Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Captain

Derek Jeter has been a staple of the last five Yankee championships. His intangibles are irreplaceable and his leadership makes him a model baseball player for the ages. The fans did find a weakness Jeter had over the past two seasons, however.

In 2010, Jeter had a terrible offensive year and finished the season with a career worst .270 batting average. Talks were getting heated concerning his current contract and whether or not he should bat leadoff. He batted leadoff on Opening Day in 2011, but his stats were hardly impressive. He had minimal extra base hits through July and he found himself batting behind Gardner many times until Girardi lost faith in Gardner and stuck him back in the ninth spot in the lineup.

Derek Jeter was on a quest to achieve 3,000 hits. No Yankee had ever done so. He would be breaking records that would add on to his Fall of Fame career. The day came on July 9th, 2011, facing David Price. Jeter started the day with a base hit and in his second at-bat, came up huge with a home run in the left field seats for his 3,000th career hit. He finished the day by going 5 for 5 with a home run, a double, and a couple of RBI. Since that day, Jeter returned to form. He hit almost .330 for the remainder of the season and finished the year with a healthy .297 average. He was never a home run hitter, so the six that he hit in 2011 were not really looked at with much concern. There is no question that the milestone hit was detouring Jeter. He has stated himself that he struggles when he is approaching career milestones. Even though he says that the pressure of getting 3,000 did not phase him, everybody knows that it weighed heavily on Derek.

What can we expect from Jeter going into his age 38 season? I expect Derek to hit for average. He will not hit many home runs. That part of his game is for the most part, lost. He is a singles hitter and he comes up in the clutch with those singles. I feel that there is a good chance that Jeter may be getting pied this year for coming up big in a clutch situation.

My predictions for Jeter in 2012: .292 BA, 8 HR, 68 RBI.

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