Jeter Still Viable

Derek Jeter has been playing very well as of late and remains a viable fantasy option.

Analysis: Jeter has 12 hits, 5 runs batted in and 3 stolen bases in his last ten games. Over the last month of the season Jeter is the 4th rated fantasy shortstop. He has five of his six stolen bases in the last month as he continues to improve his fantasy numbers. He is hitting just .273 this season but that mark is actually 8th best among big league shortstops. We know he is capable of posting a .280 plus batting average by season’s end.

The big red flag with Jeter is obviously the power. He ranks 22nd among shortstops in slugging percentage. He only has 2 home runs this season but he still ranks among the top 20 of shortstops in RBI, runs and stolen bases in addition to his strong(for a shortstop) batting average.

Do not underestimate what Jeter can do…. which is hit for average, get on base and swipe some bags. He is in a playoff chase and I highly doubt that he underperforms. Derek Jeter is available in 55-70% of fantasy leagues.

Selling High- Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is hitting .348 with 5 HR and 3 SB this year. On the surface this appears to be a great line, however, these numbers are a bit inflated.

Analysis: Jeter’s five home runs is perhaps the biggest surprise considering he only hit six bombs in 131 games last year. Jeter’s HR/FB rate is at 21.7% this year, a career high and 9.2% above his career average. His home run total should not be above eleven or twelve by season’s end. Let’s move on to his .348 batting average. Jeter’s BABIP is over .370 this year and about twenty points above his career average. We also have to take into account that as the season wears on the thirty-seven year old, his stolen base numbers will start to taper off. Eleven and not eighteen steals is what Jeter will wind up with. His stolen base totals have declined in each of the last two years and he’s only stolen more than twenty bags once over the past five years.

Jeter’s run total is his true strength outside of his batting average and that run total will be there for you at the end of the season, but 14 HR or 14 SB will not. Regardless of his inflated stats, his name alone should be enough to sell high on.

It’s time to buy low on Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter had arguably the worst season of his career at the plate in 2010. His .270  batting average was 40 points below his career average, his 10 home runs tied for the fewest in a season, his slugging percentage was the lowest of his career, and he struck out the most times since 2005. His advanced metrics were down too. His BABIP was a career-low, as was his runs created per-game and line-drive percentage. He also led the league in outs created.

So it’s a great time to buy low on the New York Yankee captain.

Analysis: Jeter can still hit. His batting average from 2005-2009 was .322, 50 points better than 2010. If Girardi has any sense, he’ll lead off with Brett Gardner and let Jeter hit 2nd. Jeter has made an adjustment to his swing from last season which will hopefully help his strikeout numbers.

Beyond the top three shortstops (Ramirez, Tulowitzki, and Reyes), there are nothing but question marks. Jeter will hit atop baseball’s most potent lineup, and has all the skills to bounce back from a sub-par year.

What’s encouraging is Jeter’s contact percentage in 2010 was the same as his career average, but his BABIP was 50 points lower than his career average, meaning he was a victim of bad luck more than anything else. If his stats normalize to their career averages in 2011, Jeter should far exceed his 6th round draft status. He’s currently going for only $25 in auction drafts, and can easily outperform that value.

Projection: .311 / 14 home runs / 70 RBI’s / 22 steals / 110 runs scored

What do you think? Will Jeter bounce back from the worst season of his career? Or is he finally on the way down?

Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner Have Something Special In Common

Derek Jeter has both a new stride and a new contract in his old roles as leadoff hitter and The Captain, while Brett Garner continues to mature at the bottom of the Yankee batting order.

Analysis: One has Menka Kelly, an apartment in Trump Tower, and an English Manor house in Florida. The other is the son of a South Carolina Low Country tomato farmer, who couldn’t get past the walk-on cut in college try outs, yet he wouldn’t take no as an answer, showing up uninvited the next day in his old high school uniform. Ten seasons later Gardner is firmly planted in left field in the Bronx and at the bottom of the batting order. Jeter will achieve a pinstriped milestone- 3,000 hits this season. Many sabermetricians feel Gardner will regress this season, as they feel his BABIP in 2010 indicates his batting average will dip in 2011 and thus most likely his stolen bases as well. Some of those same experts say The Captain has lost too much to contribute at the top of the batting order. Yet it is common place for great hitters at the end of their careers to make little tweaks in their swings to prolong their role as impact players on their teams. Never bet against either of these players. What they have in common and is often over-looked is talent as defined by the estimable Joe Posnanski – “talent just might be what we call hunger, the unquenchable desire…”

We do agree with the expert Bill James on these lines in 2011:

Jeter 703 13 101 68 17 0.295 0.365
Gardner 589 5 101 46 50 0.275 0.377

If the top and the bottom of the Yankee batting order account for a total of 202 runs and 67 stolen bases, then don’t worry about the championship quality of the Yankee offense. The Yankees will make the play-offs in 2011 if they have 3/4s of that kind of success 60 feet 6 inches from home plate.