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The Tragedy of Derek Jeter’s Defense

BaseballArticle Summary: 

Is Derek Jeter a good shortstop? After winning 5 gold gloves (only 4 other shortstops have beat this record) you would wonder why this is even a question, however, when looking at the right information you find an interesting conclusion. Ben Lindbergh identifies that analysis of Derek’s performance by play-by-play systems shows that Derek has cost his team more in the field than any other player in history. Ben identifies that although Derek has a high percentage of outs per balls he gets to, Derek in actuality gets to very few balls compared to other good shortstops and some of the current baseball measurements are flawed. Ben identifies a couple of metrics that give an accurate picture of the performance of shortstops:

1. Distance a shortstop can cover and still make plays

2. Time it takes for the shortstop to get the ball out of his glove.

In this article Ben compares the best and worst performances of Derek and Brendan Ryan and shows how Ryan (drafted 215th in amateur league) a baseball player that has not received a gold glove is actually a better shortstop than Derek.

The majority of society is blind or lacks perception. They come to conclusions based on bias, relationships, and popular opinion. This is due to the complexity of life and the overwhelming amount of data available. An expert comes to conclusions based on metrics and information. They are able simplify complexity through using minimal information to show reality. Amazingly, experts often times have different opinions on who is a performer than the majority of society.


Reference Article: The tragedy of Derek Jeter’s Defense – Ben Lindbergh – Grand Lands – August 27, 2013 http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9603949/the-tragedy-derek-jeter-defense



Brendan Ryan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Ryan_(baseball)


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Marlynn Radford-Brown

Everyone has an opinion
Statistics are only as good as the data that fuels them
The criteria to earning a “golden glove” was not apparent
The tone of the articles author is agitated
In our capitalistic society, the power of “who you know” exists in every industry
The authors opinion is not representative of the entire baseball community
There is an age difference between the players in question
The majority of society is blind, but nevertheless they agree that Jeter is a great player

Juan Mora

Jeter has been going through New York-style scrutiny since he has begun playing for the Bombers in 1995. He would not be playing for the 27-time champions if he was not a good defender. The article presents data from recent years, whereas according to the article’s own citations, shortstops have their best years from 24-28. He is now 39 years old, making it unfair to highlight his career in his recent years. Albeit, his chances for the 2009 and 2010 gold glove awards may have been enhanced by simply being a household name, this article still presents statistics that are bias in terms of the baseball player that is Derek Jeter.

John Theis

I agree that the article fails to take an account for age. Obviously, younger players will be able to out perform an older player. Jeter is 15 years past the “prime” age. What makes him great is the fact he is still able to be consistent and make the plays that he does. The article can prove that Jeter is currently not the best short stop. Using information such as speed, agility, strength you can see others out perform him. Jeter’s comparison in this is Brendan Ryan, who is 8 years younger.

Mark Huerta

This is a terrific article that isn’t simply based on opinion, but metrics that do a much better of analyzing a defensive players performance. I love looking at advanced video tapes or statistics that do a better job of measuring a players impact on the game. This article demonstrates that Jeter may have 5 gold gloves, but he simply doesn’t cover as much ground as other Shortstops (SS). A ball that Jeter might not have gotten to could have counted as an error for a quicker SS that barely got to the ball, but couldn’t make the play because of the degree of difficulty. The other SS may get an error 20% of the time and make the play 80% of the time. Meanwhile Jeter’s error stat remains unblemished despite him making the out 0% of the time simply because it appeared that he couldn’t make the play.

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