Did You Know? – Derek Jeter and Red Sox Shortstops

Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury

Last week, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that he would retire at the end the 2014 baseball season after 20 years in baseball. The Yankees captain and future first ballot Hall of Fame candidate has been a fixture in the New York lineup since 1996, playing an average of 144 games per season; that figure jumps to 153 if you discount his injury-plagued 2013 campaign in which he managed just 17 games due to injury.

His career appearances at shortstop is by and far the most by a player in a Yankees uniform; Phil Rizzuto is a distant second with 1647 appearances, while Frankie Crosetti is third with 1516. He has also played the most games of anyone in a Yankees uniform, 2602, which is over 200 more than the great Mickey Mantle.

In contrast, over the same time period, the shortstop position has been remarkably fluid for the Boston Red Sox, especially since 2004 when the team traded away perennial All-Star Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline. Since 2005, no player has held that role for longer than two seasons and only one player has started at least 150 games in a single season.

The following is a season-by-season comparison of Jeter’s statistics, including adjusted OPS (OPS+), range factor per nine innings (RF/9), which measures the average number of outs in which a player participated over nine innings, and wins above replacement (WAR). All statistics are compiled from Baseball-Reference.com.

Year G GS OPS+ RF/9 WAR
1996 157 156 101 4.52 3.3
1997 159 159 103 4.45 4.9
1998 149 148 127 4.25 7.5
1999 158 158 153 4.00 8.0
2000 148 148 128 4.12 4.6
2001 150 150 124 3.81 5.1
2002 157 156 111 3.81 3.7
2003 119 118 125 3.74 3.5
2004 154 154 114 4.46 4.2
2005 159 157 125 4.76 3.8
2006 154 149 132 4.14 5.5
2007 156 153 121 4.02 3.9
2008 150 147 102 4.05 3.0
2009 153 147 125 3.90 6.6
2010 157 150 90 3.78 1.8
2011 131 121 100 3.61 0.9
2012 159 133 114 3.76 2.2
2013 17 13 51 4.10 -0.7

In comparison, the following is a list of Red Sox players who have made the most starts at short by season since 1996.

Player Year G GS OPS+ RF/9 WAR
John Valentin 1996 131 117 104 4.67 3.1
Nomar Garciaparra 1997 153 152 123 4.68 6.6
Nomar Garciaparra 1998 143 143 140 4.52 7.1
Nomar Garciaparra 1999 135 133 153 4.52 6.6
Nomar Garciaparra 2000 140 136 156 4.58 7.4
Mike Lansing 2001 106 71 77 4.09 0.1
Nomar Garciaparra 2002 156 153 127 4.61 6.8
Nomar Garciaparra 2003 156 155 121 4.43 6.1
Pokey Reese 2004 96 58 46 4.88 1.3
Edgar Renteria 2005 153 150 89 4.35 1.4
Alex Gonzalez 2006 111 110 75 4.36 1.1
Julio Lugo 2007 147 139 65 4.21 0.6
Julio Lugo 2008 82 79 79 3.70 0.1
Nick Green 2009 104 74 72 4.22 0.1
Marco Scutaro 2010 150 131 92 3.83 2.6
Marco Scutaro 2011 113 102 110 4.03 2.7
Mike Aviles 2012 136 123 77 4.68 0.2
Stephen Drew 2013 124 122 111 4.18 3.1

In terms of offensive value, Jeter has by far had better numbers in terms of adjusted OPS when compared to his Boston counterpart, made even more noticeable since Garciaparra’s departure. The high water mark for the Red Sox since 2004 was last season, when Drew posted an OPS+ of 111, just slightly better than Scutaro’s 110 in 2011.

In terms of defensive value, Jeter has rarely posted numbers much better than his Red Sox counterpart in terms of range factor per nine. Only twice in the past 18 seasons has Jeter posted a better average than his Boston counterpart.

Overall, Jeter’s wins above replacement, which measures both offensive and defensive value, have been considerably better; only two Red Sox shortstops have posted a WAR better than 2.0 — again, Drew (2013) and Scutaro (2010 and 2011).

Author: fenfan

Red Sox fan, weekend web developer, needs sleep badly