Captain Clutch the new hit king?

Derek Jeter’s 2012 season has rapidly become a modern-day Juan Ponce de Leon story. Somehow, after an abysmal 2010 and a mediocre 2011, the one they call Captain Clutch has been graced by the Fountain of Youth. I don’t think any Yankee fans are complaining.

Despite turning 38-years-old earlier this summer, Jeter is currently leading the MLB in hits, ranks seventh in batting average, and is in the midst of his best season since 2009. I am by no means naïve enough to think that Derek Jeter has transformed back into the Jeter we all grew to know and love in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Do not expect Captain Clutch to continue to deliver like this day in and day out over the course of the next few years. Science and age are entirely against him.

Earlier this week (Tuesday), in a loss to the other Sox (Chicago), Jeter homered to claim his 3,256th career hit. An astonishing number to say the least, but also a special number. It brought Captain Clutch within 1,000 hits of the all-time hit king, Pete Rose. Rose’s 4,256 hits is one of those iconic numbers in sports that nobody ever could see falling. Could Mr. Jeter change that?

Pete Rose was also in the midst of his 17th full season as a 38-year-old playing for the Philadelphia Phillies (his first team other than the Reds). Amazingly, the one that was known as Charlie Hustle played until the ripe age of 45 (nothing too crazy like Roger Clemens). In his seven seasons after turning 38-years-old (from 39 to 45), Rose compiled 884 hits, an average of 126.29 a year. He only batted over .300 one time in those years, as a 40-year-old. Prior to becoming an old man, Rose had ten 200+ hit seasons.

In 16 full seasons (1995 he only played in 15 games), Jeter compiled 3,076 hits, an average of 192.25 a year. He also had seven seasons of 200 or more hits (this year will likely be number eight) and is the only New York Yankee to secure 3,000 hits. Jeter also has only had six seasons in which he slugged out less than 190 hits.

Both players are simply phenomenal. Consistency like this is not something you see every day, or really ever. The real question is does Jeter have the desire to play another five, six, or dare I say seven years? Captain Clutch is averaging 1.39 hits a game in 2012, putting him on a pace to end the season with 222 hits. This would give him a grand total of 3,310, 946 shy of Rose’s record. If Jeter were to hypothetically play five more seasons, he would need to average 189 hits a year. If Jeter were to play six more years, he would need to average 158 hits a year. And if he were to somehow keep it going until the ripe age of 45-years-old and play seven more seasons, he would need to average 135 hits. This would be feasible, but is it really desirable?

Jeter has never been about the records and individual accolades. He has always been about one thing: Winning. His current contract is set to end at the end of the 2013 season with a player option in 2014. After the debate that went down the last time Jeter was in contract negotiations, I do not think anybody wants to go through that again. If Jeter gets another ring this year or in 2013, his career will definitely be over. Even if he doesn’t, I do not see this guy playing into his forties the way Rose did. Jeter is a first-ballot Hall of Famer even if he retires right now. If you asked me today, I would say Charlie Hustle’s record is safe. Unless, Jeter decides to hold onto the Fountain of Youth for another half-decade. Continue reading Captain Clutch the new hit king?

Cueto brilliant in 10-2 Reds victory; Gordon unable to Aaron Small himself out of disappointing start

In a game the Reds sorely needed to win to avoid being swept at home, Johnny Cueto came up huge, hurling seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball — the lone blemish on his ledger a Nick Swisher solo home run in the second — and enabling the Reds to beat the Yankees 10-2. The loss snapped the Bombers’ four-game win streak — which tied the team’s high water mark for consecutive victories — prevented the Yankees from sweeping their third three-game set of the season and represented the team’s largest margin of defeat in 2011. Brian Gordon, who pitched well Continue reading Cueto brilliant in 10-2 Reds victory; Gordon unable to Aaron Small himself out of disappointing start

Nova spins finest game of career in 5-3 Yankee win over Reds

It would seem Pitcher-They’ve-Never-Faced Syndrome isn’t a Yankee-specific malady after all. Ivan Nova threw the finest game of his short career Monday night in Cincinnati, going a career-high eight innings, yielding one run on a season-high (and career-high tying) seven strikeouts en route to a 5-3 Yankee victory. It was also the first start of his career in which he didn’t walk a single batter. The only slight mar on this game was that the bullpen couldn’t get out of its own way in the ninth. With a four-run lead, Luis Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips. Continue reading Nova spins finest game of career in 5-3 Yankee win over Reds

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Reds: The curse of Austin Kearns

The Yankees last faced the Reds in a 2008 set at Yankee Stadium, and the last time they were at Cincinnati was in 2003. Quite a bit has changed for the Reds, who spent every season over the last 10 years as a below-.500 team (though for the most part, one that could often rake) until winning the NL Central last year for the first time since 1995, largely on the strength of the best offense in the National League (.339 wOBA). For their troubles they were swept out of the NLDS by the Phillies. The Reds are once again Continue reading Series Preview | Yankees vs. Reds: The curse of Austin Kearns

NL Central Race Could Be Important To Yankees Season

The Yankees probably have just enough starting pitching right now to make the postseason. They have 3 starters who should give them reasonably good performance and a few options who could surprise out of the last two slots, which should give them enough to contend for a playoff spot on the strength of their offense and bullpen. That said, I am sure that Brian Cashman will spend much of the year looking to add at least one more starter, as this team likely needs another quality arm to succeed in the postseason. While the market looks barren right now, plenty Continue reading NL Central Race Could Be Important To Yankees Season

Guest Post: Did the 2009 Yankees Produce the Greatest Infield (Plus Catcher) in MLB History? (UPDATED)

[image title=”article” size=”full” id=”15717″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ] This is a guest post from friend of the blog Jamal Granger. It is a meticulous piece of research and we are proud to be running it here at TYU. Endless thanks to Eric Seidman of Baseball Prospectus, who devoted his valuable time to supplying with me with the essential data for this post, and introduced me to the wonders of SQL (though, as I begin to immerse myself, I question whether “thanks” is the appropriate term …). The 1975 Cincinnati Reds were the topic of a recently published novel by celebrated sports Continue reading Guest Post: Did the 2009 Yankees Produce the Greatest Infield (Plus Catcher) in MLB History? (UPDATED)

Damon and Cincy

According to a report via ESPN, “a baseball source told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick” that “[Scott] Boras and [Johnny] Damon are trying to engage the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds as possible alternatives” to the Yankees. Though the Tigers-Damon connection is not new – Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated offered the possible marriage a few weeks ago – the Reds-Damon item is the first report I have read which explicitly links the two parties. It was only a matter of time before the Reds and Damon were connected, however, as Cincinnati has a clear need given their unsettled left field situation Continue reading Damon and Cincy