2011 season profile: Derek Jeter

The big story of the spring for Jeter was his new swing, some mechanical adjustments Kevin Long made to help Jeter with his timing. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ captain never got comfortable with the changes, and more or less scrapped them not long into the season. After a very disappointing 2010 campaign, Jeter wasn’t doing any better in the new year as he marched towards 3,000 hits. And then he got hurt.

At the time, Jeter’s strained calf seemed like just another unfortunate event in the sudden decline of a sure fire Hall of Famer, but in respect it was the biggest of blessings in disguise. Put on the disabled list, Jeter was sent to the team’s facility (and his own home) in Tampa to rehab the leg injury, and while there Jeter re-tooled his swing in a way he was comfortable with. After a brief stop in Trenton to be ritually humiliated or something, Jeter returned to Yankees with a vengeance. Hitting just .260/.324/.324 when he went on the DL, Jeter would use his new swing to rip through American League pitching from July on, hitting a scorching .331/.372/.447 after returning from the injury. The late season surge was enough to leave him with a final batting line of .297/.355/.388. Not the stuff legends are made of, but an awful lot better than where Jeter was headed before the time off.

Of course, the highlight of the season for Jeter was getting his 3,000th hit in style. Not only blasting David Price‘s offering into the left-center field bleachers for the monumental hit itself, but going 5-for-5 on the day and ultimately driving in the go ahead run in the 8th inning. The entire day was unforgettable, truly befitting of both the moment and the man, and an event that will almost certainly end up as the defining moment of the entire 2011 season for the Yankees.

So what does the future hold for Jeter? Whatever he wants it to, for better or worse. Whether Jeter found the fountain of youth at Steinbrenner Field or not, he’s still in mostly uncharted water with respect to his age and position. It’s all but impossible to project what’s around the corner for Jeter, and how long he’ll be able to be the everyday shortstop for this team. But one thing is certain; he’ll have to be forced out of the spot before anything changes. For now, he’s firmly entrenched at the position, and at the top of the Yankees’ lineup.

But if the 2011 season proved anything, it’s that Derek Jeter might not be done adding to his Hall of Fame credentials after all.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

3 thoughts on “2011 season profile: Derek Jeter

  1. As for the contract, all I'm gonna say about it is that I'm THRILLED he got the fourth year…. If all that ugliness for a week or two was what it took to get that 4th year, it was absolutely, positively, worth it…

    In terms of the here and now… well, 2012 is an interesting year for Jeter…. an exciting year… because, IMO, it's the year we learn whether Jeter has a chance for 4,000 hits and true baseball immortality…

    If you thought 3,000 was a big deal… can you imagine 4,000… something which no right handed batter has ever done or even gotten within 200 hits of??? I don't think he's gonna do it, but if he comes back strong in 2012 with a 190+ hit season it's on the table, awesome..

    And as for the advanced, "value" stats, it's sort of the same thing… someone can correct me but I think Jeter's career WAR is somewhere between 72-76 depending on the formula… A strong 4 WAR campaign in 2012 pretty much solidifies him finishing his career solidly over 80 and while I personally don't care much about WAR, I would like to see Jeter finish in the 80s….

    There are a few hall of famers with a WAR around 70 I believe… and some players who I believe were vastly inferior to Jeter with that number, but once you get into the 80s… that's where you start to see the "inner circle" of Hall of Famers

  2. It was great to see his revival in the second half. It will certainly give me pause if (when?) he struggles again. It was mainly an empty .331 which doesn't exactly bode well for future success but I still loved every minute of watching him play up to Jeterian standards. I am too young to know a team without this guy, and am glad he made me falshback to my early years watching the Yankees, and hearing how great he is.