Memo to Yankees, Derek Jeter: Not a Leadoff Hitter

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With the moral demise of Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter is now the most revered man in all of sports.

Whether he is driving by a fire in a “Rescue Me” trailer or running out to his position in the Bronx, graceful is a word that describes him. The captain is every manager’s dream and Joe Girardi is certainly enamored with him. This is the only explanation why he is still hitting leadoff in that hallowed line-up.

It is much too small of a sample to be conclusive, but Jeter only has two postseason hits so far with no walks. One of the aforementioned singles was even on an “excuse me” swing to shallow right field. During regular season play Jeter did achieve the magical mark of one hundred runs scored; he also was effective in the extra base department with thirty doubles, three triples, and ten home runs. His sixty-three walks helped offset his low batting average of .270. His on base percentage hit .340 according to the sortable stats link at http://yankees.com (This site provided all of the statistics for this piece).

By Patrick Herbert

Numerous players could have scored one hundred runs hitting in this slot of the Yankees line-up. With Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson further down the line-up, reaching this number is a foregone conclusion.

Brett Gardner is the best choice to hit leadoff. He is nearly a decade younger. Because of this, he puts tremendous pressure on pitchers when he is on base. This allows batters who are behind him in the order to see better pitchers since some of their attention is given to him.

Starters often are less effective when they are out of the stretch rather than having the full wind up. Moreover, they are more leery of putting another runner on base when one is already on. The dreaded big inning is always in the back of their minds. Gardner is also a lefty, which allows him to fully utilize his speed by getting out of the box quicker. His batting average is only seven points higher than Jeter’s, but his on base percentage is forty-three points higher than Jeter’s. He has forty-seven stolen bases to Jeter’s eighteen.

It seems to be a slam dunk for Girardi if he is being objective. The Yankees are much better off without the sleep deprived, past-his-prime Joe Torre. The decision to let him leave for the Dodgers was much maligned at the time, but has turned out to be a great decision for the franchise. They have been effective all year and are now in position to once again set their rotation as desired for the next series.

Derek Jeter is actually the ideal second hitter. He makes good contact for the hit-and-run possibility. He can use his tremendous bat control to effectively place the ball when infielders are stationed at double play depth and he doesn’t strike out much. It’s Joe Girardi’s job to put his players in the position where they can achieve the most success. To do that, Jeter must be moved from the top spot.

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