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  • Jeter vs. Larkin

    If he does achieve those career totals you give, and he doesn't improve his peak, I don't see how on earth he goes ahead of Barry Larkin IMO. All he would have is pure longevity. People don't realize the true greatness of Barry Larkin over his career. Look at this handy little chart:

    Code:
                            OPS       SS OPS       DIFF*
    Barry Larkin           .815        .678        20.2%
    Derek Jeter            .848        .737        15.1%
    RCAP
    Honus Wagner 1060
    Arky Vaughan 598
    Alex Rodriguez 506
    BARRY LARKIN 488
    George Davis 452
    Joe Cronin 431
    Cal Ripken 408
    Robin Yount 408
    Luke Appling 375
    Alan Trammell 365

    That shows runs created in his career above the average SS during his time. Larkin is 4th all time, behind the three players pretty much conceded as the best offensive SSs ever. In relative OPS versus the league average shortstop, he is I believe 4th or 5th all time.

    Over his career Larkin had an OPS 21% better than SSs of his time (just player OPS divided by league average, not OPS+). Jeter so far is 15% better than the other SSs. That is also bound to go down. Barry Larkin is the better offensive player.

    Some may say that there have been more great offensive shortstops in Jeter's time. There have, but I think that makes Jeter less valuable and Larkin more. Hitting from SS is more valualble when it's harder to find.

    I do think, however, that the fact there were more other great hitting 1B and CF during their eras does make their hitting slightly less valuable. I think the fact it was easier to get a great hitting CFer in Ashburn's time than in most others does make Ashburn's hitting less valuable. As I said before, when there are less great hitters at a position in the league it makes those great hitters there are at that position more valuable. The fact that it was harder to get a great hitting SS in Larkin's era does make Larkin's hitting more valuable IMO.

    Anyway, I think we're all missing the point here. Despite what the performance of the average shorstop in their era is, Larkin will still almost certainly end up the better hitter, unless Jeter has a way better second half of his career which is very rare for a shortstop.

    As of right now, Larkin's peak is also better. Larkin had one year (1996) which was about the same in quality as Jeter's great 1998 year. Other than that Larkin has five other seasons above 130 OPS+, Jeter doesn't have one other year above 130.

    His peak isn't as good, his rates would be worse, and his fielding, oh his fielding.

    Derek Jeter can't hold Barry Larkin's jockstrap in fielding. Barry Larkin was a tremendous defensive shortstop in his peak, he was trmendous over his career. All around greatness. Jeter is, well, horrible out there. I have no other way of phrasing it. He'd probably make top 10 given those numbers, but he's not moving ahead of Larkin.

    Larkin's OPS+ right now is only 5 points lower than Jeter, and Larkin has already retired and been through his entire decline phase while Jeter is still in his prime. It is clear that by the time Jeter's playing days are over his OPS+ will be about the same or even lower.

    Also, Larkin has had way more impressive seasons. Jeter did have one truly great hitting year in 1999, when he had a 161 OPS+, a .325 EqA, and drove in 102 runs. Barry Larkin has a truly great offensive season to match that in 1996, when he had a 154 OPS+, a .326 EqA, and hit 33 home runs.

    Outside of his great 1999, Jeter's offensive prowess really isn't as great. His career high in OPS+ outside of that was 127 in 2003. Larkin has had two seasons over 140 OPS+, and six seasons above 130. Much more great offensive seasons.

    Jeter's main advantages I suppose most people would claim is that 1.He is considered to be greater and is more famous, 2.He is a great clutch player, adn 3.He has been money in the postseason. I'll address each of those.

    1.He is considered to be greater and is more famous

    He definitely is more famous, but that doesn't make him a better ballplayer. If Jeter had played his whole career in Cincinnati instead of New York he wouldn't be any more celebrated than Larkin is.

    Is he considered to be greater? Maybe, but evidence doesn't necessarily support it. Larkin won an MVP award in 1995, Jeter has never won one. We all know MVP awards tend to come from players on great teams, and despite the fact Jeter has played on tremendous teams his whole career he has never won the award.

    Jeter has been an All Star six times, or 60% of his 10 full seasons (full season defined as playing 100+ games). Larkin has been an All Star 12 times, or 80% of his full seasons (I counted 1997 as a full season because he did make the All Star Game).

    Those are the normal methods used to determine how a player was thought of in his time. Seem to favor Larkin rather than Jeter.

    2.Jeter is a great clutch player

    Jeter over his career has batted .324 with men on base and .304 with no men on. But, he has hit for less power with men on base with a .470 SLG% with no one on and a a .446 SLG with men on. He has hit one HR per 29 ABs with the bases empty, one HR per 45 ABs with men on base. He has hit slightly worse (.313) with runners in scoring position than overall (.315).

    Overall, it is hard to see how Jeter has been a particularly great clutch player.

    Larkin over his career has hit 27 points higher with men on base than with them empty. He has also hit for more power with men on base, with a SLG 28 points higher. He has hit 4 points worse with RISP, but his OBP is higher.

    It's hard to see how Jeter has been a better clutch player than Larkin

    3.Jeter has been money in the postseason

    Jeter has obviously had more postseason games played than Larkin, so it is unfair to compare their raw totals.

    Larkin has batted .338/.397/.465 in the postseason. His BA is 43 points high than in the regular season, his OBP is 26 points higher, and his SLG is 21 points higher. He has been significantly better in the postseason than in the regular season.

    Jeter has batted .307/.379/.463 in the postseason. His BA and OBP are 7 points worse than they are in the regular season, and his SLG is two points higher. Hard to see how he has hit any better there than in the regular season.

    But here's some revealing information for you:

    In his entire post-season career, a total of 99 games spread over eight seasons, Derek Jeter is a .210/.355/.306 hitter with runners in scoring position and a .245/.345/.329 hitter with men on base. He is a .176/.263/.323 hitter in "close and late" situations. Jeter has actually been incredibly "un-clutch" in the postseason.

    Why Larkin has never gotten respect for what he is (an all time great) is beyond me. The fact Jeter has been considered better is an all out crime.
    39
    Derek Jeter
    69.23%
    27
    Barry Larkin
    30.77%
    12

  • #2
    Despite what the performance of the average shorstop in their era is, Larkin will still almost certainly end up the better hitter, unless Jeter has a way better second half of his career which is very rare for a shortstop
    You may be right when talking about peak value and rate stats, but Jeter will have much more career value than Larkin by the time he retires. Larkin currently has 2073 more PA's than jeter, so Jeter will equal his playing time in about 4 years at an equal or slightly lower level. He'll probably have at least 3more productive years after that, which should put him ahead in terms of offensive value. Jeter also hasn't been nearly as injury prone, and playing full seasons as opposed to many partial seasons adds value.

    Even if Jeter doesn't accumulate more playing time than Larkin, he still has an argument as the better hitter. He leads Larkin in Black Ink 6-0, and in Gray Ink 95-66. He has that advantage in OPS+, 121 to 116, but he has a more significant advantage in OBP compared to league, and OBP is easily the more important component of OPS. Jeter has a career .386 OBP compared to .338 for the league, while Larkin has a .371 compared to .339 for the league. Additionally, the .19 advantage in average is not insignificant, especially since there is no difference in the league average during their careers.

    Chris, when you compare SS lg OPS, are you doing the whole MLB, or dividing it into AL and NL? If you are doing it that way than it is penalizing Jeter for being in the same league as A-Rod and Nomar, even though Larkin's peak was during the same period (1996-1999).

    Overall, i think Jeter will end up as the better overall hitter, and they'll be about equal as overall players, with maybe a slight edge going to Larkin because of defense. The main thing you seem to be ignoring is Larkin's durability. He only played 150 games 4 times in his career, while Jeter has done that 7 times already. Being able to put yourself out there for a full season has a lot of value. An OPS+ of 125 put up in 450 games over three years has more value than an OPS+ of 130 in the same number of games over 4 years.

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    • #3
      Very nice post! I couldn't agree more, and although Jeter got started earlier and has more seasons under his belt at age thirty than Larkin did, I would think Derek is at his peak or maybe even at the start of a long decline phase. His speed is already fading a bit IMO. He would be well-suited to let ARod have SS back and slide over to 2B or maybe pull a Yount and take a spot in the OF....but does he hit enough to be a corner OF? He isn't going to supplant Caveman out there I wouldn't think...or Matsui...or Sheffield. Hmmmm DH? He's better than a DH defensively, but I'm not sure by how much. If the guy didn't have some great baseball instincts, I don't know if he would be. Larkin on the other hand was as good as any SS in the league his first 10 years, and yes, I know Ozzie was still there for most of that. His last few years the arm was going, but he still got to balls up the middle that Jeter doesn't get on his best day when he was 39!

      As I said in another thread, Larkin is probably the most underrated top 7 player at any position.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah, Larkin's probably a little better for now. We'll check back in a few years down the road though.
        "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

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        • #5
          Since the thread opened by talking about the hypothetical numbers I used in the other thread, if Jeter reaches 3400 hits as a SS, he will be ahead of Larkin IMO. But that's way down the line at this point. As it stands, I have Larkin 6th all-time at SS, and Jeter around 13th, and I think it will be slow-going for Jeter moving up the list since pretty much everyone ahead of him has great career value.

          Also, I like like several others apparently, am still not buying this whole argument of Larkin is the better player because he was better compared to his SS peers. Their respective competitions are vastly skewed, and while that might make Larkin more valuable within the context of his league and prime, it does not necessarily at all prove that he is the better player. For example, Johnny Evers was quite possibly the best 2Bman in baseball during his prime, and his OPS was probably better relative to the average 2Bman of his league than say Frankie Frisch was to his league. Now I'm making this up, so I don't know if it's actually true, but if it were, based on your argument for Larkin against Jeter, Evers would be a better player than Frisch. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd agree with that.
          Last edited by DoubleX; 02-15-2006, 08:14 AM.

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          • #6
            I would take Larkin over Jeter any day.
            I think Larkin may be a future HoFer. Maybe not a first ballot, but someday.
            1968 and 1984, the greatest ever.

            Comment


            • #7
              Jeter could retire from the game today, and be in the Hall before Larkin- not saying that's fair- but them's the breaks.

              Add my name to the list of those who don't buy the SS peer argument. How would Larkin's numbers look if he had to compare them to Nomar, A-Rod, Tejeda... How many NL shortstops even had an above league average OPS over a substantial period of time during Larkin's tenure, you could probably count them on one hand. Larkin was a fine player- no doubt- and vastly underrated, but his biggest competitor built his reputation of DEFENSE. Larkin was an all star all those years on his merits, but also would have been, basically by default.

              Having the luxury of competing against a weak crop of competitors doesn't really make you any better. Relative value is one thing, true legendary status is another. The former is earned by competing against your peers, the latter by competing against history.

              The durability issue weighs heavily against Larkin, IMO, too. His 130 OPS+, has to be weighted against Jeff Branson's, or Mariano Duncan's or whoever his replacement was in those 30 games he missed on a regualr basis.

              When everything is said and done, I think I'll probably go with Jeter.
              THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

              In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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              • #8
                Larkin was almost a yankee in '94. Marge was pissed at Larkin for being too vocal during the strike and tried to trade him to the yankees for their AAA shortstop (Jeter). The yankees agreed to the trade (according to Marge) but Jim Bowden talked her out of it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A minor point is that RCAP has been pretty much discredited as a stat tool. In comparing RCAA Jeter has a slight lead on Larkin and this will continue to grow over the remainder of his career. Jeter has a higher EqA (.301 to .289) which might be hard to keep as he declines. Jeter has a slightly higher WARP3 value through age 31, but will have to continue to play well to match Larkins career value.
                  Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by digglahhh
                    The durability issue weighs heavily against Larkin, IMO, too. His 130 OPS+, has to be weighted against Jeff Branson's, or Mariano Duncan's or whoever his replacement was in those 30 games he missed on a regualr basis.
                    I think this is a an important point to this conversation. Over 18 seasons, Larkin missed approximately 1/3 of his teams' games. That means that 1/3 of the time the Reds had to trot out there vastly inferior players such as Duncan and Branson and whomever. So we're comparing a player that contributes to his team well over 90% of the time to one that contributed about 67% of the time. So who would you rather have on your team? Jeter for 160 games or Larkin for 110 and some at-best averarge player for 50 games? I'd rather have the guy I know will be there for most every game, then the guy I'm going to have to worry about replacing for 50 games a year. So like digglahhh said, Larkin's value has to be incorporate the fact that he wasn't helping his team for a 1/3 of his career and that a much lesser player had to fill in for those games.

                    Also, in 18 years, only 4 times Larkin played more than 150 games, and only 7 times more than 140. 8 times he missed more then 5 games and 12 times missed more than 30 games. So, IMO, the fact that the Reds so often had to rely on a replacement player really diminishes Larkin's value, especially in this conversation (where he is being compared to a player that has only once in 10 seasons played less than 148 games).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have added a poll. Just to avoid confusion, what the poll really means is who will rate higher when both of their careers have ended.

                      XX, you do make some good points. But, Larkin wasn't playing 1/3 of his team's games. He was playing more like 3/4. When caluculating this I left out 1986, when I assume Larkin either wasn't with the major league club all year or was a backup. Taking out '86 Larkin has played in 2139 games in his career, and the Reds have played 2850 1987-2004. That comes out to exactly 75% of the team's games played.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 538280
                        I have added a poll. Just to avoid confusion, what the poll really means is who will rate higher when both of their careers have ended.

                        XX, you do make some good points. But, Larkin wasn't playing 1/3 of his team's games. He was playing more like 3/4. When caluculating this I left out 1986, when I assume Larkin either wasn't with the major league club all year or was a backup. Taking out '86 Larkin has played in 2139 games in his career, and the Reds have played 2850 1987-2004. That comes out to exactly 75% of the team's games played.
                        That's still a very substantial number of games missed. The fact that Larkin more often played less than 140 games (and substantially less) than actually played 140 games, should be held against his value. 8 seasons out of 18 with missing at least 50 games and 11 seasons out of 18 with missing at least 30 games, that's not good, that seriously diminshes value, IMO.

                        I think this might be one of those instances when I come to realize something new about a player that causes me to reevaluate them. The fact that Larkin missed so much time on the field, meaning that the Reds had to rely on subpar replacements for major stretches during his career, has diminished Larkin's value IMO, to the point where I think I'm going to have to reconsider his no. 6 ranking.
                        Last edited by DoubleX; 02-15-2006, 01:32 PM.

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                        • #13
                          It is simply embarrassing how much greater Larkin is compared to Jeter even if you extrapolate. Those of you voting Jeter are either high...or don't have a full appreciation for the importance of defense and the fact that Jeter is one of the worst defensive shortstops of all time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SABR Matt
                            It is simply embarrassing how much greater Larkin is compared to Jeter even if you extrapolate. Those of you voting Jeter are either high...or don't have a full appreciation for the importance of defense and the fact that Jeter is one of the worst defensive shortstops of all time.
                            What a polite and friendly post.

                            Sometimes I really think that defensive sabrmetics measures should be retitled "New Ways to Invent Stats the Bring Jeter Down." Seriously, that seems like the goal nowadays of all these newfangled defensive measurements - how many different stats can a person invent that shows how bad Jeter is defensively.

                            I haven't voted in this poll because I have no idea how Jeter's career will finish, but in 2005, at least, Jeter finished 2nd in the AL among SS in Putouts, Assists, Fielding Percentage, Range Factor, and Fewest Errors. Certainly sounds like "one of the worst defensive shortstops of all time" to me.

                            Also, just in case you feel compelled to respond with some glut of metrics and stats to prove how bad Jeter is, please don't. I've seen them, I know what they're trying to get at. Sometimes I wonder if the people who come up with and rely on these statistics ever even watch a game of baseball. Like seriously, if they ever just sit back and enjoy the game. Somehow I doubt it (the thought process is more like, "what new convoluted measurement can I conjure to show how bad Jeter is defensively?"). At some point, delving too far into these statistics causes people to lose sight the game itself, and I think that's what happening nowadays with all these new measurements. It's seriously getting out of control. It's like in the movie White Men Can't Jump: You may listen to Jimi, but you can't hear Jimi - that's what all these increasingly convoluted stats are doing to the game and to those who overly rely on them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Matt,

                              I'd probably go Larkin too, all things considered. He was more of a leader than most give him credit for, and unbelievably consistent.

                              Do you have any way to account for the artificial turf, and how it aided his fielding and hitting?

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