Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Silly broadcasters, research is for kids!

I heard this [or something very close] during the Yankees/Rays broadcast on ESPN2 after Jeter went down with what looked to be a relatively minor leg injury:

The Yankees are probably going to go with Wilson Betemit at shortstop while Jeter is out. Betemit is not a long-term solution, and the Yankees are really going to miss Jeter's clubhouse leadership, defensive range, and slugging.

Wow. Well, I suppose we'll discount the "long-term solution" phrase, as the announcer probably meant the next month or so, rather than the next eight or nine years. (Betemit is seven years younger than Jeter.) Let's look at the rest item by item.

1.) Clubhouse leadership: Jeter has a leg injury, not a terminal illness. He will, presumably, still be able to interact with his teammates. And, is this the same clubhouse leadership that Captain Amazing showed when he refused to move over to second base when A-Rod came to town? Even though A-Rod had a better arm and more range? That kind of clubhouse leadership?

2.) Defensive range? Are you shitting me? I'm going to randomly type in "Derek Jeter's defensive range" and see what pops up in Google. This is the kind of stuff I see: "Last year, Derek Jeter ranked in the bottom half of major-league shortstops in fielding percentage, put-outs, and assists. He ranked second-to-last in range factor. He was dead last — in all of basebal l— in zone rating. In fact, the only stat in which Derek Jeter even ranked in the top ten of MLB shortstops was double plays."

That doesn't sound too good. How about the findings of research analyst Lee Panas, who looked at six different systems for evaluating a shortstop’s fielding? Derek Jeter came in dead last. Jeter actually cost the Yankees a whopping 27 runs in 2007.

Basically, you have to be a blithering, myopic idiot to not realize that just about anyone who can play shortstop will be better defensively than Derek Jeter, because he is THE WORST! Betemit may suck as well, but it's hard to imagine he'll be worse than Jeter. Judging from his fielding statistics, he is at least competent at first and third base.

3.) His slugging: I'm speechless. Of all the things you could say that Derek Jeter has over Wilson Betemit as a hitter, slugging is not one of them. In fact, if I were to cherry pick the one statistic that I could use to demonstrate Wilson Betemit's parity with Derek Jeter, it would be slugging. Career SLG for Jeter: .462. For Betemit: .438. In 2007, Captain Amazing slugged a whopping .452. Puny Wilson: .454 (albeit, in only 240 at-bats).

Then again, Betemit had 14 home runs in those 240 at-bats, while Jeter managed 12 in his 639 official trips to the plate.

Basically, this was something I would have expected from Joe Morgan.

No comments: