Thursday, March 14, 2013
At age 38, with a healthy ankle, Derek Jeter was rated as the worst defensive shortstop in baseball by most every advanced defensive metric in 2012. He was sure-handed as always, but his range—which has never been a strength—declined to near-statue levels.
Derek Jeter will turn 39 years old this season. He is coming off a broken ankle and now has a plate and screws in his leg. He was unable to work out his legs all winter as he rested and rehabbed from the surgery.
If this sounds like a bad combination, well, it probably is.
Jeter played shortstop Wednesday night, his first time playing defense since breaking his ankle exactly five months before. His return brings stability to the position for the undermanned Yankees, who are already down several key players with the start of the season just a few weeks away.
|2009||Yuniesky Betancourt||- - -||SS||1159||-16.7|
|2006||Felipe Lopez||- - -||SS||1337||-14.7|
|2009||Orlando Cabrera||- - -||SS||1388.2||-29|
|2006||Felipe Lopez||- - -||SS||1337||-23|
Yeah, the second chart goes to 11.
I expect Jeter to have another bad defensive year. Will he challenge Michael Young’s legendary 2005 for worst defensive season by a shortstop in the advanced defensive metric era? Probably not, because he’s probably not going to play more than 900-1000 innings at short this year.
If you were to use a 3/2/1 weighted average of the last three seasons to estimate Jeter’s 2013 defense in these two metrics it’d look like this.
Subtract two more runs for aging if you like. Might the ankle cost him another five runs? It’s possible. That puts him around -23 in DRS and -18 in UZR over 1159 innings. Average those and you get a -21. Figure a range of -6 in either direction for uncertainty in a single season’s sample and you’re looking at something like -15 to -27.
Hopefully he’s got another 216 hits in him.
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