Coming into 2009, we weren’t quite sure what was going to happen to Derek Jeter’s bat. In 2008, Jeter had a 102 OPS+, which was the first time he was below 110 since 1997. His wOBA was .343, still a good mark, but it was the first time ever in a full season that he had a wOBA under .345. His wRC+, 110, was also a career low, as was his anemic IsoP mark of .107. It looked like age was finally beginning to catch up with Derek. I even wondered if his decline was actually coming. Then, 2009 happened.
In 2009, Jeter put up a line of .334/.406/.465/.871 with a 132 OPS+ (tied for second highest in his career), a .390 wOBA, and a 142 wRC+. It was truly a bounce back year for Derek, and I was glad my doubts in him were unfounded. Perhaps I should’ve known better in 2008. Perhaps I should’ve known that Jeter wouldn’t put up a year as “bad” as 2008. So, should we expect a repeat of 2009? Let’s look into Derek’s projections and see.
My average line for Jeter winds up at .310/.382/.434/.816. All of those numbers are numbers that represent “downgrades” from what Jeter did in 2009. I use the term downgrade lightly because those numbers, especially out of a shortstop, would be very welcome. The biggest drop here comes in power, which should be expected. Jeter’s career IsoP is a respectable .142. However, his highest IsoP in the last four years is .141; his projected IsoP is .124. Expecting Derek to put up power higher than what he has in the last two years–.120-.130 IsoP–is unrealistic. However, it appears that his contact skills are still there.
As Moshe posted, it appears that all of Jeter’s power in 2009 was to right field. This is right in line with Jeter’s career numbers, which show a big power disparity in right field’s favor when it comes to DJ. While there’s no way to project this for 2010, I think it’s safe to assume the same trend will show itself in the upcoming season.
2006 shows a pretty evenly spread out distribution of home runs, 2007 is skewed to left field, with 2008 and 2009 giving credence to the more recent trend of Jeter’s right-field-centric power. While there is always a chance for a reversal of this trend and a return to the 2007 “model”, I doubt it will happen. Jeter’s approach at the plate–to let the ball travel far into the zone–and his “inside out” swing lend to more hits and more power to right field.
Frankly, I don’t think any of us care how Derek does it as long as he keeps doing it. We’ve been treated to a great hitting shortstop for the last 15 years and if last year, and these projections, is any indications, we will continue to see it for at least one more year.
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