erik lundegaard

Jeter Sucks! (On the Yankees Anyway)

Quick baseball trivia question for you. Derek Jeter's name has been bandied about for the American League MVP award. But where does he place among qualifying Yankees in terms of OPS—On-Base Plus Slugging—which is generally regarded as one of the best indicators of a player's hitting prowess?

Seventh. As of this morning, he has the seventh-best OPS on the Yankees.

M.V.My ass.

What's more remarkable? Jeter is still 24th among the 74 American League players who have the requisite number of plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Meaning seven of the Yankees' nine hitters are among the top 24 hitters in the league. Ouch! Here they are:

AL pos. Player OPS
5. Mark Teixeira .928
8. Alex Rodriguez .919
17. Nick Swisher .884
19. Johnny Damon .874
20. Robinson Cano .868
22. Hideki Matsui .865
24. Derek Jeter .860

No other team is close. Among the top 24 players in OPS, the Rays have four (Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett, Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena), Boston has three (Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, J.D. Drew), the Twins have three (Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau), Texas has two (Nelson Cruz, Michael Young), and the Tigers, Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners and Indians all settle for one a piece (Miguel Cabrera, Kendry Morales, Adam Lind, Russell Branyan and Shin-Soo Choo). White Sox, Royals, Orioles and A's get zilch. Especially the A's.

The Yankees, again, have seven. That's gotta be worrisome for anyone playing them in the post-season.

New Yankee Stadium—so nice you get to homer twice—has, I'm sure, helped the Yankees accrue the best team OPS in the Majors, .842, 40 points higher than second-place Boston (.802). At the same time, didn't it destroy their pitching staff? Their pitching OPS must suck.

Not really. Here's how the 30 teams in the Majors stand when you add their batting OPS ranking and their pitching OPS ranking. Current division and wild-card leaders in bold:

Rank Team OPS bat. rank OPS pit. rank Total
1 NY Yankees 1 7 8
2 Colorado 4 9 13
3 LA Dodgers 13 1 14
4 Tampa Bay 5 10 15
5 Boston 2 16 18
  Texas 7 11 18
  St. Louis 15 3 18
8 Philadelphia 6 18 24
  Florida 12 12 24
  Chicago White Sox 16 8 24
11 Atlanta 20 5 25
12 Chicago Cubs 21 6 27
13 LA Angels 3 26 29
  Minnesota 9 20 29
15 Seattle 26 4 30
16 San Francisco 29 2 31
17 Detroit 18 14 32
  Arizona 19 13 32
19 Cleveland 8 25 33
20 Toronto 11 23 34
21 Milwaukee 10 28 38
22 Washington 14 29 43
  NY Mets 22 21 43
  San Diego 28 15 43
25 Oakland 27 17 44
26 Baltimore 17 30 47
  Houston 23 24 47
  Kansas City 25 22 47
29 Cincinnati 30 19 49
30 Pittsburgh 24 27 51

What is this measurement worth? Not much. For one, teams have reconfigured for the season. The good and the rich are better, the mediocre and middle-class are worse. No way, for example, that the Marlins and White Sox are equal to the Phillies, who are my gut pick for NL champs. No way the Angels are that bad. Even so, I was surprised that the only other team in slngle digits in both categories—besides the Yankees—is the Colorado Rockies. Ninth in the majors in opposition OPS? Wow.

Yes, as an avowed Yankees hater, none of this is exactly good news, but stats are stats. Put it this way: the Yankees are overbudget, filled with lousy actors, get too much attention...but they're good. “Transformers 2” is all of those things and it sucked. That's how bad that movie was. It makes the Yankees look good.

Posted at 07:53 AM on Wed. Sep 09, 2009 in category Baseball, Yankees Suck  
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