• Derek Jeter, Mr. Lucky

    Posted by on March 28th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Mark Simon offers lots of good numbers on Derek Jeter – including this one:

    Lastly, Jeter has had a remarkable knack at hitting ‘em where they ain’t, as evidenced by his Batting Average on Balls in Play.

    When Jeter puts the ball in play, he’s among the game’s most accurate batsmen. Depending on which formula you use to calculate BABIP (one includes sacrifice flies, one doesn’t), Jeter’s BABIP of .358 (or .356) ranks among the very best in the sport.

    Entering 2011, Jeter’s .314 batting average ranks 56th best since 1913 (we use that year because it’s the first year for which strikeout totals exist).

    Strip away the home runs and strikeouts and Jeter’s BABIP is fifth-best in that span, a near match for Ichiro Suzuki and Rod Carew, two players best known for being able to guide the baseball into spots where they were most likely to get hits. Jeter’s prowess in that regard is one of the rare things about him that seems to go unrecognized.

    Comments on Derek Jeter, Mr. Lucky

    1. redbug
      March 28th, 2011 | 5:02 pm

      I don’t think Jeter’s numbers are due his being lucky. He’s been great, especially when it counts. When it’s a big game, there’s no one I’d rather have at the plate with runners on. No one.

    2. agsf
      March 28th, 2011 | 6:31 pm

      redbug wrote:

      When it’s a big game, there’s no one I’d rather have at the plate with runners on. No one.

      In 2010 Jeter hit .290 with the bases empty, runners on .237, runners in scoring position .271, runners in scoring position with 2 outs .257, bases loaded .050.

      None on no outs he hit .297, with non on and 1 or 2 out he hit .279. With men on and 2 outs he hit .219, and with a man on third and less than 2 outs he hit .179.

      Of course, you can believe your eyes, or the stats.

    3. Jim TreshFan
      March 28th, 2011 | 7:15 pm

      @ agsf:

      I believe Redbug was referring to Jeter’s performance in big games over the course of his career. Your response reflected Jeter’s numbers in men on base and out situations in all games—not quite the same thing—and then only over the course of one season (which we all agree was his worst). My own take is, given the fact that Jeter has amassed over 10,000 plate appearances in his career his lifetime averages could hardly be flukes (i.e. “lucky”). Or put it this way: If you were to believe that Derek Jeter was just lucky then you must also believe that Rod Carew and Ichiro Suzuki were just lucky as well.

    4. jgueli
      March 29th, 2011 | 12:21 am

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      I totally agree with you. I can’t stand people who say Jeter isn’t that good or overrated. He has been so consistent for so many years. People like to point out specific stats (that usually only cover small periods of time) to justify their opinion, yet they forget all the incredible LIFETIME stats he’s amassed over the years.

    5. Evan3457
      March 29th, 2011 | 4:37 pm

      Jeter’s lack of “luck” last year was mainly dues to a drop in LD% and an increase in GB%. Line drives become hits roughly 70% of the time, ground balls about 30%.

      If his new stance allows him to hit more line drives this year, his “luck” will magically return.

    6. 77yankees
      March 29th, 2011 | 8:49 pm

      So if Wee Willie Keeler were around today, would the media be talking about how lucky he is “hitting it where they ain’t”?

    7. Evan3457
      March 29th, 2011 | 9:58 pm

      77yankees wrote:

      So if Wee Willie Keeler were around today, would the media be talking about how lucky he is “hitting it where they ain’t”?

      I think that if we could examine the hitting career of Wee Willie Keeler today, he’d probably have a high line drive rate, a high percentage of grounders beaten out for hits by his excellent speed, and a high percentage of bunt hits.

    8. Jim TreshFan
      March 29th, 2011 | 11:18 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      I believe Willie Keeler was the most over-rated hitter in MLB history. In 1899 for example he had 206 singles, 7 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 homerun (which was an inside the parker, of course). That all adds up to 230 total bases on 216 hits. He also was hit by the pitch just 3 times (despite the way he crowded the plate), laid down only 9 sac bunts and drew all of 31 walks. Yes, he did “steal” 28 bases; but there’s no record as to how many times he was caught stealing, and besides there were seven different players (including two on his own team) who stole over 40 bases that year.

    9. BOHAN
      March 30th, 2011 | 1:27 am

      Correct me if I’m wrong but is this syaing that Jeter is good becuase he’s lucky that he hits where they aren’t? Now once again I could be wrong but isnt that point of hitting? Aren’t they tryin to hit them where they aren’t? What would be the point of hitting the ball at people? Doesn’t that result in an out a large majority of the time?

    10. MJ Recanati
      March 30th, 2011 | 8:04 am

      Jim TreshFan wrote:

      I believe Willie Keeler was the most over-rated hitter in MLB history. In 1899 for example he had 206 singles, 7 doubles, 2 triples, and 1 homerun (which was an inside the parker, of course). That all adds up to 230 total bases on 216 hits. He also was hit by the pitch just 3 times (despite the way he crowded the plate), laid down only 9 sac bunts and drew all of 31 walks. Yes, he did “steal” 28 bases; but there’s no record as to how many times he was caught stealing, and besides there were seven different players (including two on his own team) who stole over 40 bases that year.

      In the deadball era, who are we to say if that passed for good or bad? From everything I’ve heard about the pre-1920′s, hitting a baseball more than a couple hundred feet was pretty hard to do.

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