Thursday, July 20, 2006

Arod & Jeter

I was listening to Chad Hartman on KFAN yesterday. I don't listen to him very often and here is another reason why. He really doesn’t know much about baseball.

An emailer sent in a good question wondering why Yankee fans are so hard on Arod but love Jeter so much. He compared them to Mantle and Maris. Mantle was loved dearly while Maris was booed. It didn’t make sense.

I thought it was a good comparison. Arod is a much better player than Jeter. In every facet of the game Arod is better, both offensively and defensively. Yet for some reason Jeter is considered a better team player and a better clutch hitter. This is false.

I thought since the day Arod came to NY if Jeter was such a good team player he would have moved to 3B or 2B. Arod was a coming off of 2 consecutive Gold Glove wins before coming to NY and for some reason he was expected to move to 3B. It is even harder to swallow since Jeter is possible the worst defensive SS in the league. Nobody who plays SS full-time has less range than Jeter, though he is improving.

It is Arod who is the team player. He took the move to 3B with grace and dignity while a lesser player played his position horribly.

Hartman also said if there was a player he wanted at the plate in a tight situation it would be Jeter. So I looked into it. I looked at hitting with runners in scoring position and hitting in Late Inning Pressure Situations (LIPS).

Over the last 3 years, since becoming a Yankee, Arod was better than Jeter in these situations. Some years Jeter was better at LIPS or hitting with runners in scoring position. But over the last 3 years Arod was better than Jeter.

The one knock against Arod is that this year in LIPS he has an OPS of about .570. That is ridiculously low. So maybe the pressure is finally getting to him. Or maybe it is because of the small sample size since he has had only 52 at bats in these situations this year.

And over all who would you rather want?
Here is an average season for Arod.
43 Hr 125 RBI 23 SB and AVG/OBP/SLG .306/.385/.573

Here is an average year by Jeter.
18 HR 82 RBI 24 SB and AVG/OBP/SLG .315/.387/.462

They are virtually the same players except that Arod has dramatically more power.

When looking at the amount of Runs Created (RC) that each has the argument isn’t even close. In the previous 2 years Jeter’s best year was not even as good as Arod’s worst year.

Over the last 3 years Arod has created 331 runs while Jeter has created a very respectable 291. Both are great but again Arod is the better player. That is a total of 4 more wins over the last 2.5 years. Not much but not enough to boo Arod. If we added in the defensive production the difference would even be greater between the 2 players.

The only reason to hate Arod is that he seems like a mercenary because of his high contract. Who can blame him? He was offered a ridiculous contract and he took it. Would anyone else do any differently? He is one of the 2 best players in the league over the last 10 years. And its not like Jeter is on food stamps.


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