Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Derek Jeter Sucks In The Two Hole But Is Not To Blame For The Struggling Offense

I have seen all over the Yankees blogosphere, social media, etc. how Derek Jeter thinks he is more important than the team and how he should be moved down from the#2 hole. The general consensus seems to be that the Yankees offense would be better with Jeter batting 7th or below and that is something I tend to disagree with. To date Jeter has slashed .261/.308/.312 with three home runs and 36 RBI. Would this play any different farther down in the lineup than in the second hole, probably, but I am not entirely convinced it would help the offense all that much.

Jacoby Ellsbury leads the team in RBI with 64 RBI after hitting in the number three hole behind Jeter for much of the season. To me that kind of kills the "Jeter kills all rallies and grounds into too many double plays and that's why the Yankees offense sucks" argument. I'm not saying that Ellsbury or whoever was in the third hole couldn't have more RBI with someone else in that hole but I am also saying that Ellsbury doesn't have 100 RBI with someone else hitting in front of him either.

The second highest RBI total on the team belongs to Brett Gardner with 55 as he is tied with Mark Teixeira. Gardner has hit in the lead off spot a ton this season or has hit lower in the order, neither spots are really affected by Jeter hitting behind him. The fact that Teixeira leads the team with only 20 home runs heading into September while he has missed a good months worth of games is not Jeter's fault either. The Yankees have been the Bronx Bombless this season and that's no fault of Jeter's either.

I am more than willing to admit that the best Yankees lineup looks a little something like Ellsbury, Gardner, Beltran, Teixeira, McCann, Prado, Headley, Jeter, Ichiro/Drew/Whoever but I am unwilling to think that the Yankees are leading the AL East division with that lineup either. Either way you look at it a 47 point increase from your batting average to your on base is significant and plays wherever you put it. Jeter's RBI totals look the same or worse down in the order and so do his runs scored numbers. It's September, the sample sizes are real and I don't believe Jeter and his "ego" is to blame for this offense.

Jeter didn't make Teixeira's batting average drop every season since 2009, didn't make McCann and Beltran have terrible seasons, didn't cause the Yankees to run with Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Ichiro, and Yangervis Solarte for a huge part of the season, and Jeter didn't raise the Yankees expectations on Jacoby Ellsbury. Jeter simply blends in on a team that has struggled offensively and is only going to get worse without huge acquisitions in 2015.

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