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Another Look at Jeter's D

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As I said in yesterday's Gold Glove response, you don't need advanced statistics to know that Derek Jeter's range is not on par with that of other shortstops around the league, but if you like to leaven your subjective observations with some statistical evaluations, there are plenty out there that will confirm that yes, the other team's shortstop would have gotten to that grounder that Jeter let scoot up the middle. My Baseball Prospectus colleague Colin Wyers, who does things with numbers that are so complex they're illegal in a half-dozen states, has looked at the different defensive systems, all of which have slightly differing approaches to measuring a player's value, and compared what they think of Jeter:

Over the course of his career, Jeter has made nearly 500 fewer plays than we would expect a shortstop to have made.... All of the available evidence seems to suggest that Jeter is a worse fielder than most defensive metrics indicate, perhaps on the order of 20 to 30 runs below the average shortstop. This makes it possible that Jeter, in 2010, was performing at roughly the same level as a typical replacement—in other words, his ability to hit like something resembling an average shortstop doesn’t offset his inability to field like one.

I've asked BP to bring the piece out from behind the subscriber wall so all of you who read us here can click over and look at Wyers' reasoning and see the rest of his conclusions--that is, anyone can read it, so feel free to click over. Again, you don't need to know this stuff to evaluate Jeter's fielding, but it can't hurt to understand that there are other, more objective ways of considering the problem.

Next time around, I'll explain why fielding percentage is not a good way to measure a player's defensive abilities. I'm a bit surprised I have to do that in 2010, but if I have to, so be it.