Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Derek Jeter

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Derek Jeter.

It was a down year for the Yankee Captain. He put up respectable numbers but it wasn't one of his best offensive campaigns. He ended up hitting 300 on the nose, about 16 points below his career average. His numbers declined across the board for the 2nd straight year. His average dipped from 344 in 2006, to 322 in '07, to 300 in '08. His OBP dropped from 417 ('06) to 388 ('07) to 363 ('08). His SLG dropped from 483 ('06) to 452 ('07) to 408 ('08). Not his best year, but like I said, respectable. You can actually make a case that he had the best year statistically of all AL shortstops. His 300 average was 16 points ahead of the second highest avg for AL shortstops. His OBP was 22 points higher. He ranked 2nd in SLG, 65 points behind the Indians' Jhonny Peralta. Again, like I said, a respectable year. Just not quite what we're used to from DJ. A lot of people were bitching and moaning about Jeter's selection as a starter for the AL All-star team. For my money, the fans got it right.

The highlight of Derek's season had to be passing Lou Gehrig for the most career hits in Yankee Stadium. With the Stadium closing down, it's a record that will never be broken. He entered the final 10 game homestand needing 9 hits to tie Gehrig's record and he knocked those hits out in 3 games. DJ was the man in the final few weeks of the season. He got the average up to 306 before getting plunked on the hand, which was a reason for the dip to 300.

The one negative that I have to knock Jeter for this season is with how he handled his role as Captain. The Yankees floundered for much of the season and I don't recall hearing anything about Jeter laying into the guys to get them to step it up. There are quite a few guys that you could tell were phoning it in. As Captain, I'd like to think that Jeter was trying to ignite a spark under the team, but again, didn't hear about it. Derek Jeter has done nothing but win since he became a Yankee and this is the 1st time in his career that he's sitting at home for the entire month of October. I'd like to think he would have done a little more as captain to try to ensure the team was giving it their all day in and day out. I know that's technically Girardi's job, but with the transition from Torre to Girardi, I think DJ needed to step up a little more and take the lead or at least help Girardi out. But again, maybe he did, or tried to anyway.

Taking everything into account, J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Derek Jeter is a B. I was going to make it a B- but he signed an autograph for me in Toronto so I bumped him up. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Alex Rodriguez

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


2 comments: said...

I'd give him an A-. Don't forget he got hit in the hand/wrist by Daniel Cabrera and was never right at the plate after that. As for stepping up as Captain under Girardi, he's always been a lead-by-example guy. It's not his fault if Cano, for ex, didn't get it. I still think he and Mo are the most consistent Yankees we've got. Besides, SOMEONE has to get an A on this team!

J-Boogie said...

Nice memory with respect to Jeter getting beaned by DC. I'm sure that had some effect, but not enough for me to give anyone an A. I can't give anyone on the offense an A. At least none come to mind off the top of my head.