By In Stuff

Missing Dexter

From Medium

Baseball, like life, moves pretty fast. Nobody should know this better than Ferris Bueller’s favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. Six weeks ago, the Cubs were considered all-but unbeatable, Las Vegas’ darling for another World Series victory, a brash young team on the brink of a dynasty. Every other day, it seemed, they were celebrating themselves, raising banners, flashing rings, enjoying the king’s life.

And now, let’s be honest, they’re kind of a mess.

You expect it to turn, of course. We’re not even a quarter of the way into the season. You expect Kyle Schwarber to hit better than .179, and Anthony Rizzo to slug higher than .380. You expect Jake Arrieta to start getting people out again, and that the Cubs defense will start making a difference like it did last year. Baseball’s long season, more often than not, does the trick of smoothing out small bumps and potholes.

BUT … you have to say that the Cubs are showing surprising but very real weaknesses at the moment. And if you had to pick one specific reason why, yep, it sure looks like it comes down to the loss of Dexter Fowler.

The Cubs were sad to see Fowler go, of course, but not sad enough to shell out $83 million. You couldn’t blame them. Fowler is 31 with skills that probably will not age especially well. The Chicago brain trust — not without reason — felt pretty confident that they could replace Fowler’s skills. They had young Albert Almora Jr. to play centerfield and replace Fowler’s defense. And they had Kyle Schwarber to be an unconventional but awesome leadoff hitter, replacing Fowler’s presence at the top of the lineup.

We’re only 37 games in but so far … not too good. Almora’s defense has been uninspiring so far. By Statcast™ numbers, he has only made one three-star catch so far this year (and no four- or five-star catches). He’s solid and the Cubs defense is solid. But the defense last year wasn’t just solid, it was spectacular. They took hits away. They saved a bunch of runs. Fowler was not the team’s best defender or even the team’s best outfielder. But he was good, he anchored the best defensive outfield in baseball. Almora is a gifted player but he’s not changing games just yet.

And the Schwarber thing has been kind of a fiasco so far. Schwarber is an interesting case study. He has done amazing things in the big leagues — like just showing up for the World Series after missing the whole year and hitting .412 — but you wonder if that has confused people into thinking that Schwarber is an amazing player. You hear people, when talking about the Cubs, just mash Schwarber in there with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and such.

Well, he’s not there yet, not even close to there. Kyle Schwarber has only played in 106 big league games, and he has a lifetime .219 batting average. He’s a below average runner. He’s a borderline unplayable outfielder. Yes, you fully expect him to be a force with the bat, but he isn’t yet. The Cubs insist on continuing to lead him off but right now he’s an out. He’s zero for his last 16, and he hasn’t had a three-hit game since August of 2015.

Nothing that Schwarber, Almora or the Cubs in general have done so far this year is necessarily predictive of the rest of the season. Let’s just point out that the 1975 Cincinnati Reds, one or the greatest teams in baseball history, started the year 18–19, the precise record of the Cubs right now. The only real point is that last year, for the most part, things went right for the Cubs. They led the division more or less from start to finish. They had dominant pitching, and otherworldly defense, and plenty of offense. It was, by baseball standards, a pretty easy run.

But live moves pretty fast. And this year, it’s trickier.


Tango Win Alert

Yes, that Washington Nationals bullpen is bad. In a Sunday doubleheader against Philadelphia, they flat blew the first game — the Nats led 3–1 going into the ninth inning when Shawn Kelley gave up a homer, back-to-back doubles and a walk. He then gave way to Koda Glover, who promptly gave up the go-ahead single. Kelley at this point has given up six home runs in 11 innings.

Then, in the second game, the bullpen tried to blow it again. Max Scherzer pitched six grueling innings. It wasn’t easy — he gave up nine hits, struck out eight and took a line drive off the knee. This was yeoman’s work as well as Floyd Youmans’ work. Scherzer left the game with a 4–3 lead.

Now, as you know, leaving with a 4–3 lead guaranteed that Scherzer could not LOSE the game. That’s already in the rules. But if you’ve been following along here, you might know that Tom Tango has suggested a subtle rule change stating that Scherzer would be GUARANTEED THE WIN if the Nationals went on to win the game. That is to say that even if the Nationals gave up the lead, took it back, gave it up again, took it back again, gave it up again and so on until finally winning, Scherzer would not be tangoed out of his victory. It’s logical, simple and in every situation I can find justified.

In this game, the Nationals bullpen gave up Scherzer’s lead. Well, of course they did. Matt Grace walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth on four pitches. He was replaced by Jacob Turner, who walked the first man he faced — though at least that was a tough eight-pitch at-bat. Turner then gave up a two-run triple to Freddy Galvis. That took the victory away from Scherzer.

The Nationals took the lead back on Michael Taylor’s two-run homer.

That, yes, you guessed it, set up Jacob Turner to tango the victory.

Tom Tango’s rule change does not solve all the problems of the pitcher win statistic, not by a long shot. But it does good, and it is so simple people would hardly know the difference. Well, Max Scherzer would know the difference.


A few words on Jeter

 Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 10.20.02 AM.png

There’s something weird about great New York athletes. They are, of course, hyped beyond all reason. For the last week or so, it was pretty much impossible to avoid the Derek Jeter retired jersey hype. It was so overbearing that at some point, I became convinced that society was actually retiring the number 2 from all walks of life. We will start going, “1, 3, 4, 5 …”

We will change the expression from “as simple as two plus two equals four” to “as simple as Jeter plus Jeter equals awesome double-Jeter.”

Pooping from this point forward will be known as №3.

I mean, this is from the Wikipedia page about the Number 2*:

*I tweeted this out — apparently shortly after that some Jeter loather jumped into Wikipedia to take it out.

All this and yet … Derek Jeter never won an MVP award. It’s really kind of a crazy thing because Jeter has been so celebrated, so absurdly canonized (It was the over-the-top Jeter love that, almost a decade ago, motivated me to coin the word “Jeterate.”). And yet, the guy was jobbed out of THREE MVP awards by my count.

In 1998, he lost to the MVP vote to Juan Gonzalez and I have to say that I still don’t understand it. Back then — and this continues somewhat now — voters chose players not only based on their own success but also based on how good their team was. Well, Derek Jeter was the best player on a Yankees team that won 114 games.

Not only that: Gonzalez had already won a dubious MVP award two years earlier — the voters have always spread things around.

Not only that: Jeter was a WAY MORE VALUABLE PLAYER than Gonzalez, whose entire case was home runs and RBIs. Jeter got on base more, was a much better base runner, was a dramatically better fielder at a more important position and so on and so on. That should not have been close. And it wasn’t close. Gonzalez won the award going away. Heck Jeter finished third in the voting, behind Nomar Garciaparra.

The very next year, Jeter has the highest WAR among everyday players in the American League. He was crazy good — .349/.438/.552 splits with a league leading 219 hits, 134 runs scored, 102 RBIs, it was a ridiculously awesome season for a team that, yet again, ran away with the division. Jeter finished SIXTH in the MVP voting. Now, really, that MVP should have gone to Pedro Martinez. But it did not. It went to Pudge Rodriguez. There is no way Pudge — great as he was defensively and with 35 homers added on — was as valuable as Jeter in 1999.

And then, the most famous snub, 2006, he lost the MVP to Justin Morneau. Again: Kind of inexplicable. Jeter had 40 points of on-base percentage on Morneau, scored 20 more runs, was way better on the bases and, though he had a rough year defensively, he was still a shortstop to Morneau’s first base.

Three times Jeter was demonstrably better than the guy who won the MVP award. Could it be that the guy who was basically given the number 2 by the world at last last week was actually UNDERRATED in his career?


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24 Responses to Missing Dexter

  1. Ed says:

    Jeter still didn’t deserve the 2006 MVP, though. I know your point is that he finished second and was better than the person who finished first, but there were several other guys who had better seasons than Jeter that year.

    • Scott says:

      Santana should have won that year, and it wasn’t even close. He led the league in wins, ERA, IP and strikeouts, along with nearly every advanced pitching statistic. His WAR (7.6) was almost a full win more than the next closest player (Jeter was at 5.5). And he finished 7th! Not winning the MVP in 2006 and 2004 (when he also deserved it) might cost him the hall of fame.

  2. invitro says:

    You know, Joe… Fowler has a 0.2 WAR so far in 2017. Almora has a 0.4. Unless I’m missing something, losing Fowler has actually helped the Cubs, not hurt them. Your analysis seems to be a classic case of attributing the entire change in a team’s record to the addition or loss of a player, without looking any deeper.

    Schwarber has certainly been awful. His -0.8 WAR is the 11th-worst among all hitters. Zobrist, Baez, and Rizzo are all way off their 2016 performances. Montero is doing far below what Ross did. If you compare the players at the same positions between 2016 and 2017, Schwarber/Soler is the biggest dropoff, and I’d guess Rizzo is next, then Zobrist, then then Baez, then Fowler/Almora.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Outside of Kris Bryant, the entire starting lineup is terrible. Rizzo .213/.351/.383, Baez .236/.275/.445, Schwarber .179/.313/.343, Russell .226/.295/.353, etc….As a team, they’re hitting .236/.324/.392. Arrietta has a 5+ ERA, their 5th starter has an ERA of 8+.

      If Fowler was tearing up the league, which he is not, that still wouldn’t makeup for the awfulness of the rest of the lineup. I will grant that a good leadoff hitter, on base regularly, sets up the rest of the hitters for RBIs and forces the pitcher into higher stress situations. But to your point, Fowler isn’t exactly that guy right now.

    • Casey Bell says:

      Fowler’s value to the Cubs was tremendous. With him, they were the 1927 Yankees. From July 28, 2015 thru the end of the 2016
      season, the Cubs went 137-59 (.699 win pct) with a healthy Fowler on the team. This excludes the 29 games that Fowler missed due to injury from Jun 19 thru July 21 last year, during which the Cubs floundered, winning just 11 0f 29 games (.379).

      And of course, this year, without Fowler, the Cubs are struggling, though I’m pretty sure they’ll still win 90 games
      and make the playoffs. Based on won-lost records though, the Cubs WITH Dexter Fowler were a much better team than they have
      been without him.

      • invitro says:

        It’s undeniable that the Cubs were better with Fowler than they’ve been without him, but there are surely several players you could say that about. Jorge Soler, for one. Do you think a major reason why the Cubs have been struggling is because they lost Soler? Did losing Soler cause Rizzo & the rest of the lineup to have a rotten start, like you’re suggesting that losing Fowler did?

  3. ZekeBob says:

    Didn’t A-Rod deserve the ’98 MVP? Per Baseball Reference, he had the same dWar at the same position, and while he only has .4 more oWar it seems inarguable that he was a lot more dangerous at the plate – 82 multi-base hits to 53 for Jeter, and 384 total bases (2 more than Gonzalez even) compared to 301 for Jeter. Not to mention Rodriguez played in 12 more games.

    While I was looking into this, I couldn’t help puzzling over how low Gonzalez’s oWar came out to be: 5.1. His home and away splits were very close (the only difference seemed to be his batter’s eye was better at home, more walks & less K’s), so it didn’t really look like a park benefit. I mean, 50 doubles, 45 homers, and .997 OPS. For comparison, fellow right fielder Paul O’Neill had a comparable 4.7 oWar with a more meager line of 40 doubles, 24 homers, and .882 OPS (he trailed Gonzalez by 75 total bases).

    • invitro says:

      Most of the disconnect is that you’re looking really only at slugging, while OBP is known to be worth about twice as much as slugging. Juan Gone’s .366 OBP is lower than O’Neill’s .372 and Jeter’s .384. Next, Texas had a (multi-year) park factor of 104, the Yankees had 97. Next, Juan had only 115 games in RF, with 38 games at DH. Next, Juan had a +2 Rfield, O’Neill had +4, and Jeter had +4. Jeter gains another 5 runs over Juan for GIDP. It’s a lot of little things, but they add up. Juan was better at HR and 2B, the other guys were better at everything else.

  4. First, on Fowler, a thought from Bill Veeck. He told the story of paying $100,000 for a pitcher from the Browns in 1948 when the Indians looked like they might win the pennant. Veeck said there’s no way Sam Zoldak, as a pitcher, was worth that money. But he was worth that money to a Cleveland club trying to win a World Series. I wonder at times if that should be the yardstick.

    As to Jeter, he may be the most overrated underrated player in baseball history–or the most underrated overrated one. I haven’t figured it out yet. We can cite WAR and a lot of other great stats. But he was in the right place to make that catch and throw. That may be enough.

    But to something far more important. Steve Palermo was a great umpire (I have no doubt that, given the longer career he would have had if not for that night in Texas, he would be the next umpire in Cooperstown) but an even greater man. It’s a sad day, indeed.

  5. Rob Smith says:

    I think what irks me about Jeter is that, using his stats, he’s a HOFer. But that’s not enough for the media. If you look at JAWS, he’s 12th all time for shortstops. Right behind Alan Trammell, who should be a HOFer, and just before Barry Larkin, another HOFer. And there are several HOFers behind him. So, he’s an “average” HOF SS. That is to say, a really, really good shortstop.

    But you hear talk about Jeter becoming a unanimous selection to the HOF. A 1st ballot HOFer for sure, which he will undoubtedly get. But his stats really don’t back any of that up. He’s not Honus Wagner, or Cal Ripken or ARod. He’s not Ernie Banks or even Arky Vaughn. He compares nicely to Luke Appling. So it would be nice if he was inducted into the HOF without any discussion of him being one of the greatest all time shortstops. I know that won’t happen though.

    • Bryan says:

      Seasons with minimum 100 games at SS since 1953 (Banks’ entire career included, ignores Honus to Pee Wee):
      5+ WAR (without games at SS requirement):
      10 – Ozzie Smith
      8 – Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken
      7 – Alex Rodriguez (11)
      6 – Nomar Garciaparra, Alan Trammell, Ernie Banks
      5 – Troy Tulowitzki (6), Derek Jeter, Robin Yount (7), Jim Fregosi
      *
      7+ WAR only for the players above, still 100+ games at SS (without games at SS requirement):
      6 – Alex Rodriguez (9)
      4 – Cal Ripken, Ernie Banks
      3 – Robin Yount
      2 – Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Barry Larkin, Jim Fregosi
      1 – Ozzie Smith, Alan Trammell
      0 – Troy Tulowitzki
      *
      3+ WAR only for the players above, still 100+ games at SS (without games at SS requirement):
      14 – Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken (15), Ozzie Smith
      11 – Alan Trammell (13)
      9 – Barry Larkin (12)
      8 – Alex Rodriguez (17), Jim Fregosi
      7 – Robin Yount (11), Ernie Banks (9)
      6 – Troy Tulowitzki (7), Nomar Garciaparra
      *
      As a SS, Jeter has longevity while Banks has peak. If you ignore the CF part of his career, Yount is more similar to Nomar than Jeter. Jeter and Trammell are similar but Jeter has another 734 post-season PA with .838 OPS (.817 career OPS) while Trammell has a great 1984 complete with a Ring and WS MVP but only a disappointing 1987 to go with that, sure opportunity is a huge factor but the essentially extra season for Jeter did happen and is something for voters to consider.
      *
      Cal is basically Jeter + defense, even has a similar level of fame. A-Rod was so good at SS, there is basically only a PED based argument to rate Jeter higher even if you ignore the 3B portion of A-Rod’s career. Ranking Jeter ahead of any other SS since Banks is not at all difficult. If you want to go back to Honus Wagner or Pop Lloyd you get a few more names but you’re also making direct comparisons more difficult.
      *
      Jeter will have a solid claim to being the 2nd best living SS in the Hall of Fame, if/until A-Rod is inducted and would still be in the discussion for 2nd best even if Banks was alive, compiling stats at 1B does not make you a better SS.

      • Ed says:

        Yeah, but… isn’t your last sentence kind of the argument AGAINST Jeter?

        If he’d played the second half of his career at 1B he might be more valuable than he was playing shortstop, because he was killing the team defensively due to his horrendous play at short.

        (Okay, maybe not at 1B since he wasn’t good enough offensively to match up with other 1B… but somewhere other than SS)

        • Bryan says:

          I expect a player to want to continue to play their position and hit at the top of the order. If they offered Jeter another $20mil for 3 years to play SS and bat 1st or 2nd I would expect him to accept the offer. I’d be willing to do that and even in my athletic prime I was way worse at baseball than Jeter in his early 40s.
          *
          Blame Steinbrenner, Cashman, Torre and/or Girardi for lacking the competence and/or spine to properly handle Jeter. I want my players to have the self-confidence even if it’s self-delusion to want to play SS and bat in the 1st inning, I want Ryan Howard to go down swinging for the Braves minor league team because he still thinks he can contribute and I’d want my owner/GM/manager to bench/cut him when appropriate.

        • Rob Smith says:

          This is exactly what I was talking about. Some cherry picked stats to show that Jeter is in fact a Top 2-3 shortstop all time.

          Yeah, if you add a little postseason for being on great teams that were in the playoffs every year, takeaway points for players that didn’t play on great teams, ignore the poor defensive play (and simultaneously toss out the excellent defensive play of players like Ripken (as if it’s irrelevant), ignore the arrogance of staying at SS when ARod arrived (a far superior defender) & throughout his career, especially later when he couldn’t move at all and basically leaned and fell down chasing balls up the middle, give bonus points for playing SS his whole career (even though it wasn’t very good SS), take points away from ARod, Banks, Ripken and others for position switches appropriately made later in their career for the benefit of the team (which Jeter was unwilling to do), then just throw out Wagner and others because they played too long ago, and then squint hard enough and look at them in the shade of monument park and voila! Jeter’s (almost) a Top 2 “living” HOFer.

          BTW: calling Ripken Jeter + defense is hysterical. Ripken, worst case, is the second best shortstop of all time. And the Ripken = Jeter + defense part has to mean that you think Jeter was somewhere in the area code of Ripken defensively, or that defense didn’t matter much, in order to throw it out entirely. It wasn’t even close between the two of them.

          You just made my point for me. Thanks.

          • Bryan says:

            Living, since expansion or similar is simply to limit it to players that allow for deeper analysis. Cy Young, Walter Johnson and Satchel Paige all belong somewhere on a greatest players list based on dominance over their competition but make for really boring discussion of “50% more WAR than Seaver for the white guys, they were really good pitchers and Satchel might have been better than either of them so list him too”.
            *
            Honus was so good that in his prime it only took 11 other players to equal the value of 4 players and $25,000. Then Honus compiled stats playing against teams that had to sell their best players in order to avoid bankruptcy and he didn’t want his picture in packages of cigarettes (without compensation). That’s good enough to put him #2 behind Pop Lloyd because it seems like the right thing to do to draw attention to the best players who weren’t allowed in MLB.
            *
            George Davis was really good but he was no Bill Dahlen. Arky, Glasscock, Appling, Pee Wee, Tinker and Bobby Wallace round out the Top 10.
            *
            Since then Cal averaging 6 WAR for 14 years and A-Rod averaging 8 WAR for 8 years are the 2 best shortstops. Far more analysis is possible beyond a WAR comparison and the same simply isn’t true of the Top 10 shortstops so I prefer to focus on more recent players.
            *
            Ozzie, Jeter, Banks, Nomar, Yount, Trammell and Larkin, possible want to add a few more names. A-Rod 1272, Banks 1125, Yount 1479, Nomar 1056 games at SS give up as many as 1000 games at the position. Does Ozzie’s offense and Jeter’s defense mean Larkin and Trammell take 3rd and 4th or 2nd and 3rd if you ban A-Rod.
            *
            Or focus on fewer years, Larkin’s highest OPS+ is 155, his top 7 seasons are all 130+ and total 861 games. Trammell’s highest OPS+ is 155, his top 6 seasons are all 130+ and total 818 games.
            *
            Jeter only has 2 seasons of at least 130 OPS+. Then again Jeter has 7 seasons in the 120s and Larkin and Trammell have 1 each. Jeter’s 16 seasons qualified for the batting title and 100+ OPS+, Larkin with 9, Trammell with 7. How valuable is a league average hitter who stays healthy for a decade and a half even if he has easily the worst range of any SS in the discussion for being among the best of the expansion era.
            *
            Ozzie Smith with 4 seasons qualified for the batting title and 100+ OPS+, highest is 112. Do you simply pick the best defender and hide him at the bottom of the lineup.
            *
            Ozzie stealing 580 bases and nearly an 80% success rate. Jeter stealing 358 with a slightly lower success rate, Larkin 379 with a slightly higher success rate and Trammell 236 stolen bases and just under 70% success rate.
            *
            If A-Rod is excluded because of number of games at SS and/or PEDs then Cal Ripken locks up best SS starting from Banks and he might even be Top 10 all-time at the position. If A-Rod isn’t excluded he’s most likely no lower than 2nd starting from Banks.
            *
            Banks and Nomar can make a case based on how good they were for a relatively small number of years at SS. Yount similar but needs to rely on getting some credit for moving to another valuable defensive position. Ozzie and Jeter got to a similar point with remarkably different skill sets considering they played the same position. Larkin and Trammell round out the strong candidate list by having longevity, offense and defense that only Cal is similar or better in each category since Banks.
            *
            How you view A-Rod will impact on far down the list Tejeda will appear. Ozzie placing high could mean Vizquel or Belanger find their way into the bottom of the Top 10 SS of the last 65 or so years. Tulo and others will happily point out they were really good for a bunch of years if Banks and Nomar rate highly by your standards.
            *
            In the end Jeter’s case is that no one except Cal (and A-Rod if you only consider on field performance) is clearly better. At which point the playoff volume while maintaining regular season performance against superior competition, averaging 151 games for 17 years or being an offensively above average (some years barely) from 22-35 while playing a valuable defensive position poorly being considered the best available clean package after Cal.

          • invitro says:

            Bryan, I think using OPS+ might underrate Jeter’s offense significantly, since his is mostly OBP. I’m almost certain that Rbat gets the offensive contributions scaled correctly, which is why I prefer that stat. But I’m not sure… am I wrong?

      • invitro says:

        “Cal is basically Jeter + defense” — I don’t understand this. Jeter was VASTLY better at offense than Ripken. Here are some career numbers from bb-ref:

        Seasons – Jeter 20, Ripken 21
        PA – Jeter 12602, Ripken 12883
        Rbat – Jeter 353, Ripken 197
        Rbaser – Jeter 56, Ripken -5
        Rdp – Jeter 7, Ripken -24
        Rfield – Jeter -246, Ripken 181

        I mean, it’s not close. Maybe Ripken = Jeter + defense – tons of offense.

        • Bryan says:

          Rbat (best)
          56, 41, 39, 27, 24, 20, 20, 11, 11, 07 Ripken
          +2, -3, -3, +5, +7, 11, 10, 16, 09, 13 +6.7/year Jeter
          58, 38, 36, 32, 31, 31, 30, 27, 20, 20 Jeter
          *
          +6.7 per year is the difference between Nelson Cruz (114) and Freeman (94) from 2014 to 2016. The rest of Jeter’s career is net +31, the rest of Cal’s is net -60.
          *
          Or more simply, Cal is the 3rd best by Rfield among the 115 players with 1000+ G at SS in the last 100 years (Belanger 240, Ozzie 239, Cal 179) and Jeter is by far the worst (Hanley -112, Chris Gomez -114, Jeter -248) this is counting Rfield at any position among the qualifying players.
          *
          By Rbat for those 115 players it’s A-Rod way in front at 643, Arky 363, Jeter 354, Banks 257… 10th Cal 196. Through Age 30 season A-Rod still has a huge lead with 471, Arky 337, Cal 237, Jeter 235, Banks 232. Obviously there is a lot of variety to aging curves but I should have clarified that I was referring to their best seasons, Jeter was a much better hitter than Cal in his 30s, his hitting curve spikes away from Cal once he becomes teammates with A-Rod.

          • invitro says:

            Thanks. I probably should’ve said that Jeter’s advantage in hitting comes strictly from having more years as an excellent hitter. As you show, Ripken was Jeter’s equal in his best three seasons.

    • invitro says:

      “discussion of him being one of the greatest all time shortstops. ” — The reasons for Jeter’s lionization are obvious to me. He’s the third-best hitting SS of all time (does anyone deny that?). That in itself is enough for lionization, but… #1 Wagner played over 100 years ago, so he doesn’t count, and #2 A-Rod was a druggie, so he doesn’t count. So if you ignore defense, as most people do, it’s pretty easy to think that Jeter was the #1 or #2 SS of all time. And even the people that don’t ignore defense just have to point at Jeter’s five, count ’em, FIVE Gold Gloves, and believe he was actually a GREAT defensive player. SS is the most prestigious defensive position, so being #1 or #2 at SS is more impressive than doing it at any other position. Then you add the playoff success and being a Yankee, and frankly it’d be a shocker if Jeter -wasn’t- viewed as the best baseball player of all time by the majority of sportswriters and (at least) casual fans.

      The irony is, as Joe alluded, that Jeter is actually underrated for his offense. This is because the lion’s share of his offensive value is in OBP, which is always underrated compared to SLG.

  6. Bryan says:

    “Well, he’s not there yet, not even close to there. Kyle Schwarber has only played in 106 big league games, and he has a lifetime .219 batting average… hasn’t had a three-hit game since August of 2015.”
    *
    120 big league games, lifetime .234 batting average… hasn’t had a three-hit game since November of 2016. A big part of the appreciation of Schwarber is from games those numbers pretend didn’t happen when from a fan perspective that 3 hit game to end a lifetime World Series drought for almost every Cubs fan counts a lot.
    *
    Max Carey, Ripper Collins, Willie Stargell and George Brett with 4 hits in a World Series Game 7, 16 players including Schwarber and Dexter Fowler with 3 hits in a WS G7, all 20 of those players were on the winning team. Fowler, Schwarber, Bucky Harris, Pablo Sandoval, Mark Grace, Edgar Rentaria and Dan Gladden’s teams won by 1 run.
    *
    Mickey Mantle with 3 hits in a World Series Game 7 his team lost by 1 run. Bing Miller, Phil Cavarretta, Gil McDougald, Don Hahn and J.T. Snow also with 3 hits in a losing cause in a WS G7.
    *
    Information provided by Baseball-Reference.com Play Index.

  7. Casey Bell says:

    From July 29th 2015 thru Jun 18, 2016, a span of 129 games,
    the Cubs, with Dexter Fowler on the roster, went 91-38.

    Fowler got injured and did not play from Jun 19th thru
    July 21st, 2016. During that period the Cubs went 11-18.

    Fowler returned July 22, 2016 and the Cubs went 46-21 the
    rest of the way.

    Fowler signed with the Cardinals after the 2016 season. Thru
    May 15th of the 2017 season, the Cubs are 18-19.

    So, to sum up, from July 29th 2015 thru May 15, 2017, the Cubs
    were 137-59 (.699) with Fowler on their roster, and 29-37 (.433)
    when Fowler was on the DL or a member of the Cardinals.

    Admittedly, choosing July 29, 2015 as a starting point war arbitrary,
    but still, isn’t it amazing that during their last 196 games with a healthy Fowler the Cubs were 78 games over .500, but they are 8 games UNDER .500 for their last 66 games with Fowler injured or on another team?

    • invitro says:

      No, it’s not amazing… as I wrote above, you could do the same with Jorge Soler, and probably some other players, probably any player who was on the roster in 2016 but not 2017.

  8. invitro says:

    It’s nice to have lots of comments on articles again :). So… is there a parallel between Jeter and Kobe Bryant? Both are great players, easy HoFers, that still have gotten attention way over what their stats say they deserve, and have many fans thinking they’re among the 30 (Jeter) or 10 (Bryant) best players to ever play their sport. Both got this attention (probably?) because they won lots of championships for the most glamorous team in their sport. Both generally have their deficiencies ignored because the stats that show them are not the most common: fielding for Jeter, FG% for Bryant. I don’t know if I can take it too far, though: Jeter was definitely the best player for the Yankees during their championship years, while Bryant was definitely #2 behind Shaq, and later probably (IMO) #2 behind Gasol. And the Lakers of course descended to worst or 2nd-worst franchise in the NBA during Kobe’s last years, while nothing like that happened to the Yankees… probably because the Yanks have great management, while the Lakers’ is probably the worst in the NBA.

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