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  • Leadoff: Damon or Jeter?

    To all, Damon seems to be the prototypical leadoff hitter, however Sport's Illustrated's Tom Verducci wrote this article arguing that Jeter is more suited to bat leadoff and is actually a better leadoff hitter.

    What do you guys think?

    I personally would rather have Damon batting leadoff and Jeter batting 2nd because it extends the lineup and the fact that Damon is really best suited for batting either no. 1 or near the bottom, while Jeter can more seemlessly transition elsewhere in the lineup. Plus, the Yankees were at their best when Jeter was second and Knoblauch was first (and I think at this stage, Damon is better than Knoblauch was when the Yanks had him).

    Jeter might stastically have been a better leadoff hitter than Damon, but he was a better hitter period when he was batting 2nd in the late 90s and early 00s.

  • #2
    1. Damon
    2. Jeter

    Damon is a pure leadoff guy, while Jeter could be either, so it makes sense to have it this way.

    Comment


    • #3
      Jeter is a decent lead off hitter but Damon is an elite lead off hitter. He and Jeter are the perfect table setters for the big bats in the middle of the order. If Damon doesn't hit lead off, he would have to bat 9th and that is a spot better suited for Cano or Bernie when he is DH'ing.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm thinking that Torre may switch them around based upon who's pitching. Since Jeter's a RH hitter, he could leadoff vs LHPs. Likewise, as Damon's a LH hitter, he could leadoff vs RHPs.

        Since they can both fly around the bases, can both steal, I think it's more situational, like who can get on 1B during the 1st inning against a given pitcher. I don't care what the splits say what you'll do at Yankee Stadium vs an under 30-y.o. lefty, if that guy owns you, then I'd say you should bat 2nd.

        Hopefully, the GIDPs won't rack up too much, as a single or a walk w/o a steal is foiled if two guys are taken out with a swift stroke of the bat.
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
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        • #5
          Jeter is a better #2 hitter than #1 hitter

          however, yes Jeter is probably a better #1 AND #2 hitter than Damon

          Comment


          • #6
            What do people mean when they say that Damon is a "pure" leadoff guy or "an elite" leadoff guy? I really don't know what that means.

            To me, the leadoff guy should be somebody who gets on base a lot. Jeter's OBP last year was .389 to Damon's .366 (not even taking park effects into account). Jeter's career mark is .386 to Damon's .353.

            Jeter should bat leadoff.

            That being said, lineup construction has very little effect on how many runs an offense can score. I'm sure not gonna kick up any fuss that Damon will be batting leadoff, but I would like to point out that Jeter is the better choice.

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            • #7
              I love Jeter, and I think he should stay #1. Damon can put a little more behind the ball, and can be a number 2 hitter. Even with the OBP though, it is very arguemental because Damon is faster than Jeter.
              "You go up to the plate, knowing you are going to hit this guy, and guess what? You will hit him."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Coal Cracker
                Jeter is a decent lead off hitter but Damon is an elite lead off hitter. He and Jeter are the perfect table setters for the big bats in the middle of the order. If Damon doesn't hit lead off, he would have to bat 9th and that is a spot better suited for Cano or Bernie when he is DH'ing.
                Whoa...what makes Damon an 'Elite' leadoff hitter but not Jeter?

                Jeter has a career OBP of .386 to Damon's .353
                Lets run down the major stat for Leadoff (by Moneyball standards):

                Jeter OBP for last 5 years:
                05: .389
                04: .352
                03: .393
                02: .373
                01: .373
                Career: .386
                (You don't want me to post his '98-'00 Numbers...they're 'Elite')

                Damon OBP for last 5 years:
                05: .366
                04: .380
                03: .345
                02: .356
                01: .324
                Career: .353

                That's a good difference....difference between $13M and $19M.

                Then look @ Jeter's career numbers here: Avg: .314 Slg: .461
                Then look @ Damon's career numbers here: Avg: .290 Slg: .431

                So again...what makes Damon 'Elite'...but Jeter is 'Decent'?

                (Apologies to Pace...I didn't get to your post until after I read all)
                Last edited by TonyStarks; 02-14-2006, 09:18 PM.
                "After my fourth season I asked for $43,000 and General Manager Ed Barrow told me, 'Young man, do you realize Lou Gehrig, a 16-year-man, is playing for only $44,000?' I said, Mr. Barrow, there is only one answer to that - Mr. Gehrig is terribly underpaid."- Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio

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                • #9
                  It's all good Tony We're definitely on the same page here.

                  I just don't know what people mean when they call Damon a "pure leadoff hitter". And I'm not just referencing the posters here; I've heard Joe Torre say it, I hear/read people in the media say it all the time, and I don't really get it, nor have I ever received an explanation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think Jeter should bat leadoff, partly because he has the higher OBP, but mostly for other reasons. If i had it my way, Damon would hit near the bottom of the lineup, but he'll be either #1 or #2, and in that case the difference in OBP isn't that important. Here are my main reasons:

                    1. Jeter grounds into a lot of DP's, better for him to bat more with nobody on base.

                    2. As a lefty hitter, runner on first would help Damon a lot.

                    3. If Jeter bats second, he would be asked to bunt far too much for a hitter of his caliber.

                    4. Does better job of breaking up lineup into R-L-R order.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pacewon
                      It's all good Tony We're definitely on the same page here.

                      I just don't know what people mean when they call Damon a "pure leadoff hitter". And I'm not just referencing the posters here; I've heard Joe Torre say it, I hear/read people in the media say it all the time, and I don't really get it, nor have I ever received an explanation.
                      Exactly...I think it's just a perception.
                      Jeter doesn't look like your typical leadoff hitter. Jeter would probably bat 3rd on alot of other teams.

                      I have peeves on Jeter though. I don't think he takes enough pitches, he does KO too much for my taste in a Leadoff hitter and he swings at the 1st pitch too many times.

                      Jeter is the better leadoff hitter and will probably score more runs than Damon this year. I'm all in favor of Jeter batting 1st, but I'm not opposed to Damon leading off.

                      PS:
                      If anyone can find me Jeter's Pitches per AB, I'd be greatful!


                      Originally posted by Dasperp
                      I think Jeter should bat leadoff, partly because he has the higher OBP, but mostly for other reasons. If i had it my way, Damon would hit near the bottom of the lineup, but he'll be either #1 or #2, and in that case the difference in OBP isn't that important. Here are my main reasons:

                      1. Jeter grounds into a lot of DP's, better for him to bat more with nobody on base.

                      2. As a lefty hitter, runner on first would help Damon a lot.

                      3. If Jeter bats second, he would be asked to bunt far too much for a hitter of his caliber.

                      4. Does better job of breaking up lineup into R-L-R order.
                      I really don't see Damon batting in the lower 3rd of the lineup.
                      Are you kidding? Damon would never go for it, it'll be an insult to him and it would create a rift.
                      Damon's ego would be hurt...and we all know how fragile todays athletes are.

                      I also thought Jeter hit into alot of DPs, but I don't have the figures so I didn't comment on it.
                      I'd love to see Jeter's DPs for the last 4 years and also the league leader in the AL and the league average per player.
                      Last edited by TonyStarks; 02-15-2006, 10:08 AM.
                      "After my fourth season I asked for $43,000 and General Manager Ed Barrow told me, 'Young man, do you realize Lou Gehrig, a 16-year-man, is playing for only $44,000?' I said, Mr. Barrow, there is only one answer to that - Mr. Gehrig is terribly underpaid."- Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LilJeter
                        Damon can put a little more behind the ball
                        Why do you think this?
                        "Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible." - Carl Yastrzemski

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          pacewon, people in baseball would know, no? I'm not disagree with you, Jeter has a better OBP. and I think the better hitter and better player to be in the lead-off position. Though, if Torre think Damon a ''pure lead-off hitter'' and most people in baseball also think that, I guess there's something we are not seeing or can't see with just numbers, because I can't understand why he's a ''pure lead-off hitter'' myself.

                          Jeter asked to bunt? I don't recall when a team like the Yankees with their line-up ask a hitter of Jeter's level to bunt.

                          On Damon's ego, if he's not the lead-off hitter, we know how much his ego would be hurt then.

                          Jeter ground into 15 DP last year. Here's the other three years for you, TonyStarks.

                          2002: 14
                          2003: 10
                          2004: 19

                          I believe Mueller lead the league in DP last year, but can't check to confirm that. Mueller had 22. I'm not sure what the league average is, but I think it can be said that Jeter does ground into quite a lot of DP.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LilJeter
                            I love Jeter, and I think he should stay #1. Damon can put a little more behind the ball, and can be a number 2 hitter. Even with the OBP though, it is very arguemental because Damon is faster than Jeter.
                            What exactly does this mean? Jeter's career SLG% is slightly higher than Damon's. And the Person A is faster than person B argue doesn't necessarily qualify for a good leadoff hitter.

                            Didn't Billy Beane leadoff Jeremy Giambi until he traded him?


                            Ev, I was always under the impression that a few Yanks ground into too many DPs...namely Matsui, Posada and Bernie.
                            "After my fourth season I asked for $43,000 and General Manager Ed Barrow told me, 'Young man, do you realize Lou Gehrig, a 16-year-man, is playing for only $44,000?' I said, Mr. Barrow, there is only one answer to that - Mr. Gehrig is terribly underpaid."- Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tony - ESPN.com lists P/PA (Pitches Per Plate Appearance) and DPs for everyone. Here's Jeter's page:

                              http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/player...?playerId=3246

                              The last 5 years for him (and Damon's last 5 years next to them in parentheses):

                              2005 - 3.82 (3.72)
                              2004 - 3.52 (4.12)
                              2003 - 3.72 (4.13)
                              2002 - 3.73 (3.88)
                              2001 - 3.68 (3.90)

                              The 3.52 mark from 2004 was the lowest of his career and completely uncharacteristic of him. It should be noted that in that 2004 season, Jeter also posted the lowest OBP of his career, but set a career high in Doubles, was 1 off his career high in HR, and 2 off his career high in Extra-Base Hits. Easy to see that he can sacrifice OBP for SLG if he wants to hack, but that 1 year is an exception to his 10 full seasons in MLB.

                              Damon does indeed see more pitches than Jeter, but I doubt it matters much since they will be batting back-to-back at the top of the lineup regardless of who bats first and who bats second.

                              As for DPs (Evangelion asked about this too) Jeter does indeed hit into more DPs than Damon. This is a result of Jeter's high G/F - the more grounders you hit, the more likely the chance you GIDP. Jeter's DP totals the past 5 years (once again, Damon's totals right next to them):

                              2005 - 15 (5)
                              2004 - 19 (8)
                              2003 - 10 (5)
                              2002 - 14 (4)
                              2001 - 13 (7)

                              Baseball-reference.com also lists GIDP totals for all players, and notes at the bottom of the page if they ranked in the top 10 in their league or not. Jeter has only ranked in the top 10 once in his entire career (a 9th place finish in 2004), but the fact remains that he hits into far more DPs than Damon does.

                              Jason Kendall led the AL in GIDPs last year with 27. Miguel Tejada was 2nd with 26. Tejada also led the league in DPs in 2004 and was 2nd in 2002 (part of the reason why I find Tejada overrated).

                              As for your inquiry towards Matsui, Posada, and Bernie and their DPs... Matsui only really had one bad year, 2003, when he grounded into 25 of them to rank second in the AL. That of course was Matsui's first year in the big leagues, and in trying to adapt to MLB pitching he was trying to pull a lot of outside pitches that led to grounders to second base. He also publicly admitted that he had trouble with sinking fastballs as they're not thrown often in Japan. He's adjusted now; only 27 GIDPs in his last 2 years combined compared to 25 in his first season alone. It does seem that he GIDPs often though, because when he slumps he still resorts to the habit of trying to pull the outside pitches and grounds out to the Second Baseman a lot. I guess he's just been fortunate not to do it frequently with men on base the past 2 years.

                              Bernie has certainly been bit by the GIDP bug over the course of his career; 4 top 10 finishes in his career and he ranks 8th among active major leaguers with 209 DPs.

                              Posada, meanwhile, is a strange case. He led the AL in DPs in both 2002 and 2004. Other than that, he doesn't have any top 10 finishes, and he only had 8 DPs last year. Of course we all know Posada is comparable to Cecil Fielder in terms of speed, so it seems worse to us than it really is.

                              http://www.baseball-reference.com

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