I’m not quite sure what to make of the Derek Jeter quote at the end of this piece from Chad Jennings over at LoHud.
“I don’t necessarily change things based on results,” Jeter said. As I said, I don’t really quite know what to make of it. I know that players make changes to their swings and approaches because they’re professionals and they–along with the coaches who monitor them day in and day out–can tell when something is off just by the feel of their swings when they’re up at the plate. However, I think Jeter needs to start paying attention to his results and make the according adjustments.
Jeter’s walk rate is down to 7.7%, which is down from his 9.0% career rate. Perhaps he has been working on this, as his walk rate since June 1st is 11.11%, which is solid. The farther that goes up, the better. Maybe Jeter’s making an effort to see more pitches and get on base or maybe it’s just regression to the mean; whatever it is, I like it and hope it keeps up.
The other area of concern is Jeter’s batted ball data. His LD% is at a career low 17.7% and his groundball rate is at a shockingly high 66.8%. Something Derek is doing is causing him to hit the ball with a lot less authority than he normally does. Of course, this is having an inverse effect on his batting average. You know I’m not one to focus on batting average, and Jeter’s never been an empty BA hitter, but he’s not exactly a Nick Swisher or Adam Dunn type who can keep his OBP super-high without a solid batting average. Jeter’s average sits at .272 at the time of writing (not including Thursday night’s game vs. KC) which isn’t awful and should look to rebound. After all, his BABIP is way down to .302 (career .357). When that starts to rise, his average will jump back up too. But, that’s something I’ve been saying all year.
Until Jeter does look at his results and sees the absurd amount of groundouts and lack of line drives and subsequently fixes whatever is causing him to fall into this pattern, his average will stay low and his year will look a lot worse than it could be.
This is Derek Jeter we’re talking about, so it’s not like it’s some talentless hack who doesn’t put effort into his game. I have full faith in him to fix his game. I also have faith in hitting coach Kevin Long to tell and show Jeter what he needs to do. After that, maybe he can fix Curtis Granderson (I love you, Curtis but it’s getting really hard to defend you, dude).