leadoff and Gardner ninth the Yankees would score 5.434 runs per game. With a completely optimized lineup they’d score 5.524 runs per game, and with a lineup that most closely resembles the Gardner first, Jeter eighth or ninth order they’d score 5.518 runs per game. But let’s just take the optimized one. The lineup with Jeter atop against righties would score 321 runs in the 59 (theoretical) remaining games against right-handed starters, and the Gardner-led lineup would score 326 runs. The difference, then, doesn’t seem very large.

There are things that the lineup analysis tool cannot comprehend, such as quality of at-bats. In that department, Gardner is clearly the favorable option. Overall Gardner is clearly the best person to beat leadoff against righties; almost all of the evidence points to that fact. But just as there are factors that go beyond the lineup analysis tool, there are factors that go beyond lineup optimization. There are egos to handle, and a wrong move can have further effects. We can’t measure those, and so we can’t pinpoint their effects on the team. But they do exist, so the least we can do is acknowledge them before moving on.

While Brett Garndner is the preferred option atop the lineup against right-handed pitching, the difference between he and Jeter the rest of the season might not be so great. The Yankees will certainly get more opportunities, but with the averages point to far fewer than we might expect. The Yankees will have the advantage of an additional base runner every 3.5 games, and will score on average six more runs during the rest of the season against RHP, but is that worth the drama of moving Jeter? For every move, after all, there are unforseen consequences, and I’m not sure it’s worth the risk right now. It’s the preferred and optimal move, but it’s understandable why the Yankees wouldn’t do it.

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The Obligatory Juan Rivera Post
Manipulating Phil Hughes' Roster Spot
  • Hester Prynne

    One of the main jobs of the manager is to keep players happy and deal with big egos. Jeter will remain at the top of the lineup for the rest of the year unless he just falls off the face of the earth. It ain’t right but Girardi isn’t going to cause a big ruckus.

    • Rainbow Connection

      “One of the main jobs of the manager is to keep players happy and deal with big egos.”

      That’s one of the jobs, but the biggest one is to win.

      • Hester Prynne

        And winning is largely due to the players, correct? We like to think the manager makes a big difference in wins and losses but he really doesn’t. If the Yankees win it’s because we have the best offense in baseball or because the pitchers continue their good performances. As Joe pointed out, Jeter batting leadoff isn’t a huge detriment to the team.

        • Rainbow Connection

          It’s not a huge detriment, but it’s a detriment.
          Players can’t throw or hit balls when they’re not happy? Maybe they’re in the wrong profession.

          • TwainsYankee

            No offense but I hate this attitude. What you never felt like not working on a given day? Did it affect your performance? This whole lineup thing is a tempest in a teapot.

            • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

              Yeah, one time I was *really* hungover, didn’t feel like working, and yes, my work suffered. Actually, maybe it was more than once.

  • craig

    He should be moved down against RHP once he gets his 3,000th hit because the Yankees aren’t going to suddenly move him down in the post season (assuming they get there). In the post season, the difference between Gardner and Jeter matters more, as winners advance and losers go home. The Yankees cannot afford to have Jeter in the leadoff spot in the post season, so they should make the change and get the drama out of the way now.

    • MannyGeee

      I guess I could further argue this… in that you may REEEEEEEALLY need that extra baserunner in game 3 of the ALDS. but are you honestly willing to wait until October to make this happen?

      perfect world, Jeter bats 7th, that way he is still ‘leading off’…. the 3rd inning.

      • Cris Pengiuci

        Shit, I’d hope the Yankees get at least one base runner prior to the third, and, if batting 7th, Jeter getas his first AB sometime in the first or 2nd! (but I get your point). :-)

  • AC

    Jeter will do what’s right for team next season n beyond. He may not like it but deep down he knows. After his 3000th hit and after this season I see them moving him down order.

    • Jobu The Voodoo Troll

      What gives you confidence that he will. I have yet to see anything that says Jeter is going to accept a diminished role gracefully.

    • hogsmog

      He should do this for the same reason Girardi should let him stay at the top if he wants- a lot of baseball is dealing with this ego/ media perception stuff. Jeter does not (or should not) want to be the next Favre. By now everyone’s catching on that Jeter just isn’t what he used to be, and it would be much better for him, the franchise, and the fans if he left more like a Ripken.

      We know by now that order does not REALLY matter, but this media perception stuff actually might matter more than we want it to (at any rate it’s more fun to watch baseball when the paper isn’t blasting my favorite players).

  • Tom Swift

    I think Gardner has to be a notch better for Girardi to risk the move. If Gardner were hitting .300 with much better success stealing bases, it would be possible for Joe to pull the trigger. Short of that, the path of least resistance is to let Jeter lead off. Next season, things might be different.

    • http://deleted Total Dominication

      There is a 67 obp gap.

  • Jaremy

    Completely agree with the analysis here. Though the lineup could be more optimal, it just doesn’t seem worth the potential PR nightmare.

  • infernoscurse

    just throwing it out there but recently

    the yankees with no Nuñez in the lineup = 0 – 2

    stats are stats

    • Jim S

      Yeah, no. The Yankees without Nunez in the lineup are 38-34.

      I’m not trying to disprove your argument(i’m assuming you’re trying to say Jeter sux) using the record of the entire team in a game that one player in his best year is worth 9 more wins than a scrub; but you forget how many games we played without him earlier.

      • fire levine

        He’s being sarcastic and apparently it just went right over your head

  • Billy Shears

    Jeter should be the everyday SS. This isn’t because he has 5 rings or because he might pull a Posada if he was benched; he is just a better option than anything else the Yankees have right now.

    Jeter should also continue to lead off against lefties. This too is not because of his past successes or a potential tantrum, but because he is currently a better option than Gardner and batting Swisher behind Cano lengthens the lineup.

    However, the difference between Jeter and Gardner against right handers is just too much to ignore. 66 OBP points over the last two years is obscene. Add to the fact that Gardner is a better base runner and the gap between the two widens. Derek Jeter must bat 8th or 9th in the everyday lineup against right handed pitchers.

    There could be consequences to moving Jeter down in the order. The only two consequences that I feel may happen on the field involve Jeter hitting even worse (hard to do) or Jeter somehow getting a spark and hitting a little better. Maybe a drop in the order gets him to go back to Kevin Long. I do not think that Jeter will have a Posada-esque meltdown where he refuses to play. He has built an image over the last 16 years that he wouldn’t throw away in an instant.

  • infernoscurse

    actually the PR nightmare would be a nonfactor if jeter himself talked to the media and suggested moving down in the order, then the pr nightmare would become a good pr move for his part making him a non selfish player willing to do the best for his team, he would be even better if he endorsed his approval of Eduardo Nuñez starting at SS for the rest of his life while Jeter sips margaritas from the FO :D

    • Hester Prynne

      I think something like this would happen next year, not this. Next year if Jeter is a year older and still struggling while Gardner is thriving we’ll see some mutual move down. Jeter will come out and say he’s struggling and not doing the team any good. The media will gush over him and it won’t be a problem. I don’t think he’ll be willing to do that this year though as he thinks he can turn it around.

      • infernoscurse

        the problem is that if he waits till its obvious then it wont be that much of a issue, the backpages will have a fieldday of how hes old and done , he has to do it now while he still has some credibility, if he drags it all year the media will still have a fielday on why isnt he batting down in the lineup…

        media: why isnt jeter batting down in the lineup
        yankees: hes our guy has done it for years
        media: why isnt jeter batting down in the lineup
        yankees: hes our guy hes been doing it for years

        next year
        Jeter: im announcing i want the team to move me down i nthe lineup
        Media: oh so now you decided after we have been telling you all for the better second half of last year
        Yankees: Jeter is a warrior
        Media: no Paulie was a Warrior
        Yankees: infernoscurse is smart
        Media: i agree
        Eduardo Nuñez: id trade montero for infernoscurse

  • jim p

    Can’t find it, but thought I saw that in the 1st AB of the game, Jeter has OBP at around .390. Is that true, does anyone know? If so, then it hardly matters after that point what the nominal position is.

    • jsbrendog

      google.com

      • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7
        • jim p

          Yeah. I already did look ups on that. Google, mlb, baseball-reference.

          Since it’s so easy to find why don’t you just tell us.

          • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

            His OBP as of right now is .320. Therefore it couldn’t have been anywhere close to .390 before yesterday’s game.

            • gc

              I think he means Jeter’s OBP to lead off a GAME…which, if I’m reading the splits on baseball-reference correctly comes out to a .383 BA and 463 OBP

              • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

                Whoops. Didn’t pick up on that part. But it can still be easily looked up.

  • Filppula51

    Jeter is going to turn it around big time you wait and see yah he went 0 for 4 last night everbody automatically gets on him what about the hand full of other players that shit the bed last night he’s going to snap outta it the guys one hell of a ball player

  • http://yankees.com sam

    i agree with about 99% of your posts but this one is a no va zone. Who gives a shit if moving him down creates drama, what does it say to the team if the manager is more loyal to one player than the whole team? and your break down of jeter favored stats to rationalize him being at the top of the order doesnt help I mean honestly think about it if gardner was batting leadoff 150-160 games a year think about how much more comfortable he’d be and how high is ceiling would really become. We’re always concerned about jeter drama and how jeter is gonna take certain news but what about brett? this guys moving around the order constantly and getting benched for andruw jones days after he has a multihit game or pivotal hits against lefties. Even though i yell at you you are still the sexiest chinchila i know
    Love mort

    • Wooderson

      fuckin A man, fuckin A. girardi doesnt believe in gardner, and jeter is one of his boys. its hard not to imagine that its a very divided clubhouse

      • Clay Bellinger

        Unfortunately, he may believed in Gardner a little too much last night… allowing him to bad against a lefty that left handed batters hit below .100 against.

    • jack

      could not agree more

    • Jim S

      The manager had better be more “loyal” to Jeter than Nunez or Gardner at this point.

      Gardner’s ceiling wouldn’t change at all. He might have a better shot at reaching his ceiling given that much playing time, or he might increase the odds he gets hurt, given his style of play.

      And it sounds like you just insulted the breakdown of “jeter favored stats” without having any idea what they actually meant. If you in fact read and thought about them.

      • Jim S

        And I’m not a jeter fanboy, and rewarding someone for past success isn’t a great winning or business strategy, but it IS a great humanist strategy, which managers have to think about.

        .5 wins over the rest of the season isn’t worth crying about.

        • nathan

          Even if we miss the wild card by 1 game?

          • gc

            If a lineup with Jeter leading off can score 5.434 runs a game from here on out til the end of the regular season, as the stats in Joe’s article talk about, and they lose the division or wild card by one game, then I’m afraid that the blame for the reasons why should be aimed in an entirely different direction than Derek Jeter. Namely the PITCHING.

            • nathan

              Well, no one is asking Cash$$ to not fix the pitching. But, does that entail us to ignore the obvious improvement that can be done by rearranging the deck. Wait, lets make sure Jeter’s ego is not hurt.

              • Jim S

                Until you prove that clubhouse demeanor has 0 effect on baseball, I’m not going to get into a hissy fit over 1/2 game.

              • gc

                Yet Joe’s article is saying that the improvement would not be as “obvious” as some here seem to think. It remains to be seen how it will all play out in the real world. The Yankees will score a TON of runs in the remaining 50+ games no matter where Jeter hits, but in the end, if people shit their pants over that one win and then aim all their guns at Jeter batting first to be the reason why, all I’m saying is the chances are more likely that pitching will be far more responsible for losing the division or wild card by one game than who’s batting first in the order.

            • MannyGeee

              are you REEEEALLY blaming the pitching? our pitching has been PHENOMINAL (considering the injuries and state of the union at the beginning of the season)…

              if we lose the WC by one game, the blame should only lie in one logical place.

              Javy

              • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

                Nah, I think he’s saying if the lineup scores 5+ runs a game from here on out and they lose out on the playoffs by a slim margin you can probably blame the pitching – not that you can blame the pitching right now, or whatever.

    • Monteroisdinero

      This. Brett is not the coach’s son. Watching great players decline is not fun and denial comes in handy as a way of dealing with it.

      And for the more cynical, it is always easier to stick with the guy who is making the big bucks. If a guy is making 475K, he can’t be as good as the guy making multimillions!

      • nathan

        Wait .. what. I think most folks will argue when players are getting their second 7-8 figure contracts its for what they did not what they are expected to do.

        • Cris Pengiuci

          True, but it shouldn’t be that way. Their contract should be for what they are expected to do. However, we’re past that now. Jeter has his contract. Management (Joe G. and up most likely) has decided it’s in the teams best interest to play him instead of Nunez. I agree with that. I don’t agree that Jeter is worht many millions more than Nunez on the field. He is worht many millions more off the field in memorabilia and jersey sales, etc. Still probably not worth his salary, but more power to him! He got them to agree to it. Wouldn’t we all love to be able to negotiate something like that for ourselves

  • Pat D

    Gardner’s been terrible at the plate since the end of the Cubs series. Until he’s out of that funk, I’d just as soon have Swisher lead off.

    • Wooderson

      i think girardi said something like “if he picked the lineup based on three game samples it’d change daily” in regards to gardner batting leadoff. nevermind the half a season’s worth of OBP

    • first time lawng time

      I think Gardner should have a day off. Give Jones a day in left. Let Gardy rest.

  • Adam B

    honestly, I was all about having Gardner bat leadoff for a while… On paper he is still the best option but come playoff time I still want Jeter there so I can live with him during the regular season… It would be nice if he did take more walks though cuz that is going to be key for Jeter moving forward.

  • jack

    great article but I thin the issue could be boiled down to a simple notion. currently, jeter’s wOBA sits at .293 (wow). this is by far the lowest among the lineup-regs. He should be getting the least amt. of at bats after 3K hits is achieved. Bat him 9th. Along with Jorge, Jeter has struck me as a bit entitled this season and admittedly he deserves to be after the career hes had. But when you cant play you cant play. on any other team/ any other player would probably not be in the lineup let alone be in a position to be at the plate more than the rest of the lineup. Obviously Jeter is going to play, but the lowest wOBA = least amt. of at-bats possible if he is (and definitely is) going to play. The team needs to suck it up and do it, and if so, he needs to keep his mouth shut and earn a higher lineup-slot.

  • infernoscurse

    lucky for the yankees is that jeter would take arods place in the backpages so much that he will become jealous to the point that we may see him sunbathing topless in time square next to his new GF cher while betting on a game of yatzee which will take over all the drama and keep the focus away from jeter

    • first time lawng time

      No. Guys are shirtless. Topless applies to girls

      Guys don’t wear tops.

      • MannyGeee

        A Rod trancends this and most other social norms we have become accustomed to…

        men go shirtless, centaurs go topless.

  • Pasqua

    The Yankees organization loves to promote that it prides itself on two things: winning and tradition. What this post clearly articulates is that, in this case, the team is allowing is fixation on tradtion to impede its ability to win. They would simply be a better team without Jeter at #1, and yet their failutre to move him seems to be result of stubborness, and nothing else. (They HAVE to know the stats as well as anybody.) It’s disappointing, to say the least.

    • Jim S

      When favoring tradition over winning only costs you 1/2 of a win and lets you avoid a hellstorm in the clubhouse, maybe it’s not as hair-brained as you make it out to be. Discord in the fan base is way preferable to discord in the dugout.

      Yeesh, I’m all for backseat managing and second guessing managers, what else is a blog for but the Jeter backlash has reached epic and overblown proportions.

      • Rainbow Connection

        The Yankees play in the AL East, where a 1/2 game could be a big deal.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        And the Yankees lost by one single game in the AL Eats last year.

        • Jim S

          That’s not how this works, and you know it. Lineup changes are not the only things that cause wins and losses.

          Although I enjoyed the AL Eats typo with CC and Bartolo in our rotation.

          • Pasqua

            If Gardner is going to get on base at a better clip than Jeter, just for starters, than he should be leading off. This is not about me resenting Jeter, it’s about putting a lineup in place that maximizes your scoring potential. Jeter at the top, the stats will show, is not how you maximize. It’s not “Jeter backlash,” as you call it above, it’s “lineup backlash.”

        • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

          Which didn’t really end up affecting them in the playoffs anyway.

      • Pasqua

        See, this is where I get lost in the argument. “Dischord in the dugout” is an assumption that we make about this situation. If somebody like Jeter wants to win, and it is shown that winning more means he is more beneficial somewhere else in the lineup, there should be no dischord. IF he doesn’t see it, then we have given him way too much credit over his career for being a “team” guy. I choose to believe we haven’t, and that this is something he would be okay with.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I like this Jeter kid. 7/8 in his last two games with bunt singles/ a HR to left center in a pitcher’s park/squaring up on a 98 mph fb for a solid single up the middle… We will never actually say that again with Jeter’s name in the first sentence.

    • Hester Prynne

      You just did.

  • Jobu The Voodoo Troll

    Jeter’s current wOBA is .293. his wOBA by month is:

    March/April – .262
    May – .323
    June – .294

    He started off a little bit slow but has been pretty consistent around .293. What happens when he slumps? Not just his current decline (the last year and a half have not been a slump) but really slumps. What happens if he wOBAs .200 for July?

    At some point this season Jeter is due for a true slump and I just hope the team will let him work it out at the bottom of the lineup.

  • Sayid J

    Funny piece from Deadspin regarding the Jeter situation. It certainly describes the way some people respond to Jeter lately.

    http://deadspin.com/5818091/de.....ankee-loss

    • Jorge

      Excellent.

      I welcomed Jeter back the moment Ramiro Pena turned into Eduardo Nunez’s defensively inferior little brother on Sunday.

    • Pasqua

      Well, looks like Barry is channeling The Onion over there.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    i think Posada should lead off..that’ll stir things up for sure.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Ah the ego, the drama. Last night’s SWB leadoff batter went 3/4 and is hitting .294. He doesn’t mind batting 8th from time to time.

    He’ll be up in a few months.

    A little love for Mr. Golson-numbah 2!

    • Jim S

      Good Lord everything is not about Golson.

      • MannyGeee

        Isn’t it though, really?

    • Jim S

      And he wouldn’t be replacing Jeter anyway. Seriously, man.

    • jsbrendog

      no.

    • MannyGeee

      seriously, are you dating him?

      the unfounded Golson love is blowing my mind up right now

    • Clay Bellinger

      Nope. No love at all for a horrible ballplayer with very little skill. I hope to never see him with the big league club again.

    • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

      Honestly, who develops a Greg Golson fetish? Who does that?

      • Clay Bellinger

        People with a love for strikeouts?

      • Monteroisdinero

        Liking a player in AAA (as I did Nunez/Nova/Montero) is not a fetish. Just because few here like his skill set-so what? He is 25 and is improving with a decent year at the plate this year, speed and a rocket arm in the Of.

        No fetish.

        • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

          Bringing him up all the time in completely unrelated posts = ‘grats, you’ve got a fetish. Enjoy.

  • jsbrendog

    the guys was one hell of a ball player

    ftfy

  • http://rab Rob

    Not wishing illness or injury on anyone, but, it really was nice without Jeter around. Yeah, there were some tense moments on defense but the stats don’t lie. 14-4 while he was gone, playing their best ball of the year. Now a 2 game slide. Jeter will not win any more games for us with a single here and there but, his presence in the line up (O’fer) and horrible range, drama and other factors (can’t steal a base) will lose games for us.

    • Jim S

      Reason for 14-4: pitching.

      Not a reason for 14-4: Nunez replacing Jeter.

    • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

      Now a 2 game slide.

      One game of which Jeter wasn’t playing in

      the Yankees went 21-4 without A-Rod last year, obviously they’re better without him.

      • MannyGeee

        the anticipation of Jeter coming back threw off the groove of this team.

        #JetersFault

    • Clay Bellinger

      If Jeter had been in the game on Sunday, that may have ended in a win.

  • steve s

    Jeter, by his own words (and I believe him) doesn’t pay attention to the media. IMO he will pay attention to being booed at home. It hasn’t really happened yet but when it does start to happen (if his performance remains at current or worse levels it inevitably will happen) Jeter, at that time, will either acquiesce or even suggest/insist to be moved to 8th or 9th in the line-up. Fans will then start cheering him again plus anything he contributes from that point on will be responded to by the fans in a very positive way so, in an odd way, accepting the move down will end up being sort of a win-win for Jeter as he will have the fans sympatheitic reaction plus a better shot of actually meeting and execeeding the lower performance expectations.

    • Mike c

      A bunch of blog nerds are not going to be able to turn the average fan at the stadium against jeter. I know you may think your opinion matters more than most but there’s not 45000 of you at the games

      • steve s

        Interesting response. I’m sure the average fan, by definition, doesn’t read Yankee blogs and couldn’t care less what a bunch of blog nerds say anyway so being able to “turn” them against Jeter would be quite a trick. No one wants to see their sports heros booed but, if you are betting that if Jeter continues to perform at or worse than his current performance level as a lead-off hitter that he will not be booed at home, you will be losing that bet.

  • Greg

    I have layed off Gardner for the last few weeks, but my main concern with him was consistency. In one week, he has gone from a .290 hitter to a .265 hitter. That is unacceptable for a leadoff hitter. I cpuld care less about OPS, the difference in slugging percentage is a big contributor to that difference.

    Not to mention he has made a few boneheaded errors in the field of play (Not scoring on the wild pitch a few weeks ago, and last night’s debacle). His defense is his main asset right now. It should be credited.

    But until he begins to decrease the range in his averages, I will be lukewarm on Gardner.

    • Esteban

      Because, as we all know, BA is the best tool to measure a hitter.

      • Cris Pengiuci

        From a leadoff guy, OBP is a better measure, and adding some power to go along with that is better still. However, I don’t believe Gardner is a smart base runner once he gets on. Have to admit, I don’t watch every game (don’t live in the NY area and don’t have MLB Extra Innings), but he still hasn’t quite figured outhow to consistently steal bases this season and he has made some poor base running decisions.

        That said, he’s still a better choice for leadoff against righties, and I can’t think of any LF that would provide better value for the Yankees.

    • ItsATarp

      It’s a Slump..every hitter goes through one. also OBP is more important for a lead off hitter. and boneheaded error is selective memory of two incidences whereas over the span he has made a ton of great plays in the OF…he is a best fielder in the game right now.

  • jarsh

    What gets me is that Jeter has always talked about winning being the most important thing yet, he’s letting his personal pride hurt the teams chances of winning. He could go into Girardi’s office anytime and tell him that he doesn’t care where he bats as long as it helps the team. Jeter seems quite selfish to me at this point.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      he’s letting his personal pride hurt the teams chances of winning.

      Do you know that as fact? Have you been in Girardi and Cahman’s office to know for sure that the team hasn’t decided this is what’s best for the organization untill he gets his 3000th hit?

      You may be correct, but none of us know for sure what goes on behind the closed office doors.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Explain Gardner’s “prowess on the base paths” please?

    While he’s been better of late…I still do not consider him an above average baserunner.

    That being said, I’d prefer him to lead off.

    • Monteroisdinero

      He’s had a rough year but there is no comparison between the 2. Scoring on sac flies/hustling a single into a double and a double into a triple. Even with the less than stellar instincts Gardy can just do so much more with his speed on the bases.

  • Slurve

    You know, this Jeter guy really has an Edge.

    • rek4gehrig

      Pero Jeter tiene una ventaja

    • ItsATarp

      And a really ugly pinstriped Ford

  • Bob Michaels

    if Jetr does not perform, make him an owner, give him a piece of the franchise.

  • David, Jr.

    Always lots of focus on where he hits in the lineup. I would say leave him where he is against lefthanders, and eventually drop him against righthanders. More importantly, what type of player will he be going forward? Right now he is about a .260 hitter with almost no power, no scary speed, and perhaps an average fielder.

  • Andrew S.

    I think Jeter is awesome but he needs his hit. If he doesn’t get his hit he won’t get 3,000.