Page 3 of today's Sunday New York Post has this screaming headline: "You've Got To Be Kidding!" in a story about how researchers at Penn have concluded that the worst fielding shortstop in baseball is none other than... Derek Jeter. (My friend Jim from Professor Thom's will probably be ecstatic when he reads it.)
If you've been watching baseball closely at all the last few years you already knew that.
The researchers used a complex formula to come to that conclusion, based on a study of all balls put in play from 2002-05. It's also based on three things: the ability to field fly balls (33%), line drives (25%) and ground balls (42%). Jeter's lack of range is certainly nothing new, but in an interesting twist, guess who finished second overall in the study?
Yes, the best shortstop on the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez. (Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies was overall the best.) Here is the article: http://www.nypost.com/seven/02172008/news/nationalnews/youve_got_to_be_kidding__98050.htm
"The Yankees have one of the best defensive shortstops playing out of position in deference to one of the worst defensive shortstops," said Penn researcher Shane Jensen.
And in this article, I love all the anger coming from Yankee fans when informed of this study. Let's face facts, Derek Jeter is a terrific offensive player. Of all the Yankees, he's the one I guy I hate to see come up when they need a big hit with men on base. I've always believed he is way overrated as a shortstop. And the fact he has won three Gold Gloves means nothing. The Gold Glove award is the most overrated award in all of sports, and little more than a joke. It's voted on by managers and coaches, and they generally vote for the guys who've already won before or who live off their reputation, whether they deserve the award or not. Too many guys who should win, don't. And Jeter did NOT deserve to win the award in any of the three years he got them. (Orlando Cabrera, who finally won it in 2007, really should have won in 2005 and 2006.)
But you know that since Jeter is the Yankee captain, he will NEVER move off of shortstop, and especially with Rodriguez playing directly to the right of him.
Yankee fans may be in denial about this, but their best shortstop isn't playing the position, and probably never will be.