If you haven't heard, Joe Girardi is thinking of batting Derek Jeter leadoff and Johnny Damon second, despite the fact that it's been the reverse for three years now.
Girardi should be applauded. There's too often an illogical feeling that things need to be done the way they always have because... well, just because. We should be happy that he's thinking 'outside the box'. Now if only he could regarding rightfield.
Pete Abraham makes a valid point that Jeter may hit leadoff to break up the two lefties if Brett Gardner hits ninth.
What are the top qualities for a leadoff hitter? On-base skills, speed, and pitch-taking ability, yes?
Damon has 362 career steals at a 79% success rate. Jeter has 275 at a 78% rate.
Damon's career pitches-per-plate appearance is 3.86. Jeter's is 3.75.
They're pretty close. The difference in OBP gives a slight edge to Jeter in my mind. Add in the fact that the likely #9 hitter is a lefty, and it makes sense to split them up with the righty, Jeter.