He has, against all odds, become UNDERRATED. And that is a wicked turn. I think Jeter at 35 is having one of his greatest seasons. I think he’s playing defense better than he ever has, he’s getting on base and slugging like he did in his prime, and in my view he has been the Yankees most valuable player in 2009. And, for once, it’s funny, I don’t hear too many other people talking about it.
Now, let me be clear — there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the American League MVP this year is Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, and nobody else is even close, and I feel so strongly about this that I am doing daily updates about it on my blog. But the Twins are probably not going to make the playoffs, and there are many people who feel that the most valuable player must come from a playoff team. And if that’s the case then … well, I think at this moment Jeter might be my MVP, non-Mauer division.
Look: He’s hitting .330 through Tuesday and has a .394 on-base percentage — tied with A-Rod for best on the Yankees. He’s on pace for 218 hits, 109 runs, 21 homers. 27 stolen bases. He’s having a great offensive season, quite similar to the season last year’s MVP, Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, had.
And — this is weird — those advanced statistics that have so universally mocked his defense now show him to be, well, darned good defensively…..
He’s a great player having another great season. He’s one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball history. He’s an absolute first ballot Hall of Famer even if his career ended tomorrow. And in my mind, if Yankees fans want to push one of their own as an MVP candidate they should stop pushing first baseman Mark Teixeira.
I entirely agree with Posnanski, who echoes much of what I have been pushing over the last few weeks. Jeter is the best MVP candidate on this team, and is one of the greatest hitting shortstops of all time. Furthermore, as we discussed yesterday, there had been a growing sentiment regarding Jeter that he was a product of the NY hype machine. People have suggested that if he had spent his career in KC, he would be a borderline Hall of Famer at best. Quite frankly, that notion is ridiculous, and Jeter’s 2009 has become another weapon in the fight against such a silly argument.
So spread the word. Derek Jeter should be the one Yankees fans are pushing for MVP, as Derek tries to notch his first such award despite deserving it in at least one prior season. Hopefully he gets it, as it would be a fitting bow for an amazing career.
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