JohnRgt

Jeter's Latest Immortal Play

48 posts in this topic

This is an incredible play.

http://tinyurl.com/2xxkf7

Click on "Jeter's over- the-shoulder-grab"

Jeter has a moment like this every month or two.

(I stopped leafing through Sports Illustrated when they declared Jeter the most overrated professional athlete in the US. Either the nation's largest magazine is staffed by people who know nothing, or they chose to generate controversy by going after one of the greatest.)

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There's no questioning his offensive prowess as a SS. Here are his OPS ranks among all SS by season since 2000:

2006 - 2nd

2005 - 4th

2004 - 5th

2003 - 2nd

2002 - 4th

2001 - 1st

2000 - 1st

His defense, on the other hand, is certainly up for debate. Here are his ZR ranks among all SS by season since 2001:

2006 - 20th

2005 - 16th

2004 - 11th

2003 - 22nd

2002 - 26th

2001 - 23rd

Now, I am far from a baseball statistician, and furthermore, to my knowledge, ZR is not as good a defensive metric as OPS is an offensive metric. But he is, at best, somewhat above average, and in some cases, downright bad, by the other defensive metrics I've seen. As for him being "clutch", the studies I have read indicate that the existence of clutch can not be proven.

Of course, I would want him on my team, and he is a great player overall. I may be a Sox fan, but I'm not an idiot. :)

Speaking of which, while we're talking about immortal plays, how about going here, scrolling down to April 22, and clicking on "Sox go back-to-back-to-back-to-back"? You know, just in case you missed it. :)

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(I stopped leafing through Sports Illustrated when they declared Jeter the most overrated professional athlete in the US. Either the nation's largest magazine is staffed by people who know nothing, or they chose to generate controversy by going after one of the greatest.)

If we're thinking of the same SI piece (which we may not be), SI was reporting that MLB players voted Jeter to be the most overrated in baseball. I don't think that's a crazy viewpoint. But let me first ask: what do you mean by "one of the greatest"? One of the greatest players (or shortstops) of all time? One of the greatest players (or shortstops) right now?

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This is an incredible play.

http://tinyurl.com/2xxkf7

Click on "Jeter's over- the-shoulder-grab"

Jeter has a moment like this every month or two.

(I stopped leafing through Sports Illustrated when they declared Jeter the most overrated professional athlete in the US. Either the nation's largest magazine is staffed by people who know nothing, or they chose to generate controversy by going after one of the greatest.)

Thanks for that! My favorite Jeter moment is his 2004 head-first, cruise-missile leap into the stands after successfully catching a pop fly off Trot Nixon in 2004.

As far as I'm concerned, Jeter is what baseball is all about! His total joy in the game, his willingness to put himself "out there", and his ability to "hustle" when things are tight always make him thrilling to watch. While he may not be phenom like Ruth or Mantle or Dimaggio, but he is an all-around great player whose talent, class, good sportsmanship and leadership ability puts him in the very same historic league.

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Stats are great, but they are no substitute for watching a player, day in day out. Of the people that do watch the games, I know very few that don't think Jeter is a rare defensive talent.

The man has three Gold Gloves, awarded in '04, '05 and '06.

I don't think I need to comment on the Red Sox's shortcomings -- even the 2004 ALCS can't redeem that team.

;-)

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(I stopped leafing through Sports Illustrated when they declared Jeter the most overrated professional athlete in the US. Either the nation's largest magazine is staffed by people who know nothing, or they chose to generate controversy by going after one of the greatest.)

If we're thinking of the same SI piece (which we may not be), SI was reporting that MLB players voted Jeter to be the most overrated in baseball. I don't think that's a crazy viewpoint. But let me first ask: what do you mean by "one of the greatest"? One of the greatest players (or shortstops) of all time? One of the greatest players (or shortstops) right now?

The article I'm thinking of listed pros from other sports as well.

I would say that the poll in the article you site says more about MLB's culture than it does about Jeter's skills.

BTW: Yes, I do mean that Jeter is one of the greatest overall players of all time. I also suspect that he'll be seen as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game's history. He's not Ozzie, and he may not have the fluidity Viscel had to both sides when he played for Cleveland, but in today's game I believe Jeter is beyond noteworthy.

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There's no questioning his offensive prowess as a SS. Here are his OPS ranks among all SS by season since 2000:

Yes although note the important phrase: "as an SS." And not only as an SS, but as an SS right now. So among this group for OPS, his average league ranking since 2000 is 2.7. This about the only way that Jeter can be "one of the greatest" in any statistical category: by severely restricting the time frame and/or the number of players he is competing against. And even here, the number of categories that would qualify are revealingly few.

His defense, on the other hand, is certainly up for debate.

Yes. Multiple other shortstops routinely have a better fielding percentage, too.

This is the standard Jeter-is-overrated argument: the numbers simply don't bear it out. The counterargument is usually that Jeter has myriad intangibles, including being a clutch player, giving it his all, or being a great clubhouse guy. Even to the extent that these are very importantly true--what studies call into question his clutch hitting, by the way?--it is at least a real question whether these elements make him into the kind of epochally great player that some people make him out to be. I think that, at least in part, what the SI poll shows is that MLB players don't buy the "intangibles argument" as much as a lot of fans do.

Of course, I would want him on my team, and he is a great player overall.

Yes, as is obligatory when discussing issues like this, it's important to say that I'm a big Jeter fan who often sings his numerously deserved praises.

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BTW: Yes, I do mean that Jeter is one of the greatest overall players of all time. I also suspect that he'll be seen as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game's history. He's not Ozzie, and he may not have the fluidity Viscel had to both sides when he played for Cleveland, but in today's game I believe Jeter is beyond noteworthy.

Well, beyond noteworthy, sure. But you'll have to justify one of the greatest players of all time. Perhaps you could provide some statistical categories in which he is close to one of the greatest of all time.

By the way, I don't agree with the "if you watched him day-in and day-out you'd see" argument. Jeter's hustle and attitude is not a blank check to say that the fairly massive difference in on-field production between him and myriad other players in the history of the game is thereby offset. Other players who have much better numbers gave it their all and wanted to win, too.

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Thanks for that! My favorite Jeter moment is his 2004 head-first, cruise-missile leap into the stands after successfully catching a pop fly off Trot Nixon in 2004.

As far as I'm concerned, Jeter is what baseball is all about! His total joy in the game, his willingness to put himself "out there", and his ability to "hustle" when things are tight always make him thrilling to watch. While he may not be phenom like Ruth or Mantle or Dimaggio, but he is an all-around great player whose talent, class, good sportsmanship and leadership ability puts him in the very same historic league.

This argument seems to rely on the claim that the large difference in on-field production between guys like Aaron on the one hand, and Jeter on the other, is made up for because the difference between Jeter's attitude and hustle and those players' is similarly large. But aren't there plenty of guys with much better numbers than Jeter who hustled and wanted to win? Also, how do we say that, causally, Jeter's attitude and hustle is worth as much in wins as, say, the 500+ more homeruns of an Aaron, or the 20-30 points higher career batting average of a Tony Gwynn or a Ted Williams? I'm genuinely open to argument here, but it's definitely not obvious to me.

Moreover, this is all separate from the fact that, nationally, people who regard Jeter's on-field production as anything short of epochal often get a lot of flak. I think this is what drives a lot of the "overrated" talk.

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This argument seems to rely on the claim that the large difference in on-field production between guys like Aaron on the one hand, and Jeter on the other, is made up for because the difference between Jeter's attitude and hustle and those players' is similarly large. But aren't there plenty of guys with much better numbers than Jeter who hustled and wanted to win? Also, how do we say that, causally, Jeter's attitude and hustle is worth as much in wins as, say, the 500+ more homeruns of an Aaron, or the 20-30 points higher career batting average of a Tony Gwynn or a Ted Williams? I'm genuinely open to argument here, but it's definitely not obvious to me.

Except for the final score of a game, I have no concern whatsoever with numbers when it comes to baseball. They mean nothing to me.

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This argument seems to rely on the claim that the large difference in on-field production between guys like Aaron on the one hand, and Jeter on the other, is made up for because the difference between Jeter's attitude and hustle and those players' is similarly large. But aren't there plenty of guys with much better numbers than Jeter who hustled and wanted to win? Also, how do we say that, causally, Jeter's attitude and hustle is worth as much in wins as, say, the 500+ more homeruns of an Aaron, or the 20-30 points higher career batting average of a Tony Gwynn or a Ted Williams? I'm genuinely open to argument here, but it's definitely not obvious to me.

Except for the final score of a game, I have no concern whatsoever with numbers when it comes to baseball. They mean nothing to me.

And one addendum. I've seen the Yankees (even the bona fide phenoms) come onto the field looking listless, like something the cat dragged in . . . all save Jeter, whose consistent, boundless energy and vitality spurs the rest of his worn-out teammates on to a victory. On numerous occasions, a little bit of "special" from Derek Jeter has turned the game. There are no numbers (stats) for this; it's an intangible.

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OK. Let's get one thing straight. I hate the Red Sox.

Now, the Yankees won 4 out of 6 World Series from '96 - '01. No one does that without a great shortstop (among other great players). Forget the stats. Debate over!!!

GO YANKEES

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I think that, at least in part, what the SI poll shows is that MLB players don't buy the "intangibles argument" as much as a lot of fans do.

I hate to say it, but MLB culture, like the rest of the culture, has a strong envy element. Further, some of the other names on the overrated list we're discussing happen to tower over at least 85% of their colleagues.

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But aren't there plenty of guys with much better numbers than Jeter who hustled and wanted to win?

The man gets seasoning-saving hits, time after time after time. He makes plays that save seasons, every season. Further, I don't care if he wants to win. The fact is he wins crucial games for a team that has done exceptionally well.

Also, how do we say that, causally, Jeter's attitude and hustle is worth as much in wins as, say, the 500+ more homeruns of an Aaron, or the 20-30 points higher career batting average of a Tony Gwynn or a Ted Williams? I'm genuinely open to argument here, but it's definitely not obvious to me.

I've always assumed that the hustle is what enables Jeter to make that crucial play, get the must-have hit, and elevate the motivation of enough of his teammates to increase the team's chance of a win.

As I said above, knowledgeable fans, commentators and former pros that watch the games and know baseball history consider Jeter to be one of the best of all time. Are you setting aside this consensus with stats?

I agree with Paul and Vespasiano, namely that the stats aren't -- can't be -- the whole story.

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As I said above, knowledgeable fans, commentators and former pros that watch the games and know baseball history consider Jeter to be one of the best of all time. Are you setting aside this consensus with stats?

I don't know that there is a consensus that Jeter is (say) one of the top 20 greatest players of all time. I wouldn't put him in that category, and by a fairly wide margin at that. But since when does consensus matter? I am a knowledgeable fan, and there are seriously knowledgeable baseball writers that have provided facts in order to support the side I'm presenting. Accusations of envy are irrelevant to the facts I'm providing and asking for.

I agree with Paul and Vespasiano, namely that the stats aren't -- can't be -- the whole story.

No one said they are the whole story. But they are facts; stats are a form of the human need of measurement in order to understand reality. All I see is a writing off of these facts and then a cashing-in of the blank check of intangibles. And not only that, but this is all being done without any discussion of how these intangibles themselves compare to those possessed by players across the 100+ years we've had of baseball. E.g., does anyone have any actual data of how good Jeter's clutch hitting is as compared to the many other clutch hitters in the history of the game?

If phrases like "one of the best of all time" are going to be used, then one needs to step up to the plate (pun intended) and provide the comparative evidence against baseball players across the decades--especially when Jeter is decidedly not "one of the best of all time" when it comes to batting average, homeruns, stolen bases, fielding percentage, or virtually any stat you choose. Strong statements require strong proof, not anecdotes. If this is not provided then I have nothing more to say.

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ADS: I am a knowledgeable fan, and there are seriously knowledgeable baseball writers that have provided facts in order to support the side I'm presenting. Accusations of envy are irrelevant to the facts I'm providing and asking for.

But you and those writers are rationalizing via stats. You're reducing beyond what the game's nature allows.

No one said they are the whole story. But they are facts; stats are a form of the human need of measurement in order to understand reality. All I see is a writing off of these facts and then a cashing-in of the blank check of intangibles.

Yet you write as if those stats are the whole story. The fact that there's a stat tradition that doesn't readily measure what Jeter brings lends no credence to demanding stats to substantiate his legend.

And not only that, but this is all being done without any discussion of how these intangibles themselves compare to those possessed by players across the 100+ years we've had of baseball.

How many players can we talk about here? How many were part of a dynasty that was as dominant as the one in question? Of that number, how many repeatedly played a significant role in that dominance, year in year out?

E.g., does anyone have any actual data of how good Jeter's clutch hitting is as compared to the many other clutch hitters in the history of the game?

"Al" we have is a seemingly endless log of Jeter coming through under the incredible pressure of a dynasty in the toughest sports town there is.

You can try to reduce performance to the stats you're asking for, but as any knowledgeable fan will tell you, stats are almost meaningless in this sort of assessment.

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The man has three Gold Gloves, awarded in '04, '05 and '06.

So does Rafael Palmeiro from 1999, when he played all of 28 games as a first baseman and the other 135 as a DH.

I don't think I need to comment on the Red Sox's shortcomings -- even the 2004 ALCS can't redeem that team.

You can comment on the Red Sox shortcomings if you wish. They do not change the fact that the 2004 ALCS was arguably the greatest comeback/collapse in the history of sports, and I think you know which team was on which end. :)

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I hate to say it, but MLB culture, like the rest of the culture, has a strong envy element. Further, some of the other names on the overrated list we're discussing happen to tower over at least 85% of their colleagues.

Sadly, you are right about the envy element.

As a separate point, aren't most of the names on an "overrated" list going to be the better players? Who's going to consider somebody like David DeJesus overrated?

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[Jeter] gets seasoning-saving hits, time after time after time. He makes plays that save seasons, every season. . . . tats aren't -- can't be -- the whole story.

The problem here is that season-saving hits or plays ARE stats, are they not? As I understand our disagreement about Jeter, it is whether he, like Degree, kicks in in the clutch.

Okay, seriously though, your point about Jeter is in essence that he makes plays in tough ("season-saving") situations to an exceptional degree, yes? Then this should be reflected numerically. First, we would have to define what you call a "season-saving" hit or play. Then we measure how many opportunities everyone had to make a season-saving play, then we measure how many times each person completed one, then we see how reliable our data is (looking for small sample size problems, etc.), then, assuming the data is reliable, we see how Jeter compares to everyone else.

Because someone asked, and because it is highly relevant to this post, I provide a link to a short article discussing "clutch" performances and players, and whether some players possess a greater "clutch" ability than others.

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This article won't settle the debate, but it will give some historical context.

Shortstops live and die by the glove. A great hitter who rings up extra base hits and drives in runs helps his team in ways that are measurable; various baseball formulas have been developed based on historical regression analyses to measure the contribution of the sluggers to their teams' success. For instance, based on his 1998 season, Mark McGwire created 193 runs - that is, his offensive contributions were the equivalent of 193 of the runs that the St. Louis Cardinals scored that season (NL MVP Sammy Sosa created 149).

Now, what if an average player had hit for McGwire? What is the value-added? By controlling runs created for ballpark effects and subtracting out a league average replacement player, we can see that McGwire contributed about 95 "batter runs" to his team.

Now, what about a top-fielding shortstop? Just how many runs can a shortstop save if he has great range and commits few errors? One can determine how many hits a shortstop takes away from opponents by looking at how many putouts and assists he gets beyond the league average. Although there is no way to tell for sure just how many runs a shortstop saves, we can develop an estimate. Take Ozzie Smith, for instance - in 1980 he led the majors with 288 putouts and 621 assists. That means that he got 16% more outs than the league typical shortstop - Total Baseball figures that he took 41 runs away from opponents that year alone, and that's before stepping into the batter's box! As a point of comparison, the league MVP that year was Mike Schmidt, with 48 HR, 121 RBI and a huge slugging percentage of .624; according to Total Baseball, he added 49 runs with his bat above and beyond a league average replacement player.

No other position is so critical to the defense. The best shortstops with the glove (Smith, Luis Aparicio, and Mark Belanger among them) frequently took over 20 runs away from opponents, helping their pitchers keep their pitch count low and often giving the team a psychological lift. That said, defense alone won't get you on this list - sorry, Rey Ordonez. There are too many good shortstops who could thrill with both offense and brilliant defense, ...

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One more article that is critical of Jeter.

The auther concludes,

And so I'll say what I said a year and a half ago ... Derek Jeter is a great player, but he's a great player not because he plays shortstop well, but simply because he can play shortstop.

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Now, the Yankees won 4 out of 6 World Series from '96 - '01. No one does that without a great shortstop (among other great players). Forget the stats. Debate over!!!

Well, the debate's not over :) , but one need not forget the stats to know that the 96-00 Yankees run saw some incredible performances. You want to sing someone's praises for those years, how about Bernie Williams? He put up offensive numbers in every one of those seasons that Jeter touched only once (1999).

Not that offense is everything. I'm just praising Williams' incredible offensive performances during that dynasty.

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[Jeter] gets seasoning-saving hits, time after time after time. He makes plays that save seasons, every season. . . . tats aren't -- can't be -- the whole story.

The problem here is that season-saving hits or plays ARE stats, are they not?

Which standard stats would measure this?

As I understand our disagreement about Jeter, it is whether he, like Degree, kicks in in the clutch.

I thought that the debate was whether or not Jeter was an immortal, not if he has a long record of coming through under pressure.

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Which standard stats would measure [season-saving hits or plays]?

If by "standard stats" you mean, H, RBI, or something, then I am not aware of one. But I wasn't suggesting that season-saving hits could be measured using traditional metrics, just that they could be measured.

One study evaluated player performance in the "late innings of close games", which it defined as "the seventh inning or later with a one-run lead, a tie score, or the tying run on base, at bat, or on deck."

Statistics, like definitions, should be used as tools to accurately describe reality. If one wants to say a player is a "clutch" hitter, we need a definition. Is it "clutch" to get a hit in the first inning of the first game of the season? How about to get a hit when one's team is ahead 47-0 in the ninth and the game has no effect on the playoff seedings?

My point is that what we should try to do when testing for clutch ability is come up with a suitable definition. And, that just because a definition may not be all-encompassing or may require refinement does not mean it is useless or that the phenomenon at issue can not be quantified. For example, should we adjust our definition of "clutch" to include one's performance in games with ramifications for a 1 seeding versus a 2 seeding? Perhaps, but that will probably only affect a very small part of our data, and thus would not undermine our confidence in the overall conclusion, at least not by very much.

I thought that the debate was whether or not Jeter was an immortal, not if he has a long record of coming through under pressure.

Oh, my bad. I'll shift my line of questioning then. Does he reside on Valhalla? Does he possess any superhuman traits, such as x-ray vision or the ability to summon flame without flint or tinder?

:lol:

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Cute on the "immortal", Grooves!

I agree that stats can be devised to measure what we're talking about; you described one such possibility a few posts up.

I disagree that we have them, or that in the absence of such numbers, it's invalid to sight reasonable sources in discussion -- everyone understands the limitations of such a reference, no?

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