Derek Jeter: Simply Overrated
Yes, you read that title of this article correctly. Derek Jeter is one of the most overrated athletes in sports. Go ahead, boo me all you want here, but facts don’t lie. After reading some research done by ESPN’s Keith Olbermann and the Elias Sports Bureau in addition to some of my own research, it is conclusive that Derek Jeter is just simply not as good everyone makes him out to be, and is ABSOLUTELY not the greatest shortstop in baseball history. Don’t get me wrong, he is one of the most clutch players in baseball history and is also one of the greatest AMBASSADORS of the New York Yankees and baseball in general, but that doesn’t mean skills wise he is one of the best. I am against the whole “farewell tour” that has been going on all season, simply because skills wise he is not one of the greatest. While he is a stand up guy and someone kids should look up to, there are other great people in the game of baseball who deserve recognition too, not just Jeter. Here are some stats to help prove my points.
. First to start off with a fact I’m sure many of you did not know, Derek Jeter has NEVER won an MVP award. How can the greatest shortstop who ever lived and the greatest Yankee in history have never won a Most Valuable Player award. He came close in 2006, coming in second place in voting, but to no avail.
. Derek Jeter has never led the American League in batting average, and has only led the league in hits twice. Not exactly immortal numbers. He also led the league in runs once in one of the most powerful offenses in history in which he was at the top of the order, so leading the league in runs is not really that impressive.
.Derek Jeter has a career WAR(Wins above replacement) of 72.1, which is good for most players, but mediocre for someone who is supposedly the best. Scott Rolen had a WAR of 70. While I understand that Scott Rolen got that WAR in large part due to his defensive ability, it just shows that in means of importance to his team, Derek Jeter is in the same category as Scott Rolen, whom many of you reading this probably know minimal about.
. As mentioned by Keith Olbermann, of these 10 Yankee greats(Jeter, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Alex Rodriguez, Thurman Munson, Mike Mussina, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Red Ruffing) Derek Jeter has the LOWEST WAR per season of these players. Greatest Yankee ever? Not even close.
. Another point made by Olbermann, Jeter is one of 19 players in MLB History with 12,000 plate appearances. Where does Jeter rank among these players in some of the top statistical categories? 13th in slugging percentage, 14th in OPS, 12th in home runs, 13th in triples, 14th in doubles, 14th in RBI’s. In terms of hits, Jeter’s longevity in the league really did inflate his stats to a higher level that he really played at, and still doesn’t rank highly among players who have played as long as him. Also, of these 19 players, he struck out the most. The best? Looking less convincing now.
. Among players in the Modern Era(since 1900 of baseball) who’s primary position is shortstop, Jeter defensively is the WORST shortstop in the Modern Era with a -9.4 WAR. You mean the “best” is the worst? Yep. Defensively his career was marked by 3 plays, his jumping throw from the hole, his dive into the stands in the playoffs, and his tremendous flip against the A’s in the playoffs to save a run. 3 great plays does not define a career. He sucks defensively. Get over it.
. Derek Jeter won 4 World Series titles in his first 5 years. Surely he was the biggest reason right? Wrong again. Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez all out performed Jeter offensively on that team. Without them, Jeter doesn’t become nearly as big of a star as he is now. By the way, since those three retired, the Yankees have won 1 World Series title. Kudos to the “best ever” on that one.
. ESPN’s Buster Olney calculated that Derek Jeter’s 2014 offensive stats and OPS are the 8th worst by a Yankee with over 600 plate appearances since the 1910’s. Best Yankee ever? He’s having one of the worst seasons in Yankee history!
. Jeter doesn’t even compare offensively with another great shortstop in Cal Ripken Jr.
. Jeter: .310 BA 260 HR’s 1307 RBI’s 1837 Strikeouts 0 MVP’s 14 All-Star Appearances
. Ripken: .276 BA 431 HR’s 1695 RBI’s 1305 Strikeouts 2 MVP’s 19 All Star Appearances
. Compared with the best defensively? Jeter: 5 Gold Gloves Ozzie Smith: 13 Gold Gloves
This is not a rant against Derek Jeter, but more of trying to put a stop to the “He’s the best Yankee and Shortstop ever” talk. He isn’t. Derek Jeter is a great ambassador of the game and one of the most clutch players ever, that he has earned. But as the stats show, he is not a generation defining player skills wise and had his career boosted with World Series titles early on in his career on a team that he didn’t even lead. Sorry, Derek Jeter is just simply overrated.