April 01, 2014

Derek Jeter vs. Barry Larkin

As hagiography watch on The Cap'n of the Yankees, Derek Jeter, heats up with his final opening day, one good point to call BS is Ian O'Connor of ESPN talking about how lucky the Yankees were for five teams ahead of them in the draft to be idiots.

He first calls out the Houston Astros for taking Phil Nevin. Halfway fair, though let's not kick Nevin too far. He turned in 15 WAR and change.

He later calls out the Cincinnati Reds for already having some shortstop named Barry Larkin on the team, and that's just bull, if he's implying Jeter would have been some upgrade above Larkin.

Reality? Using Jay Jaffe's JAWS system, Jeter ranks exactly one spot ahead of Larkin among shortstops. He may pass Alan Trammell to move one spot higher, barely, but that's it. Meanwhile, most of O'Conner's fellow writers at ESPN, and elsewhere, don't expect Jeter to play more than 135 games or so this year. And, probably with slashes of around .265/.330/.360/.690. That's based on 2010 numbers. He did better in 2011, but with less than 135 games. And, nobody this side of Ian O'Conner-level fluffers of Jeter expect him to reduplicate 2012. (And, if Jeter plays below 2010 levels, he won't pass Trammell on JAWS.)

And, Fangraphs says similar. On total offensive + defensive runs created, Larkin has 379.4 by its methodology and Jeter has 343.4, even while playing more games. Meanwhile, going by win-loss percentage added, B-R ranks Larkin higher.

Besides, as I've blogged before, showing the value of defense, he's multiple spots behind Ozzie Smith. And, if you want to talk about "intangibles," Smith had them in spades, too. So did Larkin.

O'Connor's not quite the fellator that Greg Doyel is, but he's bad enough.

Anyway, would it be nice for him to go out in style? Sure. But, I expect him not to. This won't be a Mariano Rivera farewell.

That said, with Brendan Ryan on the DL, and likely on there for a month or more, when Jeter needs some of those days off, who do the Yankees turn to? That defense-ugly infield just started sounding even uglier.

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