Friday, January 20, 2006

First in line


This post is in response to Lupica's utterly inane comment that the Yankees haven't had a leadoff man since Knoblauch left and that Damon would somehow return that missing dimension to the Yankees offense. Clearly he didn't check the stats which show that Derek Jeter had the highest on base percentage of any leadoff man in baseball last year. If he would have simply looked at the numbers he would have realized how wrong that statement was. Of course he never looks at the numbers. They might actually cause his statements to have some merit.

Johnny Damon has never had a single season OBP that is higher than Jeter's career average of .386.
Damon only has 2 seasons where his batting average was higher than Jeter's career average of .314.
Derek Jeter's career OPS is 63 points higher than Damon's.
Damon has had 200 hits once, Jeter has done it 4 times.
In fact Damon has had over 190 hits only 2 times as compared to 7 times that Jeter has done it.
In almost the exactly same amount of at bats (Damon has 10 more at bats over his career), Jeter actually has 40 more walks than Damon.
While Damon has stolen more bases than Jeter over his career (281-215), they actually have the same steal % (Jeter's is one point higher at 79%).
They have stolen the same number of bases over the last 2 years.
Jeter has also scored 80 more runs over his career than Damon.

Jeter's 162 game average
YEARS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
9.41 162 655 123 206 33 5 18 81 68 116 23 6 .314 .386 .461 .847
Damon's 162 game average
YEARS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
9.6 162 644 112 186 34 8 14 73 62 73 29 8 .290 .353 .431 .784

Damon strikes out less than Jeter and steals a couple of more bases on average. Outside of that, Jeter leads in every other measured category.

So I ask you, by what measure is Damon a better lead off man than Derek Jeter. Perhaps there are some other hidden numbers that I don't know about, but it seems pretty clear to me that Jeter is not only a better lead off man, but a significantly better one. Damon may be a more "prototypical" lead off man (whatever that means, perhaps it means not as good) and may only feel comfortable batting leadoff. Jeter on the other hand is comfortable batting in any position.

It would actually work out better for the Yankees lineup with Cano batting 9th, to have Damon bat second and have Jeter leadoff (lefty, righty, lefty). I'm sure that Damon will bat leadoff because he would probably bitch otherwise (like Lofton and Womack before him), but once again, there is no evidence to suggest that he is better suited to that position than Jeter. I'm not sure that it was a mistake to sign Damon (time will tell), but the Yankees needed a centerfielder, not a leadoff man.

Lupica is just wrong again. As usual.

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