Since reaching 3,000 hits in 2011 (Already that long ago??) Derek Jeter has been passing some of the greats of the game. He has already left the likes of Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr., Willie Mays, and several others in the dust. He just moved passed Paul Molitor on the All-Times Hits List and will have a chance to pass a few more before his career comes to an end in September. I looked at where he might end up when it's all said and done.
Over his career, Jeter has collected a hit about every 3.6 plate appearances. Obviously, you can't have a half-plate appearance, unless you count that time Brett Gardner was ejected in the middle of an at-bat and Colin Curtis came in and hit a home run. Let's round up to a hit every four plate appearances. I averaged Jeter's projected plate appearances according to Steamer (373), ZiPs (325), and Fans (537!) to 411 plate appearances in 2014. He's already compiled 41, so we can expect another 370 PA from him this season, unless he breaks something. Based on his career hit-rate, he'll collect another 92 hits in the time he has left, add the 10 hits he has on the season and he ends up with 3,418 career hits.
Of course, he could outperform or under-perform these projections depending on how well he does and how healthy he is. For all we know, he could accumulate 600 plate appearances this season (bold, I know). If that happens, he could end up adding another 102 hits to his career total.
Let's see where he has the best chance to end up by the end of the season:
|Rank||Player||Seasons||Hits||Hits needed||Is there a chance?|
|2||Ty Cobb||24||4189||869||Not happening|
|7||Honus Wagner||21||3420||100||Most likely|
It's important to keep our expectations low; after all, he's coming back from a lost season at the age of 40, so it's entirely possible he's running on fumes. If he performs close to these projections then he's unlikely to shoot much higher than seventh place on the All-Time Hits list. If he performs like dream Jeter then we could see him shoot up to at least fifth place, but all hope of getting any higher than that was dashed by the loss of his 2013 season. Still, it amazes me that he got this far up the list with so few total seasons by comparison. You have to go down to 17th place to find someone (Paul Warner) with 20 seasons in the majors. Additionally, the fact that he really only has 18 full seasons since he only collected a handful of plate appearances in 1995 and 2013, makes Jeter's accomplishments that much more impressive.