There are other encouraging signs. Jeter’s line drive percentage for April was an abysmal 9.6%, but so far in May, it is a robust 26.3%. 26.3% is a terrific line drive percentage, higher than the 2011 line drive percentage for any other Yankee playing full-time. If Jeter can manage to pound out line drives at close to this rate, he’ll finish up this year just fine, and his April will (largely) be forgotten.
Now come the caveats. When I speak about “so far in May”, I’m talking about something closer to a week than a month. A good week does not eliminate concerns about Jeter’s performance during the month of April – or for that matter, his performance last July and August. He’s still hitting a large percentage of ground balls along with those line drives. Also, while we don’t have May splits to show this, Jeter still seems to be hitting better during the day than at night, and better early in the game than later.
A couple of weeks ago, many of us said that it was too early to write Jeter off. Similarly, it’s too early now to proclaim that the old Jeter is back. (Er, when I say the “old Jeter”, I’m referring to the guy that nearly won the MVP award in 2009, and not a Jeter who is, you know, old.) I can’t make too much of one week’s performance, or one day’s performance, and still provide rational guidance. But I can hope.
Speaking of which … I wonder now, how many home runs we can project Francisco Cervelli to hit?