Kenny’s Ridiculous Rant

Whatever.  Kenny’s really been bugging me to put this up.   As I mentioned to him, his Jeter argument is weak and flawed (as we all know) and the Joe Torre as overrated manager is nothing new to this blog.  (See here, here and here, for some examples.)  Here goes.

Get Over Him Already – He Shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame

This has nothing to do with Barry Bonds.  Instead this has to do with a very good – not great – shortstop who happened to be in the right place at the right time.  A little more than 10 years ago the debate started.  Derek Jeter is better than A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada, and Rey Ordonez.  So said Yankees fans.  I still think Rey Ordonez was amazing defensively – his errors were often committed on plays he had no business even getting close to (i.e., other shortstops would not have had errors on such plays because the balls would easily have gone through gaps in the infield) – but Ordonez obviously ended up light years away from even Jeter.  The numbers that the first three SSs put up, though, were incredible.  Ah, but Jeter has intangibles…Baloney!  He’s only slightly better than average playing on a great team, a team with a payroll that is $100 million more than the second highest payroll team for the last 10 years.  (I apologize for not taking the time to write these thoughts more coherently – I just want to put the various thoughts down on paper to start the debate.  I’m going to jump from idea to idea.)

I always said that if you put A-Rod on those Yankees teams instead of Jeter, then they may very well have won six or seven or eight championships instead of just five.  So flush your intangibles down the toilet because who knows how they really cut.  Is Jeter a hall of famer?  Sure, he’ll make it.  But only because he plays in New York.  He was not the captain or really even the leader of the Yankees until 2001 – don’t forget Bernie, O’Neill, Tino and others.  No doubt he was an integral part of the team but that doesn’t make you a hall of famer.  A hall of famer should be head and shoulders above his peers who played his position at the time during which he played.  Jeter is simply not there.  Yes, you’re correct if you think he was a border-line all star almost every year he played.  Let’s be real though about his all star appearances – at least one of those and probably two were only because his manager picked him to make the team – sums up Torre’s brilliance putting four SSs on the team one year just so that he can take Jeter without doing an obvious snub to players who were much better than Jeter up to that point in the year.

Like it or not, stats say a lot.  What does Jeter have in comparison to SSs and hitters who played while he played?  3000 hits?  Whoop-dee-doo.  The guy also has a ton of at bats.  According to baseballreference.com, Jeter is #16 on the at bats list for active players.  Jeter is between two and nine years younger than each of the individuals who comprise #s 1-15.  The next youngest is 35 and Jeter will surpass that player’s at bats easily by the time he is 35.  So without getting into a debate about OPS and VORP and WARP and SCHWARTZ, because Yankees fans have pointed to the 3000 hits, I just want to say that that is a joke – he also has tons of at bats.  Yes, he has to be very good to get 3000 hits but he’s not putting up the batting averages that Tony Gwynn put up.  .317 or .315 just doesn’t do it for me today in terms of validating an entry into the hall of fame.  The great play against Oakland when Jeter came from nowhere and threw the ball to the plate – amazing!  But even Ordonez had many of those and a few plays in the field don’t validate an argument about intangibles validating Jeter’s entry into the hall of fame – don’t get carried away by Jeter’s flashiness.

I also love how Yankees fans bashed A-Rod for 10 years but many now love him and insist that they were not the ones who ever hated A-Rod or who ever thought or said Jeter is better than A-Rod.  I think Yankees fans are pathetic for booing A-Rod so quickly when he came to New York.  They wanted him to fail so that their eight or nine years of fighting for Jeter would be validated.  I don’t understand why Jeter didn’t put an arm around A-Rod and ask the fans to stop booing A-Rod last year.  Could it be because Jeter is jealous of the player who is truly great and he is tired of being the third best SS in New York?  Yes.  It exemplified great leadership from a captain not to do everything possible to make the best player in baseball (arguably) comfortable when he joins the team (this sentence was sarcastic if you didn’t realize).  You can take the intangibles and flush them because of that also.

And what’s with Torre?  Brilliant manager…Unless you look at what he did before he joined the team with the highest payroll (BY FAR) in baseball.  And, yes, there is a strong statistical correlation between payroll and wins – not necessarily as clear with championships (because there’s a lot of luck with those) but there is a strong correlation with wins generally.  So stop backing the manager who is taking down your franchise.

So, in sum, let’s stop patting Jeter and Torre on the back.  Seriously, you guys (Yankees fans) are the true heroes.  You are willing to be hijacked by an owner who is brilliant in business and you’re willing to pay a lot of money for tickets or YES network and you made the decision to spend a lot of money to win.  Pat yourselves on the back.  I’m not being sarcastic with that statement.  If you want to win, it’s no big deal to spend an extra $10 or $50 a year as a fan.  I would do it probably.  But stop attributing the brilliance to Jeter, Torre or even Steinbrenner.

OK, let’s go.  Have at Kenny in the comments. 

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25 responses to “Kenny’s Ridiculous Rant

  1. Some of my favorite internal contradictions:

    Kenny on the value of Jeter’s intangibles: Ah, but Jeter has intangibles…Baloney

    Kenny on why A-Rod’s Struggles were Jeter’s fault: It exemplified great leadership from a captain not to do everything possible to make the best player in baseball (arguably) comfortable when he joins the team (this sentence was sarcastic if you didn’t realize).

    So are intangibles baloney or do they matter?

    But you know what my favorite part is? How Kenny so subtly damages his own credibility by not even knowing the most basic things: six or seven or eight championships instead of just five. Actually, the Yankees won 4 World Series Titles in Jeter’s career. Way to know your subject matter, Kenny.

    Next time, do a little research. It may open your eyes.

  2. 🙂 Smile.

  3. “six or seven or eight championships instead of just five. “

    You mean like the 4 he has won since he came to New York with an even better lineup than Jeter played with previously? A-Rod hasn’t exactly been playing for the Royals the last few years when he hasn’t won.

    Are you for real with these arguments? If you attached your educational credentials to that rambling argument of ridiculousness, people would fall out of their chairs in shock.

    Given – A-Rod is the best player in baseball.
    Given – A-Rod has won 0 world series (hopefully to change in the next two months).
    Given – Jeter was at the helm of 4 world series wins (hopefully a 5th shortly), 6 pennants (hopefully a 7th shortly), 10 division titles (hopefully another in the next month… ok, probably not).

    This again, has nothing to do with the numbers which, when compared to other hall of fame members, current players, and even your favorite – Jose Reyes – are clearly amazing. This is simply a rebuttal to the retarded notions that:
    a. A-Rod would have won 6 world series in Jeter’s place; and
    b. That it is somehow not amazing that Jeter won 4.

  4. Derek Jeter is better than A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada, and Rey Ordonez. So said Yankees fans.

    And in hindsight those Yankee fans were wrong with regard to ARod and right about everyone else. Jeter is miles better than Ordonez, much better than Tejeda and Nomar (although had Nomar stayed healthy and at SS he might be right around where Jeter is), and not in ARod’s league.

    I still think Rey Ordonez was amazing defensively – his errors were often committed on plays he had no business even getting close to (i.e., other shortstops would not have had errors on such plays because the balls would easily have gone through gaps in the infield) – but Ordonez obviously ended up light years away from even Jeter.

    Baseball Prospectus disagrees with you, but other defensive metrics might rank Ordonez higher. Anyway he was such a putrid hitter that he never had a shot in the majors.

    Could it be because Jeter is jealous of the player who is truly great and he is tired of being the third best SS in New York?

    You really think Reyes was better than Jeter last season? Are you kidding me?

    And yes we all know that ARod is better than Jeter. So what? He’s better than almost anyone.

  5. “A little more than 10 years ago the debate started. Derek Jeter is better than A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada, and Rey Ordonez. So said Yankees fans.”

    Whether Jeter is better than any of those SS is irrelevant. Two, three, or six shortstops can make it into the HOF if they produce the numbers. And stats in a very short period of time (call it a three year period) typically don’t amount to much in terms of a HOF’ers candidacy. Their histories have shown that shortstops like Ordonez and Nomar have had far from HOF-calibre season. One fizzled out and the other went from being on track to have a HOP-calibre career to being a shortstop that experienced a slew of injuries that will probably have him out of baseball by the time he hits the second half of his fourth decade on this planet, having posted greatly diminished stats since he hit his late 20’s. Tejada seems to be on pace but time will tell whether he has the longevity required to make it – his stats thus far aren’t strong enough to justify a strong HOF candidacy.

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    “I still think Rey Ordonez was amazing defensively – his errors were often committed on plays he had no business even getting close to (i.e., other shortstops would not have had errors on such plays because the balls would easily have gone through gaps in the infield) – but Ordonez obviously ended up light years away from even Jeter.”

    At least you acknowledge the obvious. And if a player has no business making the play, more often than not the official scorer won’t rule the play to be an error, particularly at home and even more particularly when the shortstop is renowned for his defense.

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    “The numbers that the first three SSs put up, though, were incredible.”

    Like I said before, Nomar put up incredible numbers for a time but then got hurt. He no longer puts up incredible numbers and hasn’t for some time. Heck, Nomar doesn’t even play short any more, though this doesn’t really change the argument. Jeter, however, continues to put up incredible numbers.

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    “Ah, but Jeter has intangibles…Baloney! He’s only slightly better than average playing on a great team a team with a payroll that is $100 million more than the second highest payroll team for the last 10 years.”

    Yes, it’s frustrating as all fuck that the Yankees spend about so much more money than their AL East counterparts. Put another $100 million more in the Jays coffers and I swear on my left nut that the team makes it into the playoffs every year too. But c’est la vie – it is what it is – if anything, watching the Jays struggle and try to build a winner with average resources in a city that doesn’t give a rat’s ass is, in its own way, probably more fun than worrying about why the Yankees haven’t won a WS this decade.

    But that has nothing to do with whether or not Jeter is average or above average. Jeter’s stats are incredible. And they are incredible year in and year out. And they seem to be getting better, not worse, relative to his peers.

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    “I always said that if you put A-Rod on those Yankees teams instead of Jeter, then they may very well have won six or seven or eight championships instead of just five. So flush your intangibles down the toilet because who knows how they really cut.”

    Again, not sure what the point is here. Yes, A-Rod is more of a lock for the HOF than is Jeter. And, yes, had the Yankees had A-Rod through A-Rod’s entire career instead of Jeter, they probably would have been better off. But what does that have to do with winning championships? As Billy Beane puts it, the key is getting to the playoffs because once you’re in, the sample size of individual series is so small (relatively speaking), that anything can happen. This is why a team like the Yankees, which were (on paper) the best team in last year’s playoffs, got bounced out in the first round while a team that barely won more than half the games it played ended up winning the World Series.

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    “Is Jeter a hall of famer? Sure, he’ll make it. But only because he plays in New York. He was not the captain or really even the leader of the Yankees until 2001 – don’t forget Bernie, O’Neill, Tino and others.”

    I didn’t realize that a player in his 20’s had to be the team leader in a clubhouse full of tough veterans. Or that leadership is required to be a Hall of Famer.

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    “No doubt he was an integral part of the team but that doesn’t make you a hall of famer. A hall of famer should be head and shoulders above his peers who played his position at the time during which he played. Jeter is simply not there.”

    This might be true but you have only put forth one other player – A-Rod – who has been better than Jeter and has played the same (sort of) position than Jeter has played. Everyone else either hasn’t proven themselves yet or were found wanting over an extended period of time.

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    “Yes, you’re correct if you think he was a border-line all star almost every year he played. Let’s be real though about his all star appearances – at least one of those and probably two were only because his manager picked him to make the team – sums up Torre’s brilliance putting four SSs on the team one year just so that he can take Jeter without doing an obvious snub to players who were much better than Jeter up to that point in the year.”

    What relevance does AS appearances have on a player’s candidacy? Hell, Mark Redman was an All-Star last year! It’s completely subjective to the needs of the manager and the votes of teams with the best attendance.

    ASG appearances – the subjective vote of a bunch of idiots combined with the needs of a manager looking at stats over only half a season – can’t be considered a stat. They’re beyond useless.

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    “Like it or not, stats say a lot. What does Jeter have in comparison to SSs and hitters who played while he played? 3000 hits? Whoop-dee-doo. The guy also has a ton of at bats. According to baseballreference.com, Jeter is #16 on the at bats list for active players. Jeter is between two and nine years younger than each of the individuals who comprise #s 1-15. The next youngest is 35 and Jeter will surpass that player’s at bats easily by the time he is 35.”

    Yes, he has had a lot of at-bats. And, yes, the players hitting in front of him and behind him are better than the protection than most other players have had in the past. But Jeter gets on base at a HOF level so I’m not really sure what you’re saying.

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    “So without getting into a debate about OPS and VORP and WARP and SCHWARTZ, because Yankees fans have pointed to the 3000 hits, I just want to say that that is a joke – he also has tons of at bats.”

    Not sure what you’re saying here, either. I think you’re suggesting that OPS, VORP and other such stats are worthless. Given your fixation on plate appearance, this isn’t a surprise.

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    “Yes, he has to be very good to get 3000 hits but he’s not putting up the batting averages that Tony Gwynn put up. .317 or .315 just doesn’t do it for me today in terms of validating an entry into the hall of fame.”

    Yes, Jeter probably wouldn’t make it into the Hall of Fame of Players Better than Gwynn. And Jeter wouldn’t make it into the Hall of Fame of Players Better than A-Rod. Or Hall of Fame of Players Better than Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Wade Boggs, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb or Whomever. But that’s completely irrelevant. Whether Jeter is a lesser HOFer than Ruth shouldn’t be at question.

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    “I also love how Yankees fans bashed A-Rod for 10 years but many now love him and insist that they were not the ones who ever hated A-Rod or who ever thought or said Jeter is better than A-Rod. I think Yankees fans are pathetic for booing A-Rod so quickly when he came to New York. They wanted him to fail so that their eight or nine years of fighting for Jeter would be validated. I don’t understand why Jeter didn’t put an arm around A-Rod and ask the fans to stop booing A-Rod last year. Could it be because Jeter is jealous of the player who is truly great and he is tired of being the third best SS in New York? Yes. It exemplified great leadership from a captain not to do everything possible to make the best player in baseball (arguably) comfortable when he joins the team (this sentence was sarcastic if you didn’t realize). You can take the intangibles and flush them because of that also.”

    I’m one of the biggest Yankee haters there are out there – and for good reason. Boston fans bitching about the Yankees when they’re spending the second most money on their roster doesn’t really count. But what’s the point of this? I hate A-Rod with a passion. I hated him even more after the whole Howie Clark thing. But I admit that if he became a Jay tomorrow, I’d be his biggest supporter.

    Consider: I was at the Open last night and realized something. I don’t regularly watch tennis or golf because I find it hard to root for other individuals. Their individual success doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as the collective success of the team in which I have invested an emotional interest. I watch tennis to see good tennis, not to see Federer succeed. And that’s why if A-Rod became a Blue Jay, I’d start rooting for him to succeed – rooting hard. Can you honestly disagree with that? If you can, I don’t think it would make you much of a fan of whatever team you like.

    I think you’re right in suggesting that Jeter is jealous that he isn’t the consummate player that A-Rod has become. But so is every other player in the major leagues, so really you’re stating the obvious.

    And whether Jeter is jealous of A-Rod or not or whether Yankee fans are all bandwagon fans who would leave Yankee Stadium empty if the team failed (I believe they would) is irrelevant in determining whether or not he has had a HOF career thus far.

  6. Oh, my, my. It’s responses like Mike’s that I was really hoping for when I posted this. Thank you.

    Oh, and one more thing: I always said that if you put A-Rod on those Yankees teams instead of Jeter, then they may very well have won six or seven or eight championships instead of just five.

    Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true. You can speculate all you want. Fact is, A-Rod has no rings despite being on some great teams (teams better than the 1996 Yankees). Jeter has 4. Try as hard as you want, you can’t take that away from him.

  7. http://suckatsports.blogspot.com/2007/09/darko-i-politely-disagree-with.html

    This is actually funny. Losing to the Heebs is enough to drive anyone nuts, so can you blame ’em?

    Speaking of which, big Euro 2008 qualifying match tomorrow – Israel @ England.

  8. I’m somewhere on the fence in this whole Jeter HOF debate. I strongly agree that he’s been WAY over hyped by the NY media, and that if he were playing in (say) Cleveland, he’d be viewed much like Victor Martinez is now: Good, even very good player, one of the better at his position, good bat/little but improving field, All-Star caliber, but certainly not a superstar.

    Jeter is obviously a good hitter. I don’t think the so-called intangibles matter much either; if you DO think they matter, then he blew it with his inaction last year causing all the anti-ARod strife. I don’t buy into so-called clutch hitting. I think that if you watch him play the field, then watch guys who actually CAN field, he’s not even in the same league.

    So it all comes back to his hitting, which is good, but… he’s also batted with some of the best lineups of the century behind him. He’s had bona fide HOFers and All-Stars right behind him all the time. I know Nephtuli LOVES VORP, but VORP doesn’t measure the quality of the players surrounding you. I’d love to see Jeter’s stats on another team with a lesser lineup – do you really think he gets his typical numbers? Do you think that if you stick a few other decent contact SS’s in the Yankees lineup they don’t have pretty good numbers?

    Jeter is a good player. I don’t know if that makes him a HOFer.

  9. And Torre sucks. I can’t believe that’s up for debate.

  10. Amazingly I actually agree with Ezzie’s first two paragraphs. Jeter has received extra exposure because of the media in the NY (but also because he won four rings). And his defense is somewhere between bad and awful.

    I do disagree with the numbers argument however. First of all there’s very little evidence that protection matters statistically. While a player’s walk rate might increase a bit, I’m not sure the difference is statistically significant.

    Moreover Jeter’s offensive numbers place him 3rd all-time offensively and by a large margin. Even if the lineup did help Jeter, there’s a fairly large gap between him and the rest of the HOF SS. It’s hard to imagine Jeter’s protection mattering that much.

  11. SO funny to hear these arguments. WIth some you guys want to use numbers with others you don’t.

    Fact of the matter is – Jeter and Torre BOTH have Hall of Fame numbers.

    I happen to agree with the notion that Torre is not a good game day manager. In fact, I think he misses Zimmer more than anything. That said – what’s his win-loss record? Playoff appearances? Word Series?

    You can give me your “payroll” and “lineup” argument all you want, but nobody cares. Baseball is a game of numbers.

    You guys keep throwing away numbers because Jeter plays in a ridiculous lineup. A-Rod plays in the same lineup. His numbers are ridiculous.

    Bonds the last few years played in crappy lineups for the most part. You think his number would have been BETTER as a Yankee? You are nuts! Players are what they are. If Jeter was playing in San Francisco or Seattle he’d be hitting .320 with 12 homers and helping them win games. He’d do it for as many years as he is doing it now and by the numbers alone would be a first ballot hall of famer.

    Add in the fact that he’s had the opportunity to play for the Yanks and win some ships and look great doing it – just adds to his legacy, it doesn’t detract.

    Some of you are so blinded by hatred of sucess that it amazes me you are able to find your way out of the house in the morning.

  12. The thing with the arguments that Ezzie and Kenny are making (“Jeter’s overrated”, “Jeter wouldn’t be as good on a bad team”, “he doesn’t overwhelm me” etc.) is that they are completely speculative. When the anti-Jeter argument has to resort to personal opinions and speculation on what he could have or would have been on a different team in a different market, especially in the face of hard evidence and actual statistics, you realize that they are falling back onto an basically an argument that isn’t subject to empirical falsifiction, and is therefore suspect.

    I can’t argue whether Kenny’s ever been overwhelmed and how often. I can’t argue what Jeter would do in KC for his career (other than play six years and sign with the Yankees), because it’s impossible to argue it.

    The fact is, Jeter has strong HOF credentials, not just borderline. All the stats show it.

    If Victor Martinez ends up with 3000 hits, it won’t matter what market he’s coming out of. If he ends up as the 3rd best hitting catcher in history, it won’t matter. And nobody will say something ridiculous like “he’s good, not great.” They’ll say he’s great. Because he will be.

  13. The thing with the arguments that Ezzie and Kenny are making (”Jeter’s overrated”, “Jeter wouldn’t be as good on a bad team”, “he doesn’t overwhelm me” etc.) is that they are completely speculative. When the anti-Jeter argument has to resort to personal opinions and speculation on what he could have or would have been on a different team in a different market, especially in the face of hard evidence and actual statistics, you realize that they are falling back onto an basically an argument that isn’t subject to empirical falsifiction, and is therefore suspect.

    I’m not sure they are completely speculative (at least not Ezzie’s argument). You could look how the average player does in KC’s lineup and then compare it to the average player in the Yankee lineup. It’d be very difficult to do since not too many players went from KC to NY. But it’s possible to measure the overall effects of lineup protection.

    The problem is Ezzie hasn’t done that. We’ve brought some pretty solid evidence to the table and no one has done anything serious to rebut it. And if my above linked article is right, I don’t think it’ll be possible to rebut our arguments.

    And Noyam is right. If Martinez stays at catcher and continues to put up the same numbers for the rest of his career, I’d vote him for the Hall and consider him one of the top catchers to ever play baseball.

  14. You could look how the average player does in KC’s lineup and then compare it to the average player in the Yankee lineup. It’d be very difficult to do since not too many players went from KC to NY.

    ________________________________________________________________

    OK – Nothing’s perfect, but look at it from a perspective of Johnny Damon. Last four years with the Royals, OPS+ of: 88, 98, 116, 117;
    First four years with OAK/BOS: 85, 113, 94, 117.

    Average OPS+ with the Royals: 104.8
    Average OPS+ with the A’s & Sox (good teams): 102.3

    Now, I know you guys are gonna back to me and say something like Damon got hurt or Damon’s best years were behind him or something like that but considering his age (23 – 26 with KC vs 27 – 30 with OAK/BOS), I don’t really think that’s a particularly sound argument.

    Now, let’s look at it for Carlos Beltran (count 2004 as a full year with each team):

    Last four years with the Royals OPS+ of: 119, 108, 126, 136
    First four years with OAK/BOS: 136, 95, 153, 136

    Average OPS+ with the Royals: 122.3
    Average OPS+ with the Mets & Houston: 130

    Granted, Beltran’s numbers are better as a Met/Astro but he was arguably more consistent as a Royal. And his 122.3 average with the Royals is in-line with Jeter’s career average OPS+ of 123, suggesting that he put up the kinds of numbers with the Royals that we would argue would get him into the HOF, if they were replicated over an extended period of time.

    A good hitter will be a good hitter in any lineup. You can come up with any subjective argument that you want – he hits in a better lineup, pitchers are pitching from the stretch more often, he had more fans cheering for him, the chicks he nails are hotter in NYC than they are in a backwater like KC, his uniforms are lighter, whatever. But the argument opens itself up to a bunch of other “subjective” counterarguments – i.e. KC players would have better stats if their hearts were into it knowing that they played for a contender, players have succeeded more before coming to New York where they promptly became busts, etc…

    Subjective is what it is – I prefer to look at the numbers. And yes, there are morons that have HOF votes that vote subjectively. These voters will almost certainly vote with the hearts and not with the stats – if they like players that played for championship teams, they’ll vote for Jeter, if they think that his stats are padded because of the lineup, then they won’t.

  15. If you look at Beltran’s or Damon’s stats in the years immediately before they left KC, you’ll notice that there’s not much that difference in terms of production between the two periods.

    I looked at the OPS+ in the four year periods before and after leaving. Damon was better in KC (marginally) while Beltran was better after leaving KC but a) put up numbers in KC that would be HOF-worthy had he continue to put them up in KC for an extended period of time and b) the numbers were more consistent in KC than in HOU/NYM (tighter band of OPS+ range).

    This can defuse the argument that a great player is only great in certain lineups. I’m sure that there are certain voters who subjectively will only vote for a player if the player played for a championship team. But there are other voters who will probably take your argument’s side and not vote for Jeter.

    Consider: the least knowledgeable, biggest dumbass in Toronto’s baseball media circles is head of the Toronto BBWA chapter. This is a guy that judges pitchers solely by their win-loss record. He has a HOF vote.

  16. oh, whoops – i didn’t realize that my first post made it up there.

  17. Mike,

    Your first comment was caught by the spam filter, but I noticed and re-instated it.

  18. Ezzie sounds like a very smart guy. I think Yankees fans have to stop putting up the protective fences whenever they hear someone speak against Derek Jeter. Everyone in the Jeter camp in these posts wants to point to Jeter’s stats. I don’t care as much about longevity as I do about real dominance in picking HOFers. Thus, don’t give me career stats. I’ll ask you a simple question – share your thoughts, please: Are the numbers that he’s putting up this year HOF-caliber in your opinion? In my opinion, they are not even close so unless he’s had many individual years in which his stats were considerably better, I wouldn’t put him in the HOF based on stats.

  19. Are you for real? Your arguments get worse and worse.

    Name one shortstop, or player for that matter who hit .320 over his career and is not in the hall of fame. Of course his numbers are hall of fame numbers. Any player who put together enough seasons with those numbers would be a hall of famer – you know why? Because there are so few who do it…

    No player gets in based on one year, it’s ALL about longevity and consistency. Look at Don Mattingly. He was best player in baseball, but only for a few years. Had he been the 5th best player in baseball for 12 years or so, he’d be in no question – longevity.

  20. How many times do I have to say this? I’M NOT A YANKEE FAN! I DON’T LIKE DEREK JETER!To be sure, when Ken Huckaby slid hard into Jeter and took him out early in the season a few years back, I was quite happy with the fact that one of the best hitters on the Yankees would be out for an extended period of time.

    The ultimate measure for a HOFer to make it has been longevity – not what a player can do over a 5 year period but what the player does over a 15 year period. Sure, there have been exceptions to the rule: Koufax had possibly the greatest five seasons in the history of the game and Jackie Robinson benefitted from the uniqueness of his situation and the fact that he didn’t become a major leaguer until he was 28. But these were exceptions to the rule.

    And there is no question that if Jeter replicated this year’s stats every year for the length of a 20-year career – .318/.388/.821 with an OPS+ of 122, he would make it into the HOF. None whatsoever. Only three shortstops in history – Hornsby, Wagner, and Arky Vaughan – had a career OPS+ higher than Jeter’s. And Jeter is marginally a weaker hitter this year than he has been over the course of his career.

    You base your argument on nothing. You don’t disprove anything anyone else has argued against your weak positions because you can’t. You don’t want to look at tangibles like stats – the conventional tool that EVERYONE who has EVER followed, studied, or written about baseball uses to determine a player’s worth and you want to discount the intagibles – i.e. anything good the guy has ever done – on the fact that he plays for the Yankees.

    So answer this: what do you think a player needs to do to make it into the HOF? Does a guy like Robbie Alomar deserve induction?

    I just don’t get it. Just admit that you have no argument, dude.

  21. People have been upset (latest one is Mike above) that I won’t address the stats point. Noam keeps telling me to focus on the “newer” stats. Don’t take my silence as an admission that I can’t argue the stats with you. When I look at Jeter’s stats for this year, frankly, I’m looking at his batting average, OBP, runs, rbis, doubles, triples, homers, SLG – the regular items that are on an everyday-type stat sheet. As a math guy, Noam swears that I would love to read more about the new stats. My problem: That stuff takes time. I feel like I can get a sense of how a player is playing with the traditional stats. And I guarantee you that as a lawyer and a math guy I can find or twist stats to make an argument that Jeter doesn’t deserve it based on the sabermetric new stats. I just know that we’ll end up in the same place so why spend the time. Maybe I should just spend the time at some point to silence the critics. I can guarantee, though, that the stats will not be dispositive. Every stat has flaws. Spewing some numbers doesn’t prove your point. I watch Jeter enough and follow the box scores every day. Based on that, I make my argument. That said, if you need stats, maybe I’ll take the time eventually.

  22. I (and the rest of us that point to these stats) think strongly otherwise: you would not, in fact, be able to use SABRmetrics to show Jeter as unfit for the hall. That’s exactly the point. The reason we keep urging you to try? Perhaps because once you do try, and fail, perhaps you will begin to see reason.

    Until then, your argument has nothing to stand on except your assertions that in your eyes (very scout-trained, i’m sure) he just doesn’t seem worthy. Please pardon us for being skeptical of that argument.

    In terms of logical flaws, as you keep trying to dance around the stats, you ignore something. When you say you look at his “OBP … doubles, triples, homers, SLG” what you’re essentially saying is that you look at his OPS. That’s one of the stat’s we’ve been pointing to. So, great, we agree. Let’s use OPS. He’s got the fourth highest OPS ever for a SS. How do you respond to that?

    Or you want to throw Batting Average into that, with “OBP … doubles, triples, homers, SLG.” OK, that’s EqA. You want to use EqA? Fine, he’s got that too. Your rejection of the so-called “newer” stats is meaningless, because they are just representations of the stats you admit to wanting to use.

    Only runs and RBI, two heavily lineup dependent (which you insist on using despite the oxymoronic counter claim of his lineup dependency….wouldn’t it make more sense for you to want to discount inflated stats?) stats aren’t included. And even so, when it’s all said and done, he could easily be 10th on the all-time runs list. That’s not good enough for you? Except for 2003, when he played in 40 fewer games than normal because of injury (and still scored 87 runs) he’s had 100 or more runs in every season of his MLB career (and he will again this year). That’s not impressive enough?

    Sorry, Kenny, until you actually DO come up with some stats that support your point even a little bit (like I said, I don’t think you can, despite your semantic “guarantee” that you can) you lose this one, and you lose it badly.

  23. When I look at Jeter’s stats for this year, frankly, I’m looking at his batting average, OBP, runs, rbis, doubles, triples, homers, SLG – the regular items that are on an everyday-type stat sheet…. I feel like I can get a sense of how a player is playing with the traditional stats.

    Let’s leave aside the fact you barely looked at any of those stats in your post. Basically those stats, while useful, are not the best indicator of whether a player is “good,” “the best,” or worthy of admission to the Hall.

    Somewhere between 25-30 years ago, people started taking a serious look into what makes a baseball team successful. Analyzing the various statistics, they looked for links between specific numbers and winning. One thing they noticed is that, almost universally, winning teams had a high OBP. They reasoned that there was a correlation between winning and a high team OBP. They concluded that successful teams are the teams that get on base the most. The second most common feature was a high SLG. Teams that hit for power also tended to do well. In other words, OBP and SLG were, by far, the best indicators of a team’s success. Better than batting average, home runs, stolen bases, runs, and RBIs.

    These analysts reasoned that if successful teams are those which get on base the most, the most valuable players are the ones with the highest OBP. If getting on base is the single most important component of a winning team, a smart team should look for players who make the least outs. Those players are the most valuable. Obviously not all teams have figured this out yet, but that’s to their detriment.

    What makes a player “good?” A good player is one who is valuable. The “best” player on a team is the one who is the most valuable to that team. Value is best determined by looking at a player’s OBP first, then SLG, and then going to other stats. This is true whether looking at the MVP race or trying to figure out who should make the Hall.

    While this strategy makes sense, people soon realized some obvious flaws. Some players play in great hitters parks, while others hit in stadiums with huge outfields. Moreover some players played in eras with dominant pitching or rules that tilted the game towards pitching. For example, in 1968 Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title with a .301 batting average. In 1930, the mean batting average was .301. Obviously Yastrzemski was much more valuable to his team in 1968 than the average player was in 1930. Therefore OPS (OBP + SLG) is greatly flawed when comparing players from different eras, and sometimes even players from the same era.

    That’s where OPS+ comes in. It takes into account stadium and league differences and calculates the player’s OPS in relation to the rest of the players in the league. For example a player with a OPS+ of 120 has an OPS that is 20% better than the average player in his league, taking into account ballpark advantages/disadvantages. OPS+ is very useful because it allows us to compare Derek Jeter to, say, Honus Wagner even though the latter played in the dead ball era when no one hit home runs or slugged at a very high percentage.

    While OPS+ is a major improvement over OPS, it suffers from similar flaws. OPS+ does not take into account positional value. Sabermetics assume that the further down one gets on the defensive spectrum, the more valuable the player is, everything else being equal.

    Here’s an example. Take a look at a regular baseball team. Let’s use the Mets. How many Mets starters (excluding pitcher) could play 1B adequately (not average, but good enough that his defense isn’t so atrocious that it greatly outweighs his offensive contributions)? I would guess all 8. How many could play LF? Probably everyone except Delgado. What about RF? Again probably everyone besides Delgado. What about 3B? Here’s where the biggest drop off occurs. Obviously Wright, probably Reyes and Castillo, and with enough practice, maybe Lo Duca. What about SS? Reyes and that’s probably it. Maybe Wright could figure it out or Castillo in his prime could be decent. But that’s it.

    That’s the point. SS consistently rank at the bottom or next to the bottom offensively. The average 1B is a much better offensive player than the average SS. A team could increase its offensive output tremendously by playing an average 1B at SS. Why don’t teams do that? Well let’s ask why don’t the Cardinals play Pujols at SS and find a league average 1B to take his place? Because he would be so bad defensively that the offensive improvement from a league average SS to a league average 1B would be negated and then some.

    Basically only a few select players can play SS, while almost anyone in the majors can play 1B. So everything else being equal, if two players have same numbers but one plays 1B and the other SS, the latter is more valuable because he can play a prime defensive position.

    OPS+ doesn’t take this problem into account. It equates a SS with a 120 OPS+ with a 1B with the same OPS+. The two are not equally valuable.

    Another major problem is that OPS+, like OPS, overvalues SLG relative to OBP. As I showed earlier, OBP is the statistic more closely correlated with winning and is the more important statistic. Equating OBP and SLG by simply adding them up does not paint an accurate picture of value.

    EQA takes into account the latter problem by weighing OBP more than SLG, while VORP and WARP3 adjust for positional differences. That’s why despite David Ortiz’s power being down this season, his EQA is the highest of his career (his OBP is much higher than in past years). It’s also why Hanley Ramirez is second in VORP (behind ARod), even though Prince Fielder has a higher OPS+. WARP3 tries to take into account defense as well, and is probably the most comprehensive statistic available (although it’s not without its share of flaws).

    These statistics are far more advanced and useful than batting average or RBI. They remove a lot of the subjectivity that plagues baseball analysis. Rather then simply looking at a player and saying “eh, .317 average and only 200 homers, that’s not great” they allow you to compare Jeter to other players and especially SS of other eras. And Jeter clearly stacks up to those guys.

  24. All those numbers, acronyms and stats were confusing.

    I don’t like Jeter. He plays for the Yankees. I don’t like the Yankees. They pay more money to their players than any other team does and win all the time. In fact, I watch Jeter beat the teams I like all the time.

    Therefore, Jeter should not make it into the Hall of Fame.

    Argue with that!

  25. hahahaha… good argument Mike. Sounds exactly like Kenny’s. Irrationality like that is tough to argue with. Therefore, you win!

    Nephtuli, you make too much sense to be right. You spent too much time formulating FACTS and NUMBERS that are LOGICAL, RATIONAL, and RELEVANT. You can yap all you want about production and statistics and baseball ability but you will not convince those blinded by ridiculousness of anything.

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