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September 02, 2005

Jeter Just A Homeboy?

This morning, I was thinking more about the huge difference this season between Derek Jeter batting at home versus on the road and decided to look at some recent past seasons for him as well (where the numbers are BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

2004
Home: .328/.383/.523/.906
Road: .260/.322/.424/.746

2003
Home: .317/.377/.460/.837
Road: .330/.411/.439/.850

2002
Home: .283/.374/.411/.785
Road: .308/.371/.429/.800

This tells us that the "road woes" for Jeter started last season and have carried into 2005 as well. In 2002 and 2003, Jeter was actually better on the road than at home.

This could be something personal. Maybe Jeter has something on his mind the last two years when the team is on the road? Or, it could have something to do with him batting lead-off?

In 2004, Jeter was the Yankees lead-off hitter about half of the time. And, he's been their lead-off hitter just about every game this season. Prior to that, he was usually the Yankees #2 hitter.

Maybe, and this is a huge reach, there's something about being the very first player to come to bat in a game (when the Yankees are on the road) that throws off his whole game with the bat for that day? Maybe Derek needs to get into the rhythm of the game first, before getting his rhythm at the plate, to be successful? But, that would be a mental-baseball thing. And, I'm pretty sure that Jeter is mentally tough enough not to fall into that mind-trap. It can't be leading-off that's the problem.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year - if the Yankees get another lead-off hitter or not - to see if the road issues for Jeter continue in 2006.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 2, 2005 08:44 AM

Comments

Maybe, just maybe, we're looking at the numbers just a little too hard. 1 or 2 seasons are a small sample, e.g. this year Tejada has a higher OPS than Jeter, over their careers Jeter's is significantly higher. Look at his career numbers, see what they say. Then again, it could be a pattern that Jeter is getting used to hitting a certain way at the stadium and it doesn't translate as well on the road. Is he not trying to pull the ball enough on the road or is he trying to pull it too much, lots of factors could be at work.

Posted by: Bozo at September 2, 2005 09:49 AM

I'd have to look at his numbers since 1995 in order to detect a trend.

Haven't there been studies that have shown that batting order is irrelevant WRT production? Jeter will put up his BA/SLG/OBP numbers, whether he's batting 1 or 9

Posted by: Raf at September 2, 2005 10:26 AM

BO is irrelevant WRT production, as the studies go - but, that's for the team results, not the player. Certain guys, albeit mental or not, do better in one slot in the line-up over others. It just happens.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 2, 2005 10:41 AM

//I'd have to look at his numbers since 1995 in order to detect a trend.//

That might work if he was always a lead-off hitter - since 1996 (he didn't really play in '95). But, since he's not always batted first, it would not tell us if batting lead-off is the reason for his road woes.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 2, 2005 10:43 AM

Maybe his early-2004 slump really messed with his head some how?

Posted by: DownFromNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 27, 2005 02:03 PM