Just How Good is Derek Jeter?
Here is the short answer.Â At the end of the 2009 season, Derek Jeter moved into 6th place among the best shortstops of the modern era (since 1920).Â For more details, keep reading.
Bill Jamesâ€™ Win Shares system is the most comprehensive tool available to understand how good a season a player had.Â It includes offensive and defensive contributions and adjusts for all relevant factors.Â The CAWS Career Gauge (Career Assessment/Win Shares) uses win shares to measure how good a career a player has had.
According to the CAWS Gauge, as of the end of the 2009 season, only ninety-seven (97) position players (not pitchers) have put together obvious HOF numbers during their playing careers (since 1920).Â Thirteen of these players have been shortstops.Â Of these thirteen, Derek Jeter is in the 6th spot and moving up.
At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Jeter was in 8th place among these elite shortstops.Â Given his outstanding 2009 season he was able to move up two places in a single season.
Here are the thirteen shortstops who have put together obvious HOF numbers during their careers (since 1920).Â The first number is career win shares, the second is core value (the win shares for the ten best seasons) and the third is the CAWS score.Â Bold print indicates the player is in the Hall of Fame.Â A CAWS score of 250 is needed to establish obvious HOF numbers for a shortstop.
|4.||Cal Ripken Jr.
|10.||Pee Wee Reese
Yes, Alex Rodriguez is still considered a shortstop since (through 2009) he has played more games at that position than at any other.
Note that Jeter has a core value of 273.Â That means that for his ten best seasons he averaged better than 27 win shares per season.Â To appreciate how good that really is consider that in 2009, only six American Leaguers and seven National Leaguers had 27 or more win shares.
As an aside, note where Barry Larkin appears on this list.Â He is the 8th best shortstop of the modern era.Â He has very obvious HOF numbers.Â Yet, in his first year on the HOF ballot (2010), he got only 51.6% of the vote.Â And, of course, Alan Trammell still languishes at 22.4% in his ninth year on the ballot.Â It does appear that many of the voters need to do some homework before voting.
It is reasonable to say that if Derek Jeter can have one or more really solid seasons there is no reason to believe that he cannot continue to pass some of these other shortstops â€“ although that gets increasingly difficult to do as he moves higher.Â And, as you can see, there is almost no chance that his numbers will ever surpass those of ARod.
In case you are wondering where some other well-known shortstops stand in relation to these top performers, here are a few other names.
Note that on this list there are six shortstops who are in the Hall of Fame but who do not have HOF numbers according to the CAWS Gauge.Â And also note that Miguel Tejada is fast approaching the 250 benchmark for shortstops.
Not only has Derek Jeter already posted obvious HOF numbers in his career, but he appears poised to finish that career ranked among the top five shortstops of the modern era.