Jan
16

Projecting Derek Jeter

By

(Jamie Squire/Getty)

Three years ago, a then 36-year-old Derek Jeter looked dangerously close to being finished. He hit .270/.340/.370 (93 wRC+) across 739 plate appearances in 2010, by far the worst full season offensive performance of his career. The Cap’n rebounded in mid-2011 thanks to some mechanical work with former hitting coach Gary Denbo, and he rode those adjustments to a .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) showing last season. It was his best season since 2009 and second best since 2007.

An ankle fracture that may or may not be related to the bone bruise he played on for most of September ended Jeter’s season during Game One of the ALCS back in October. He had surgery a few weeks later and his rehab is progressing well based on last week’s update. Jeter has yet to do any baseball activities such as swing a bat or field some grounders, but he’s riding a bike and running in a pool. So far, so good, so right now he’s on track to be ready for Opening Day.

Great players tend to age differently than others, but no matter how iconic he may be, Jeter is 38 years old and Father Time is lurking. The number of full-time shortstops who qualified for the batting title at that age (or older) and managed to be above-average offensively is three, and only one has done it in the last 60 years. That was Jeter in 2012. Factor in the ankle injury, the significance of which should not be downplayed, and I think it’s far to say the Yankees captain is more of a question mark now than ever before, even after that disappointing 2010 season.

In a recent Insider-only ESPN piece, Dan Szymborski used his ZiPS system to look at the next three seasons of Jeter’s career. The standard disclaimer goes here: projections are not predictions, they’re an estimation of a player’s true talent level. Szymborski notes that even high-BABIP hitters like Jeter (career .354) tend to fall off rapidly in their late-30s, to the tune of 30+ BABIP points in a single season. Based on that alone, ZiPS measures the Cap’n at .288/.338/.396 next season, which isn’t far off from his 2010 effort. That does not factor in the ankle injury, however.

Szymborski notes that players who missed 30 or so days due to a leg injury — which Jeter would have done had he injury occurred in say, June instead of October — tend to underperform projections the following year. When he plugs the leg injury into ZiPS, it spits out a .277/.334/.369 projection for Jeter in 2013. That almost exactly matches his 2010 season, when he was close to 10% below league average. You can see Jeter’s ankle-reflecting projections in the table on the right, and they aren’t particularly pretty.

The league average shortstop hit .256/.310/.375 (86 wRC+) this past season, and that’s atrocious. So the good news is that even an old and somewhat hobbled Jeter projects to be an above-average hitting shortstop for at least the next two years, which, coincidentally, is how long he remains under contract (assuming the player option for 2014 is exercised). The bad news is that those projections are a big step down for the Cap’n, which is not what the Yankees need at a time when they’re losing offense in right field and behind the plate. Maybe at DH and third base as well.

Projections are wrong all the time, of course. ZiPS is consistently the best out there on a macro level, but on a micro level there are a ton of hilariously poor misses. The system projected a .280/.347/.393 line for Jeter last season, just as one example. I have no worries about Jeter preparing himself for the season, but I do worry about a potential setback if he pushes himself too hard. Just look at what happened to Andy Pettitte last summer. We all know Derek is going to put the necessary work in, but at some point the clock is going to strike midnight. Maybe it happens in 2013, maybe it happens in 2015. When you add the ankle problem on top of his age, the chances of Jeter’s production taking a big step back becomes even greater, and that’s one of the last things the club needs right now.

Categories : Analysis
  • jjyank

    Father Time is of course always lurking. Who knows when he finally shows up for good. That said, I won’t bet against Jeter.

    • Jacob The OG (formerly Jacob)

      Agreed

  • Jim Is Bored

    That ankle injury is not going to help his pastadiving.

    But he’s ignored father time so far; hoping he can scratch out two more roughly average seasons isn’t terribly myopic, I think. The problem with these projections is they often times have a hard time(rightfully so) projecting the outliers. There are so few comparables for the captain.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. If he can at least remain passable at short stop, he can still be above average for his position. Jeter has already proven to be an outlier, and like I said above, I’m not gonna bet against a future Hall of Famer.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Won’t affect this muff-diving, though.

      #giftbasket
      #someonehadtosayit

      • MannyGeee

        *slow clap*

      • Jim Is Bored

        I’m not sure, who knows what goes on in the bedroom de Jeter.

        His MDR might be negatively affected.

      • Captain’s Gift Basket

        I see what you did there.

      • Chip Chipperson

        Yea because he gets on the chicks all the time or somethinnnnn….

      • bobtaco

        Could this be his last season with a new 22 year old? It’s hard to bet against him, but the age differences are getting larger…

        • Preston

          Yeah, time for him to grow up and start dating 25 yos.

      • pipeman

        childish idiot response. you make it embarrasing to read the blogs.

  • Midnight Rider

    I assume in the next little while we will all saddened by the news our Mr.Axisa was burned at the stake for being a witch by the yankee kool aid drinkers for even daring to think Jeter was not immortal nevermind putting those thoughts to screen.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Somehow, Mike has survived his past writings about the decline of Mr. Jeter. Although someday, they may come back to haunt him (just as Father Time will eventually catch up with Jeter. Just not for the next 2 years, please.).

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Oh no!
      He might be wrong! Perish the thought!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        (Written from the beach)

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Fuck you. It’s rainy and windy in the DC area. And cold (but getting warmer, at least) back home in Colorado. Have fun for all of us!

          • Jim Is Bored

            Ha. I’m there too, closer to Baltimore. At this point I think the “sun” is a myth.

            • jjyank

              Right there with ya boys.

          • Laz

            At least our weekend was nice.

        • MannyGeee

          got 5 inches of snow this morning…. so, uhhhhh

          go fuck yourself, K?

    • Ted Nelson

      Clearly drinking the mainstream media kool-aid and pretending that nothing can possibly go right is the thing to do!!!!!!!!!!! So enlightened!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nuke Guy (Knoxvillain)

    .311/.368/.431

    That is all.

    • jjyank

      I will buy you a steak dinner if you are correct, sir.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I’ll match that offer. Disclaimer: You’ll need to prove you had something to do with Jeter attaining those numbers.

        • jjyank

          What if I take a picture of my gift basket?

          • Cris Pengiucci

            That’ll work. If you get a gift basket, I’m sure it will impact Jeter’s offense. Not sure in which way, though.

    • Midnight Rider

      Marcie, another round of kool aid for Nuke’s table please…

      • Ted Nelson

        Don’t be such a douche.

        • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

          “Don’t be such a douche.”

          His reply was flippant and somewhat humorous . Yours on the other hand was “douchey”

          • Ted Nelson

            But yours was not douchey? Go fuck yourself. Leave me alone, dude. Why the fuck do you come into every thread seeking out my comments to make personal replies to, rather than ever fucking discussing baseball? Get a fucking life you loser. I’m sick and tired of you.

            For the record, saying that anyone who expects good things to happen is “drinking the kool aid” is douchie. Especially when you’re talking about a HOF player and a team coming off a 95 win season for basically 2 decades. Midnight Rider’s comments not only on this thread but elsewhere are consistent with those of a troll. Stop defending trolls just to try to start arguments with me.

            • Ted Nelson

              Expecting a player to do basically what they did last season is hard to call “drinking the kool aid.” You can disagree, but it’s personally reasonable. Get a life, rather than fucking coming after me every thread. I consistently tear you to pieces, but you keep coming back for more. Stay in school, or go back to school. That’s it. Leave me the fuck alone from now on, and I’ll do the same.

              • Ted Nelson

                *perfectly reasonable

              • Midnight Rider

                oh oh looks like somebody had an extra helping of censorship with their fruit loops this morning…

                • Jim Is Bored

                  I mean you do have a weird obsession with fruity things. Kool aid and froot loops.

                  I guess there are worse things out there.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                Just like you’ve appointed yourself “troll” hunter, and by “troll” I’m talking about anybody who disagrees with you or expresses an opinion that something about the Yankees may not be wine and roses, I’ve appointed myself condescending prick hunter and you’re pretty much the only one who fits that description on this blog

                • Ted Nelson

                  Yes, I said that it’s reasonable to think Jeter will be worse in 2013 than 2012 because I think that it is unreasonable. That makes sense.

                  Is there any reasonable person in the world who agrees with Midnight’s stance that it is impossible for Jeter to be a good SS in 2013? I have already said this… but: I have no problem with opining that he’ll be worse in 2013. My problem is with telling anyone who thinks he could be fine in 2013 that they’re delusional. That is not a matter of opinion, though apparently you think it is. I would argue that it’s just wrong to say that there’s no chance Jeter repeats 2013 in 2012.

                  Do you actually disagree with that? Do you think that Midnight Rider has a legitimate point that anyone who thinks Jeter could repeat his 2012 is delusional? Or is it you who is the condescending prick? Huh, prick?

                  • Ted Nelson

                    In fact, if you actually bothered to discuss baseball with me you would find out that I would project Jeter to hit worse in 2013 than 2012. Instead you have just made me into your little imaginary mortal enemy. Go on a social website to find playmates you fucking loser.

                    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

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                      ………………./…./
                      …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
                      ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
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                      ………\……………..’…../
                      ……….”…\………. _.·´
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                      …………..\………….\…

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Good one, dude! You are so cool!!!!!! I wish I could be an internet troll like you!!!!!!!!!

                  • Midnight Rider

                    I don’t think it a stretch to think Jeter can repeat being the worst defensive player in MLB in 2013 (a virtual guarantee I would think given his in jury / age) as well as put up serviceable offensive numbers. I think the delusional part of the equation stems from the plethora of “believers” who refuse to even consider he will not be diminished in any capacity and like Peter Pan (and Ryan Seacrest)will never grow old and will never not be the starting SS of which there are and infinite numbers of monkeys banging on those infinite number of typewriters.

                    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                      You’re talking to the wall here.

                      Polyanna Nelson will viciously attack any criticism of a Yankee player or executive and if you opine that someone is declining or likely to regress, he’ll paint you as someone who thinks all other clubs will have only the best case scenarios and the Yankees the worst.

                      You made a couple of “drinking the Kool aid” jokes, none of which were directed at him and immediately you’re a “troll” and a “douche” yet he complains like a bitch that people attack him unprovoked.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Midnight-

                      No one on here has actually said that, though, and yet you have attached anyone who has put forth any sort of positive opinion as not only being wrong but also delusional.

                      Someone throws out there personal prediction, and instead of just disagreeing with them you call them delusional.

                      It comes across as trolling, rather than trying to discuss baseball.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Andy-

                      Anyone reasonable adult who follows this blog knows that’s not true. I disagree with them all the time.

                      That’s the strawman you’ve created either because
                      A. you have no real friends so your social life consists of trying to get me to pay attention to you
                      or B. you are too stupid to realize that it’s not true.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Typos galore, need to step away from the computer…

                    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                      Honestly, I think the best option for us is to not respond to each others comments since they invariably degenerate into these shit storms that I’m sure no one else wants to read.

                      I come to this blog for enjoyment as I believe Mike does a great job analyzing the Yankees and baseball in general from a more statistical and scientific perspective as well as to read the diverse opinions of others whether I agree with them or not. IMO, you come here largely to critique and attempt to discredit the articles written by the authors and the opinions posted by commenters that you don’t agree with and to point out where they are wrong and you are right as part of some ego trip to prove you are smarter than most.

                      Regardless, these arguments are no fun.

                      Moving forward, I would like to propose a truce and I promise I will not respond to anything you post if you agree to extend me the same courtesy.

            • pipeman

              your original comment was spot on, but do you have to react in such a vile manner. Please show some maturity.your thought process is good, but get a grip, this is just childish sports we are talking about.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    The ankle will almost certainly have an impact on his already limited range. Regaining flexibility and mobility will take time and, regardless of his rehab, will most likely never reach what he had prior to the injury due to his age.

    Since it’s possilbe that Jeter will continue to hit for a higher than expected average this season and beyond (as others have said, never bet against this man), I’m most concerned about his ability to take the extra base once he gets a hit or is on the base paths. I’m hoping he proves us all wrong and performs as he did last season, keeping father time locked away in a box somewhere far away (same for Mo). If he doesn’t, the Yankees don’t appear to have any viable options to fill the void. The Yankees ned Derek Jeter to be the Derek Jeter we’ve all come to know.

    • Jim Is Bored

      It would be entertaining to see a full season of Nunez out there at SS.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Not sure I’d call it “entertaining”, as a Yankee fan.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Well I think after some point you’d hopefully accept it for what it is and learn to enjoy the madness.

          It’s the only way I get through rooting for most of the teams I root for, which I think helps me stay level-headed when the Yankees only get to the ALCS.

          • nicky

            Been there and tried it. I never had any fun watching Knoblauch FedEx balls into the first row.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Have to try harder!

            • nicky

              at least he hit Olbermann’s mom though

              • Preston

                How unlikely and unlucky is it that the person you hit has a son with a national platform with which to bash you? That was probably one of the stranger sports stories ever.

        • John C

          Sure would be “entertaning” in here and the other Yankee forums.

      • MannyGeee

        “entertaining” is a word.

  • Midnight Rider

    UZR and Total Zone both have him last among shortstops, he converts fewer ground balls into assists than any other shortstop in the game, and he is second to last in Bill James’ DRS category. How does he stack up against other fielders?
    How is age and the bad ankle going to help this?

    Comparing Jeter to all defensive players who have played at least 400 innings this year, he ranks last in UZR, he’s tied at 967 out of 1001 major leaguers who have played this year in TZR, and only three players in the game have a worse DRS.

    Now it may not be fair comparing Jeter, a shortstop, to other players at other positions, but he is overwhelmingly bad compared to everyone else. At the very least he’s among the worst defensive regulars in the game if not the very worst.

    • Jim Is Bored

      At least he’s always been bad, so it’s not like we’d see a massive decrease in our SS defensive production.

      Talk about a terrible silver lining though.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        So his range might be only “slightly” worse than terrible?

        • Jim Is Bored

          One can hope!

    • CountryClub

      His excellence at the plate more than makes up for it. Defense is important, but it’s overrated when the guy in question is so good with the bat. The Yanks had Bernie, Jeter and Posada all playing during the glory years. 3 bad up the middle defenders. But they hit the shit out of the ball

      • Cris Pengiucci

        And, it’s his range that’s terrible. His hands are still good, as is his arm. Other than range (which is a still a big part of D), he’s still OK. Or something like that.

        • MannyGeee

          Power up the middle is what the Yankees have looked for since forever. And Jeter is one of the best SS (has been at least) at the plate since he got to the Show.

          All he needs to do is play the shit out of the balls he *can* get to. The rest will work itself out.

      • Steve (different one)

        Bernie was not always bad. Poor instincts, but could outrun mistakes for a long time.

    • Ted Nelson

      What’s your point, troll? Do you honestly think anyone here didn’t know that?

      • Jim Is Bored

        To be fair, there are probably plenty of people here who didn’t know the UZR or TR data.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          And others who simply ignore his range issues.

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s the third comment I’ve read from the same commenter. The other two basically said that anyone who does not believe Jeter is going to stink next season is “drinking the Yankees kool aid.” If that’s not a troll, I don’t know what is.

          I have no problem with someone pointing out the reasons to be pessimistic about Jeter in 2013. They are there. Reading the article I actually thought to myself that his poor defense combined with average SS offense would make him a below average SS. Totally dismissing the possibility that he have a good season as preposterous, though, is something I can only see a troll doing. Why else would you come on a Yankee blog just to constantly point out every negative. I mean totally dismissing the chance he falls off isn’t much better, but at least it’s positive energy. Most likely an innocent fan’s hopes. Coming on a blog just to trash the thing most of the people on there hold dear is annoying to me.

          • Jim Is Bored

            I’m not arguing that the negativity isn’t irritating. It is. I was just responding to your second rhetorical, because I thought you were giving way too much credit to a not small portion of the readership.

            • Ted Nelson

              Probably, I was just explaining the rationale behind my comment.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Scary thought is if he regresses to a league average SS offensively, factoring in his terible defense, he’d end up as an overall below average SS.

      His strong offensive game isn’t gravy, it’s a necessity to balance out his defense.

  • LarryM., Fl.

    I know the projections make the story but we will not know anything about Derek’s performance levels until he plays a few months of the season. His injury was serious for a young player let alone one at 38. Girardi will have to ignore Jeter’s attitude and sit him down a few times a week. No half days unless against a lefty which Jeter does well against. That ankle has to be rested on a regular basis to get the most out Derek.

    One more hit a week will make those .260-.277 projections into a .300 average. So he will be decent just not the guy that you have been watching the last 18 years. But I’ll enjoy what he has left.

    • Ted Nelson

      Thanks Dr. Larry

      • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

        What are you taking issue with? That his ankle injury was serious? That most likely he’ll need to rest on a slightly more regular basis than normally?

        • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

          Seems to me all you need is some common sense and not an M.D. degree to think a 38 year old SS coming off of an ankle fracture and subsequent surgery will need extra rest, no?

          Even without the ankle fracture, I think it would likely be unwise to have him play 150+ games at SS anyway.

          • Ted Nelson

            Fucking hypocrite. I shouldn’t comment when other people make jokes, and I also shouldn’t make any jokes myself.

            You are a terrible police officer. Most of the narrative you’ve constructed about me attacking anyone who disagrees with me fits you to a t. Maybe try some therapy rather than projecting on me.

            Whether you need to rest him for age has nothing to do with whether you need to rest his still healing ankle… but have fun with your ridiculous comments.

        • Ted Nelson

          That a fan knows how well Jeter will recover and how much rest his ankle will need.

          It was a joke, I didn’t jump down Larry’s throat or something.

          And I’m not at all saying his ankle will recover and he won’t need rest. I have no idea if his ankle will be shot for life or 100%. I’m just questioning deciding the diagnosis on the internet.

      • LarryM., Fl.

        Ted,

        What is your problem with the comment? Can’t someone have an opinion.

        • Ted Nelson

          You can have an opinion, but wouldn’t you rather let the doctors decide how much rest Jeter’s ankle needs?

          This doesn’t really read like an opinion, which is why I made that comment:

          “Girardi will have to ignore Jeter’s attitude and sit him down a few times a week. No half days unless against a lefty which Jeter does well against. That ankle has to be rested on a regular basis to get the most out Derek.”

          • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

            That certainly doesn’t read as a comment that warrants a sarcastic response either, though.

          • CS Yankee

            Dude, I honestly think you need to print these responses you make to others and;
            1) invite some friends over and ask them if you are batshit insane and in the need of some help.
            2) try really hard to seek a comment you like and provide some praise to it.
            3) after you post a different view, realize that there can be two different opinions and reply to someone that they just might have a better point than you.
            4) Get happy…do this by either getting laid, getting drunk, getting a new toy or some meds (from professionals only of course).

            I root for your success in acceptance and muturity.

  • LK

    SS offense is so bad, I don’t really have a ton of concerns about Jeter’s offense. I have two major worries with him.

    1. He’s almost certainly going to bat at the top of the lineup no matter what happens. I know that batting order doesn’t matter unless you do something incredibly stupid, like hit your worst hitter leadoff; unfortunately, it’s not hard to envision a scenario where batting Jeter in the top 2 spots qualifies as incredibly stupid.

    2. As other have addressed, he’s not a good defensive SS, and he’s now in his late-30s coming off ankle surgery. There’s some true disaster potential there, and, like with the lineup, I don’t have a ton of faith that the Yankees will do what’s best for the team if it involves bruising Jeter’s ego.

    All that said, Jeter’s a special player, and I still expect him to be the best overall SS option available to the Yanks this year.

    • jjyank

      Yeah, #1 is kind of a concern for me. I agree that Jeter will still probably be an above average SS, and the Yankees’ best option there. But in the event he’s not hitting, I doubt anyone has the balls to drop him into the bottom third of the order, where most short stops hit.

      Martin was a pretty decent hitter for his position, but his lack of “Future HOF” status allowed the team to put him at the bottom of the order when needed. The same can’t be said of Jeter. Just gotta hope he makes that issue moot.

      • LK

        I just really hope they have the sense not to make the same mistake with Ichiro. Batting order matters way less than you’d think given how often it’s discussed, but a Jeter/Ichiro top of the order could get pretty ugly. Unfortunately outside of Gardner they don’t have a lot of other top-of-the-lineup type options.

        • Jim Is Bored

          I think a ton of it is a bias for which I don’t know the name. It’s much more annoying to watch a 1-2-3 top of the first than it is to watch a 1-2-3 top of the second, for some reason. So it sticks in your head.

          • LK

            That’s part of it, but it’s also just really easy to discuss. It’s a lot easier to gripe about how the 2 and 3 hitters should be switched than try to figure our the pros and cons of, say, having the outfielders play a little more shallow.

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          I somewhat agree with this, Ichiro/Jeter is not ideal but personally I’m more concerned with the production they’re going to get from Curtis, Tex, and Youkilis. If those guys don’t hit then they’re really screwed.

        • Preston

          Once a roster is constructed there are just very few ways a manager tangibly effects the team. Most of what he does is in dealing with personalities, motivation and the media. These things are all subjective and who knows how much or in what way the manager really effects these things. So we focus on the things we do know they effect basically lineup construction and bullpen usage.

  • Louis

    Mike — Thanks for the post, good stuff. Quick question though.

    You wrote:

    “The standard disclaimer goes here: projections are not predictions, they’re an estimation of a player’s true talent level.”

    I don’t quite understand the point of this disclaimer (and I hear it all the time here and other baseball blogs).

    Isn’t “estimatating talent” basically the same thing as “predicting talent?” If not, why bother? Why do we/should we care what Jeter is capable of if we don’t think he’s going to perform to it?

    Why don’t we just make the leap and say, “here’s what we think this guy can do … so hey, why not, let’s assume he’ll do it.” If it’s a miss, it’s a miss (but it’s still the best guess with the data we have).

    Not sure this is off topic or I’m making sense here, but I always wonder about this and would be curious as to your input on it.

    • Bob Buttons

      It’s partly semantics.

      Projection is like punching stats into a program or formula or computer, it has little or nothing to do with the projector’s personal opinions and/or biases.

      Prediction is like saying what will happen or what will happen in a similar fashion.

      It is more acceptable for someone’s projections to be off.

      • Gonzo

        I agree that it’s partly semantics. It’s part of the jargon with baseball I guess. However, prediction is firmly entrenched as a part of the scientific method. This is where the confusion occurs.

        It’s just that baseball feel like it crosses the line between our everyday usage of the word prediction and the scientific usage of the word. I think that’s because we consume baseball differently based on the circumstance.

        • Ted Nelson

          Personally, I sort of think of a prediction as being more of a guess while a projection is more the result of science. The science of statistics. A prediction being more something you stamp your subjective approval on. A projection just being what the historical results say is most likely.

          I would be interested in hearing other people’s take on what a prediction is, though.

          • Gonzo

            I think you proved my point. It’s irrefutable that prediction is part of the scientific method and a key component to science.

            It’s that the layperson carries the connotation of the word prediction as the one you just used. I think baseball fans and writers have adopted that connotation for baseball purposes.

            I think the confusion occurs when baseball writing and study starts to look a little scientific.

            BTW, this is not a hostile comment.

            • Louis

              @BobButtons, @Gonzo, @Ted Nelson — thanks for each of your responses. I definitely agree that defining the two terms is important here.

              Here’s the crux of my question though. Does the projection have any real value without the prediction. In context to the article, ZiPS says Jeter is likely to hit .288/.338/.396 next season. Why aren’t we all immediately saying “so what?” unless we’re willing to accept that as a baseline prediction with the caveat that it may not work out accordingly.

              It seems like one instance where it could sense to consider a projection as something other than a prediction is in the case of Jeter because elite players don’t necessarily follow the trend line as the masses tend too.

              • Gonzo

                I’m not sure if this helps, but I think of a player’s true talent level as a coinflip every time he’s at bat.

                If a player’s true talent level is .300/.400/.500, then I think of that as the player’s outcome each time he comes to the plate. Wild variations can and do occur because you are dealing with a collection of one off samples and human beings here.

                That is, I think of it as a coinflip type without the 50/50 odds. You can flip a coin 10 times and have it turn up heads 9 times, but you know the true outcome for the coin is still 50/50 barring shenanigans.

                Of course there are so many variables involved.

              • Bob Buttons

                Well to get technical a projection is a prediction but a prediction isn’t necessarily a projection. Projection has something to do with using statistics and mathematical stuff. Prediction can be your gut feeling or just looking at one case while ignoring other similar cases. Probably wouldn’t be too off if their relationship is compared to estimate and guestimate.

                I’d have to say in baseball, projection has something to do with considering how other similar players or situations play out, while prediction primarily focuses on the player(s) or team(s) themselves.

                In the case of Jeter, I honestly don’t know. He’s still human so other players are still relevant, and the “line of best fit” in the baseball sense wouldn’t be too far from the actual results. Now that doesn’t mean that the reality can be loads away, as there are aways statistical deviations.

                • Ted Nelson

                  “Well to get technical a projection is a prediction but a prediction isn’t necessarily a projection.”

                  Looking at your definitions below, a projection is not really a “statement” or about what “will be.” So, I disagree that a projection is a prediction.

                  • Bob Buttons

                    Fair enough. I’m just using those definitions for the sake of getting a more “standard” definition. For me a projection is a prediction in a way as it tries to “forecast” what happens in the future.

              • Ted Nelson

                It has value because it’s the best guess available at what he’s likely to do. It should be better more of the time than just looking at a guy’s 2012 season or trying to take a guess somewhat subjectively. It’s something you can look at as a rough prediction, and over a full roster it should even out more than it will for any individual player. The sample is bigger, so if the model is pretty accurate some guys will under-perform but they should be somewhat evened out by the over-performers.

                This is what I was trying to explain below. If you have a large enough sample, most seasons should cluster pretty close to that projection (assuming your model is accurate, which is the question some people are asking with Jeter).

                Say you got starting salary info for a large number of grads from top MBA programs. The average might be, say, $100,000 starting base salary. You’d probably have a ton of people in the $80-120,000 range. You’d still get a fair number in the $60-80 and $120-140 ranges, but probably considerably less.

                You only get one X year old season for an individual baseball player, but you get the same kind of probabilities from a distribution. It’s just pulling one random sample out of there. So even if the model is really accurate in predicting the probability distribution of Jeter’s 2013 season (and a lot of people are arguing it’s not on either side), there’s going to be variation.

                I don’t know that the distribution is actually normal here, but this is basically the concept. Basically the idea of a bell shaped distribution or probability function is that the probability is higher the closer to the average. If the distribution is normal, you’re going to be more than 1 standard deviation away 32% of the time. So, even if the model used to arrive at that projection is totally accurate, you’re going to be more than one st dev off in either direction 1/3 of the time. http://www.mathsisfun.com/data.....ution.html

                This is basically what you’d learn about in an intro stats class at a universally level. If you’re interested, depending on where you’re at in life, maybe get an intro stats book or take a class at a local community college. Combine it with some slightly more advanced stats, econometrics… regressions, and I’d imagine that’s what they’re basically doing.

            • Ted Nelson

              Your smartypants routine is boring. Take that as hostile or not, I don’t give a shit.

              The science of statistics is being applied here, so anything you are trying to apply from the scientific method is less relevant. A projection is a statistical thing. Learn about it if you don’t know about it, instead of trying to force your framework onto something that apparently you’re not that familiar with.

              • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

                I think his comment was valid and informative not boring.

                He was been trying to interact with you in a civilized, non confrontational manner but you couldn’t resist turning into captain asshole again.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Mind your own business. I extended an olive branch to Gonzo, not vice versa.

                  His comment was wrong, whether you found it thrilling or boring. This is about statistics, not the scientific method. What I found boring was the pretentiousness.

                  • Gonzo

                    It wasn’t wrong Ted. You are wrong. Maybe you should take your own advice. I commented on the confusion of jargon used by writers and such. I never placed a definitive judgement on which is right or wrong just as to the confusion.

                    But since you are so sure I’m wrong about something that you are jumping up and down about it.

                    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=statistics+AND+prediction

                    These are the generally accepted steps to prediction using statistics. When you obey these rules, you have taken out insurance by demonstrating good practice. The chances of reliable prediction are maximized. When steps are missed out or done badly, poor predictions result. Either people don’t know them, or they just forget a step, like validation in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances report. If you apply them to the latest climate change analysis and research, it is easier to see where the problems are. They are as follows:

                    1. Formulation
                    2. Calibration
                    3. Validation
                    4. Extrapolation
                    5. Replication

                    Are you still sure that Personally, I sort of think of a prediction as being more of a guess while a projection is more the result of science. The science of statistics.

                    • CS Yankee

                      Gonzo, FTW.

    • Ted Nelson

      In terms of the actual wording I’d say it’s semantics. It gets at the underlying point, though.

      I would say that it’s about 1. sample to sample variation and 2. using historical results to project future outcomes.

      1. You’re projecting the most likely case. The results are probably some sort of a generally bell-shaped distribution: the odds get higher towards the middle (where you’re projecting him to be) and get lower as you move away in either direction (better or worse performance). (Might be skewed, but probably somewhat bell shaped.) If you could have Jeter play 30 or 1,000 or 1 million seasons, you’d probably get that bell shape if you looked at a histogram of the results. So you’d get seasons out pretty far in either direction, but most would group around the projection. Since you are only taking a sample of one season, you can’t say before hand whether the result will be one of the, say, 15 out of 30 that would be close to your projection, or whether it will be one of the more extreme results that are still perfectly reasonable (not even “outliers” or influential observations, just results you’d expect, say, 5 or 10% of the time).

      2. Like looking at securities in financial markets, for example, what you’re after is future outcomes. The data you have to work with is historical results. You’re building the best model you can, but it might not be that accurate. People have pointed out that few SS have ever experienced Jeter’s success in 2012 at such as advanced age. So, what is the relevant data to be looking at? (Another example could be projecting mid-to-late 30s performance in the “steroid era” compared to now. More thinking of someone like A-Rod than Jeter.)

      So I don’t know exactly what a prediction is (a guess?… somehow I think it’s more of a point estimate than the most likely outcome within a range), but a projection is that. It’s what you think is the most likely outcome based on historical precedent.

      • Bob Buttons

        A prediction (Latin præ-, “before,” and dicere, “to say”) or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge. (from wikipedia)

        pro·jec·tion
        /pr??jekSH?n/
        Noun
        An estimate or forecast of a future situation or trend based on a study of present ones (from dictionary.com)

        Not trying to be hostile in any way. I’m just putting these here because frankly they overlap a lot. I would have liked to get both from the same site but wikipedia’s definition of projection and dictionary.com’s definition of prediction are quite useless.

        • Ted Nelson

          What I was trying to say is that, to me, the distinction is the “statement” and “will be” part for prediction. A prediction is basically a glorified guess. You guess at an outcome. A projection is a statistical construct.

          • Bob Buttons

            Well you certainly aren’t wrong.

    • LK

      Here’s how I look at the distinction:

      Projections are based off a clearly-defined, unambiguous method. If I make a projection for Derek Jeter, I should be able to use the exact same methodology to project Robinson Cano, or any other player. I don’t get to make arbitrary adjustments based on the fact that I think Jeter is a gamer, or he looked fat in some pictures, or I think the fact that he gets obscene amounts of gorgeous poon puts him in the proper mental state to dominate the weak, non-model-fucking competition.

      Predictions are anything goes. I can predict that Jeter will hit .410/.730/.905 while at the same time acknowledging that it isn’t likely.

      So, at the end of the season, it’s not really proper to email the creator of ZiPs and say, “OMGz you said Jeter would only hit X, but he hit 25 points higher so u r so dumb.” He wasn’t trying to predict exactly what Jeter would do, he was trying to come up with a system to produce expected results for all of baseball using a common methodology while minimizing the overall error. That’s why if you read a chat by him, he’ll say things to the effect that he likes certain players more than ZiPs does – he could alter the methodology to improve those players’ projections, but it would increase the total error of the set of the projections, even if it improves it for that specific player.

      In most cases, however, I don’t think the difference between the two is anything to get too worked up over.

      • Louis

        @LK Thanks for the reply. I’d also ask you see my reply above.

        I totally get people questioning a prediction that hasn’t been made scientifically. It’s frustrating when players are gauged differently.

        However, if we have no faith in the projections as a baseline expectation of performance, what value do they serve?

        I predict that most players will perform as their projections suggest. Sure some will play much better and some much worse, but generally they’ll perform as the bell curve anticpates. No one’s going to rationally blame ZiPs for being wrong. What people are going to say is, if we can’t make a prediction of the available data, what’s the point of considering future performance period? And maybe that’s a valid point too, I dunno.

        • LK

          I think that people who do projections would say that they’re good estimates of what will happen – they just reserve the right to tweak those estimates if you ask them to predict a specific player. It’s a very fine distinction, and one that I think is largely artificial and semantic, but I do think there is a subtle difference.

        • Bob Buttons

          Projections to me is like a “don’t be surprised if they end up performing like this”-ish wake-up call (since I’m too optimistic on every single player)

        • Ted Nelson

          These projections should hold up for a large enough sample of players, not for individual players. So, yes, on average this is what you should expect. For any one player, though, while it’s what you should expect to be most likely, there’s going to be a ton of variability.

      • Ted Nelson

        Well put.

  • trr

    The biggest drop will be defensively. That’s why:

    1. Need better utility option than Nunez, i.e. someone who can catch the ball
    2. Jeter + A-rod (if he plays at all this year) will take most of the DH at bats, especially in the second half

    Offensively, his power and speed will continue their decline, but I could see him finishing right around .300

    The wild card in all this is ahow he recovers from the broken leg.
    Rest assured, he will remain the best paid singles hitter in the known
    baseball universe…

  • Elvis Andrus

    No worries, I’ll be firmly cemented in the hole next year.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      What does that have to do with the Yankees? Do you give gift baskets too? :-)

    • jjyank

      That’s what she said.

    • Gonzo

      I wonder what that trade will cost.

  • blake

    I think it’s hard to say what Jeter will do in 2013….but I never bet against him.

    I always thought that he was banged up in 2010 and that it got him into some bad habits at the plate that lingered. Whenever Jeter has struggled throughout his career it was because he would jump and the ball and not let it travel….therefore he’d roll over a lot of balls and hit weak grounders….he always could correct it rather quickly though.

    Whether it was age or whatever it took him awhile to adjust but he finally did and figured it out….sometimes great players do that…they find a way to be great again.

    Hope the ankle is healthy and look forward to watching him play as always.

  • Preston

    I would never bet against Jeter. He’s already shown himself to be an extreme outlier. I don’t think projection systems are equipped to accurately project his numbers. That said our offense is more tenuous than it’s been in a while. We are starting the season with a poor hitter at C, and a hope for something approaching league average in RF. We hopefully will add a DH, but who knows. If Jeter is either out or ineffective our offense starts getting very thin. If Jeter and Youk are out/ineffective we’re in trouble. Although if Granderson could put up his 2011 line, Cano continues to be one of the best hitters in the game and Mark Teixeira bounces back maybe we can be top heavy enough for it not to matter. Our success over the last decade plus has usually come from dominant offense. Given the volatility of pitching, relying on offense in the regular season is probably a smarter way to go. This season a lot more is riding on our starting pitching than in most years.

    • blake

      I think Tex and Youkallis are pretty big keys to the 2013 season…..but I have no clue what to expect from them.

      Primarily they need those two to do damage against LHP. Tex’s OPS has declined each of the last 4 seasons and he pretty much is what he is vs RHP at this point…..his swing mechanics are so poor from the left side that the decline in physical skill has made him basically a homer/walk/out type hitter from that side…..the key is if he can get back to being an elite hitter from the right side where his swing is better. If he can be a .900 OPS bat again vs LHP then that’ll help a lot…..and if Youkallis can get back anywhere close to what he used to be then that will also.

      • Preston

        For our offense to be what we’ve come to expect we need one of two things to happen. Either everybody to be healthy and adequate or a couple of people to be great. If Youk and Jeter are both healthy they don’t have to hit near their career levels to be above average at their positions. But if they’re out for an extended period (or fall off a cliff with age) we need Tex and Granderson to be the elite hitters they can be and neither is old enough to think that their 2011 decline can’t be reversed. Of course there are more than one way to field a winning team. Recently the Yankees have had elite offense, elite bullpen and middleing starting pitching. If things go right on the pitching front maybe we don’t need to be the top offense in the league to win 90+.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Really not trying to be an ass, but because he’s on our team and you’ll probably have to spell his name plenty this year, it’s Youkilis.

        • blake

          I’ve tried to avoid looking at “Youkilis” for so long….thanks for the correction

          • Jim Is Bored

            I don’t blame you. He’s one ugly dude.

      • Steve (different one)

        Am I only one who wakes up every few days and remembers “oh yeah, Kevin Youkilis is a Yankee this year…so wierd”?

        I think he’s a good fit for the team, but man that is going to be jarring for a while.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Yep, I’m in this boat.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    Jeter will hit 30 homers this year.

    Boom.

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

    While I tend to agree, until I see it, I’ll believe it. 2 years ago I figured he’s be a serviceable .270-80 (BA) player, and it never happened, so I’m done projecting him, haha.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Although it’s enjoyable when people project/predict him to hit .270 and he breaks .300

      Happy surprises are always more welcome than sad surprises.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    Honestly? I’m tired of assuming, for whatever reason however (supposedly) good, that Jeter is going to have a bad (by his standards year).

    I have no fucking clue. None whatsoever. And I think it’s just as possible that he repeats last year than have his numbers drop.

    Jeter is always going to be a special case, like Mo and other great players before him. I’m not even going to pretend I know what might happen when it comes to Jeter’s offensive output next year.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Lets hope that the ZiPs projection system has no clue either.

      I’m really more concerned about his defense coming off the surgery than his offensive game

  • RetroRob

    Since he entered his 30s, Jeter has outperformed the projection systems with the exception of one year, 2010. He’s an outlier and has been for a number of years. Projection systems do a poor job with those type of players.

    Derek Jeter is in decline. Media and fans (myself included) can easily get lost in a single season, be it 2010 or 2012. The former led to stories that he was finished, the latter about his great revival. Neither was true.

    1998-2007 — OPS+ 126 avg. (Low, 111; high, 153)
    2008-2012 — OPS+ 106 avg. (Low, 90; high, 125)

    He had a 114 OPS+ in 2012. That’s his second best of the last five years, but still below the 126 average during his peak ten-season run comprising his age-24 to -33 seasons.

    No, Derek Jeter didn’t return to form in 2012. He’s still off his best, but he’s performing in his current range of ability. There is no great collapse as we see with other players in their 30s. The projection systems will be wrong on him again in 2013, but that still leaves a wide range of possibilities for a player who is aging gracefully. Did we expect any less from the Captain?

    • Vern Sneaker

      My concern is that if he tails off really badly with the bat and/or is an obvious liability range-wise we have no satisfactory alternative. And this is true as of today for several other positions. A very weak bench so far. U can’t be sure how Jeter will perform, but u can prepare for worst case and we’re not yet.

    • CS Yankee

      You sir, win the internet.

  • Diet Colavito

    That’s quite a difference between what Jeter hit in 2012 and what the league average was, kudos to Mr Jeter, a very special player.. UZR has been the constant negative for Jeter distractors forever and of course this year it will be spiked for the obvious reasons..Something the left side of the infield will have to deal with. Positioning Youkilis and Jeter properly, plus the pitchers will have to try to hit spots to help that positioning. As we know positioning is a blind spot in the UZR calculation. The Tigers carried that poor range / defense label into 2012, most likely players laugh at that stuff, no offense to Mr James, Mr Litchman, or Mr Fangraph’s delicate ego’s

    • Jim Is Bored

      Most players have stopped laughing at that stuff because it plays a bigger part in their contracts than it used to.

  • California Chris

    Although I am a little concerned with Jeter coming back strong there are others that are more pressing. Cather, HR decline, averages declining etc. as stated previously, I am not sure what you expect out of a 38-39 year old. I would much have him at this age than an Omar Visquel type, flashing slightly above average leather. The thing that worries me is Tex’s, A-rod, Catcher position and Grandy’s average are all on the decline. Why are we not calamoring for Paul O’neil types instead of worrying about getting the Uptons of the league. What you get for 10-12 million these days is atrocious. If Jeter hits .290 with 11 Hr’s, 80 runs and 15 sb’s I will be happy. Forget all of these sub-metrics. I am a little tired of all of these sabrematricians and the likes ripping on everything negative just to prove their theories work. The Giants had no business winning two out of the last three years, but they did. Barely any hitting and great starting pitching with a little luck thrown in. I’ll take that over a 8 WAR any day.

  • brian

    To me, it’s more about the steady leadership at this point…

    I mean, he’s never going to be GREAT or even borderline very good/great again but he gets too many hits to be awful… so despite the age and injury I just don’t think there is a wide a range of possibilities as maybe other do..

    best case… maybe .315/.370/.420

    worse case… maybe .290/.340/.380

    That’s a noteworthy difference, but in the grand scheme of things… it pales in comparison to the change in vibe we saw in the ALCS once he went down

    • Jim Is Bored

      I can’t see worst case being .290

      Worst case for Jeter is more like .255, .260.

      • brian

        ehhh, probably somewhere in the middle, maybe .270 again, he’s just too talented to bat below that over a full season, honestly no use going through the whole thing again but you’ll never convince me that the contract situation didn’t negatively impact him in 2010.. i honestly believe if he had been extended he’d have batted .290 but that’s done with, it’s important to point out though when you’re projecting what he might do going forward, 2010 was not a normal season, neither way early 2011 with the 3,000 hits stuff

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    /´¯/)
    ,/¯../
    /…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.·´
    …………\…………..(
    …………..\………….\…

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Write some crap like this about Mo and we’re over.

  • Klemy

    You can never count out variables in this situation, but I’m more optimistic than these projections. They are based on the “average player”, which Jeter is definitely not.

    Time catches everyone at some point, but I don’t think I’m betting that Jeter ages the same as most players offensively.

  • mustang

    RAB never learns at least they were smarter this time and didn’t put themselves completely out there like in the winter 2010.

    “Great players tend to age differently than others, but no matter how iconic he may be, Jeter is 38 years old and Father Time is lurking.’

    Its cool Jeter hooked up Father Time with Kate Upton so that will buy him a few more years.

    Sorry Justin.

  • Reuben Sierra’s Chains

    Teddy strikes again I see.

  • Jarrod

    For me, the impact of the ankle injury really comes down to how much it has affected DJ’s normal offseason routine.

    Mike notes in the post that DJ has not resumed baseball activities yet – if not for the ankle, would he normally have resumed baseball activities? If not then it shouldn’t matter a great deal however if the ankle injury has taken time away from his normal offseason preperation then I think it is reasonable to expect the injury to have a negative impact on DJ’s 2013.

    That said, knowing DJ, he is just as likely to vie for MVP.