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Derek Jeter's Fielding

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  • Derek Jeter's Fielding

    I just finished reading Tom Tango's excellent article, "With or Without ... Derek Jeter", in which the author attempts to account for a variety of factors which may be biasing analysis of Jeter's defense against him. I read the article, and I saw Tom saying, I tried, Derek. I really, really tried. You said we need to account for who is on the mound. So I did that. The analysis still says you can't field. You said we need to account for the batter. So I did that. You still look bad. I tried accounting for the baserunner. No good. You're still near the bottom. I even accounted for park, which is something you didn't suggest, just to be as fair as possible. A little better this time, but still well below average. Oh yes, Derek Jeter, I tried to make you look good. But the fact is, you aren't.
    Tom used Mitchel Lichtman's fielding analysis UZR, which is about as good as they come. And then he adjusted out any of the biases that might work against Jeter. We're at the point where we just have to accept it. Derek Jeter is a bad defensive shortstop.

    Has there ever been a player like Derek Jeter in the history of baseball, in this regard? Some of you will be quick to mention George Sisler and Hal Chase, two first basemen who were regarded as defensive superstars in their day. But there are circumstances which explain the disparity between the statistical record and their reputation. Sisler is seen as at least a decent defensive first baseman by such historical defensive analysis as Defensive Win Shares, FRAA/FRAR, and PCA up until the sinus problems affected his vision and changed the course of his career. Chase's fielding prowess is victimized by his own corruption. Unfortunately, we will never know how good he would show up statistically if he were playing the game clean. Jeter is different. He has no circumstances that are affecting his play at shortstop, and yet he has won three straight gold gloves while consistently being regarded as a notably below average shortstop. Gold gloves are supposed to be awarded to the most outstanding player with the glove at each position, not to someone who is one of the worst.
    I can think of four reasons, which, working in combination with one another, may be causing the difference in what sportswriters are seeing and what hard analysis is telling us.

    1) The Yankee hype effect. Jeter is the leader of the most storied franchise in baseball in the media capital of the world, and has led that franchise to four World Series titles. He's going to get a little hype.

    2) The SportsCenter effect. We can't help it. We are affected by highlight reel plays. When Derek Jeter goes diving into the stands to make a spectacular play, we think Gold Glove. Never mind that overall, Jeter is letting balls get by that the average shortstop would get. The highlights are what are spectacular, and spectacular is what wins Gold Gloves. A player only needs a few of those to turn an average fielding season into a Gold Glove.

    3) Status as a player. Jeter has likely gotten a few votes from people who just couldn't think of anyone, and went with the superstar. It happens.

    4) Clutch play. Jeter is widely regarded as a clutch player in all facets of the game. Apparently the sportswriters are seeing something the statistics aren't, ways in which Jeter shows his character by making the plays that really count. Maybe Jeter does make fewer plays than the average shortstop, but he makes the plays that matter, and that's why he's a winner.

    You can probably think of other reasons that may explain why a player that so roundly shows up as a statistically poor fielder could win three straight gold gloves. But has that sort of combination ever showed up for another player in baseball, someone who is seen by the sportswriters as one of the best, if not the best, fielders in the league, and seen by statistical analysis as one of the worst? That kind of disparity is pretty hard to come by.
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

  • #2
    Not to sound like a jerk, but this is certainly nothing new.
    Ball game over. World Series over! Yankees win thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees win!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Murderers Row View Post
      Not to sound like a jerk, but this is certainly nothing new.
      I am not talking about a player who doesn't deserve to win a gold glove winning one. I am talking about a player who is legitimately abysmal in the field winning multiple gold gloves. Big difference. This is like Leon Wagner or Mike Piazza winning three gold gloves. If a player who was only decent or even average won a few, I wouldn't be too surprised. But for a player who is seen as being as bad as Jeter is to win three straight gold gloves is legitimately surprising.
      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

      - Alvin Dark

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
        Never mind that overall, Jeter is letting balls get by that the average shortstop would get.
        Exhibit A... :o
        http://img218.imagevenue.com/img.php..._122_545lo.jpg

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
          I am not talking about a player who doesn't deserve to win a gold glove winning one. I am talking about a player who is legitimately abysmal in the field winning multiple gold gloves. Big difference. This is like Leon Wagner or Mike Piazza winning three gold gloves. If a player who was only decent or even average won a few, I wouldn't be too surprised. But for a player who is seen as being as bad as Jeter is to win three straight gold gloves is legitimately surprising.
          Yeah, I know. Jeter having range equal to that of a WW2 vet is nothing new
          Ball game over. World Series over! Yankees win thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees win!

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          • #6
            "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

            - Alvin Dark

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            • #7
              PCA doesn't have too many big disagreements with consensus...but the closest example I can think of is Robby Alomar. He won 10 gold gloves and deserved zero of them according to PCA...he was at b est average and had many poor seasons in which he won a GG.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Murderers Row View Post
                Yeah, I know. Jeter having range equal to that of a WW2 vet is nothing new
                Putting A-Rod at third when he could outfield Jeter at short (and is not as good at third as he is at short) may be the biggest waste of baseball and monetary value in the sport. Nevertheless, wasn't Jeter statistically a pretty good fielder in '05 and '06.

                I have a hard time realizing that Tulo lost the NL gold Glove to Rollins.
                Last edited by brett; 03-18-2008, 07:16 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by brett View Post
                  Nevertheless, wasn't Jeter statistically a pretty good fielder in '05 and '06.

                  Statistically good can be misleading. Yeah, he may be catching everything he gets to, but not getting to as many as other SS would.
                  Another example, Jim Edmonds is known for making great catches in CF. But a lot of those balls he diving for, are the same ones that Andruw Jones is (was) camping out under and making the routine catch. Jones has a much quicker reaction time, reads the ball better, and covers more ground. So his catches look like just your average fly ball. Where as Edmonds gets a late jump, and ends up having to fully extend in a dive to catch the same ball. Their fielding percentage may be similar, but Andruw is actually the better fielder.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by brett View Post
                    Putting A-Rod at third when he could outfield Jeter at short (and is not as good at third as he is at short) may be the biggest waste of baseball and monetary value in the sport. Nevertheless, wasn't Jeter statistically a pretty good fielder in '05 and '06.

                    I have a hard time realizing that Tulo lost the NL gold Glove to Rollins.
                    Maybe Jeter simply can't play third at all. Isn't that more important than having a guy who can play third a bit and a guy who can play short a bit? Doesn't seem like a waste to me.

                    Again, though, the sportswriters do not vote for Gold Gloves. Managers and coaches, who should know better, do.
                    Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                    Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
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                    • #11
                      It's all in the flashbulb memory effect, the pirouette throws after picks in the 5.5 hole.

                      The say greatness is making the unbelievable look routine, the opposite end of the spectrum is making the mundane look remarkable...
                      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nutriaitch View Post
                        Statistically good can be misleading. Yeah, he may be catching everything he gets to, but not getting to as many as other SS would.
                        Another example, Jim Edmonds is known for making great catches in CF. But a lot of those balls he diving for, are the same ones that Andruw Jones is (was) camping out under and making the routine catch. Jones has a much quicker reaction time, reads the ball better, and covers more ground. So his catches look like just your average fly ball. Where as Edmonds gets a late jump, and ends up having to fully extend in a dive to catch the same ball. Their fielding percentage may be similar, but Andruw is actually the better fielder.
                        Most of the more advanced measures that look at plays made versus expectancy show that he was above average in '05 and '06. They also show that Edmonds was very good, just not tremendous. Same with Griffey-he shows up as good but not great.

                        And Dave Winfield, by the way shows up as basically a BAD defensive corner outfielder using FRAA etc.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
                          Maybe Jeter simply can't play third at all. Isn't that more important than having a guy who can play third a bit and a guy who can play short a bit? Doesn't seem like a waste to me.
                          The waste was spending 25 million for a guy who was worth that much as a good shortstop not a below average third baseman.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brett View Post
                            The waste was spending 25 million for a guy who was worth that much as a good shortstop not a below average third baseman.
                            They paid for the bat, not the glove. And has his glove really cost a team that appears in the postseason year after year after year, due in good part to his bat?

                            And it was the Rangers who gave shortstop Rodriguez that $25 Million a year contract. The Yankees weren't even paying that the last four years.
                            Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                            Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                            Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                            Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                            Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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                            • #15
                              Jeter certainly has problems with range on ground balls, but he does have some defensive assets. He has strong arm and is particularly adept at relay throws. His overall throwing is strong and accurate. He seems to do well on balls in the air.

                              Yes, the talking heads overrate him, but we are talking about a legitimate HoFer here not chopped liver. Granted if he played in a less publicized market (See Barry Larkin) he wouldn't have near the notoriety he does.
                              Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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