September 25, 2021

Just How Good is Derek Jeter?

April 21, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Here is the short answer.  At the end of the 2009 season, Derek Jeter moved into 6th place among the best shortstops of the modern era (since 1920).  For more details, keep reading.

Bill James’ Win Shares system is the most comprehensive tool available to understand how good a season a player had.  It includes offensive and defensive contributions and adjusts for all relevant factors.  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).  Thirteen of these players have been shortstops.  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.  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).  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.  Bold print indicates the player is in the Hall of Fame.  A CAWS score of 250 is needed to establish obvious HOF numbers for a shortstop.

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
1. Alex Rodriguez 1994- 422
2. Arky Vaughan 1932-1948 356 308 320
3. Robin Yount
1974-1993 423 278 314
4. Cal Ripken Jr.
1981-2001 427 276 314
5. Luke Appling
1930-1950 378 275 301
6. Derek Jeter
1995- 348 273 292
7. Joe Cronin
1926-1945 333 275 290
8. Barry Larkin 1986-2004 347 258 280
9. Ernie Banks
1953-1971 332 247 268
10. Pee Wee Reese
1940-1958 314 246 263
11. Lou Boudreau
1938-1952 277 255 261
12. Alan Trammell 1977-1996 318 238 258
13. Ozzie Smith
1978-1996 325 226 251

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.  That means that for his ten best seasons he averaged better than 27 win shares per season.  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.  He is the 8th best shortstop of the modern era.  He has very obvious HOF numbers.  Yet, in his first year on the HOF ballot (2010), he got only 51.6% of the vote.  And, of course, Alan Trammell still languishes at 22.4% in his ninth year on the ballot.  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 – although that gets increasingly difficult to do as he moves higher.  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.

Vern Stephens 265 239 246
Miguel Tejada
261 239 245
Joe Sewell 277 233 244
Jim Fregosi 261 226 235
Dave Bancroft 269 222 234
Tony Fernandez 280 219 234
Rabbit Maranville
302 206 230
Bert Campaneris 280 210 228
Maury Wills 253 218 227
Phil Rizzuto
218 221
Luis Aparicio
193 218
Omar Vizquel
182 205
Travis Jackson
191 196

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.  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.

If anyone would like to get a free e-copy of Michael Hoban’s 100-page monograph: A HOF HANDBOOK: Who Belongs and Who Does Not, please e-mail him at


3 Responses to “Just How Good is Derek Jeter?”
  1. Jimbo says:

    Jeter = Most Overrated Player in the history of baseball


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] media pieces have come up recently worth noting about Jeter. First, Michael Hoban points out at that ranking Jeter by Win Shares and Core Value (win shares for a player’s top ten seasons), […]

  2. […] media pieces have come up recently worth noting about Jeter. First, Michael Hoban points out at that ranking Jeter by Win Shares and Core Value (win shares for a player’s top ten seasons), […]

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