DK wrote:Adding on to LBJackal, don't pay attention to fielding percentage. To make an error, you at least have to do something right in the first place, unless the ball was hit at you. An error is a moral judgement by the scorekeeper, a record of what he thinks should have happened.
Pay attention to ZR (Zone Rating) and RF (Range Factor). Jeter's fielding statistics in each of these two have been among the worst in baseball the past four or five years.
Every time I hear about Jeter's fielding I hear "well, he makes this great diving play and turns and flips the ball home and blah-blah-blah".
First of all: The only reason he dives for everything is because he doesn't know how to position himself for certain hitters.
Second of all: He dives for everything and doesn't get everything. Those few times he does catch it, people make a huge deal out of it. In the Bill James Abstract, James mentions a 3rd basemen whom everyone considered to be a great fielder (His name escapes me). However, all he did was dive- for everything. He was just trying to look flashy.
Think of it this way. A pull hitter is up. Most shortstops think "OK, this guy is a pull hitter, so let me move over two steps". Jeter thinks, "I wonder how many women are looking at me". Then, smash! A ground ball to the side of Jeter. He makes a diving stab at the ball and snares it. The crowd applauds. The other SS, recognizing the pull hitter beforehand, makes a simple backhand grab, and nobody applauds him... The amount of balls hit to Jeter that he misses due to positioning DOES cost the Yankees games. It's just that the offense of that team makes up for his defense.
Fair enough, but the Yankees never had a superior offense over the 4 years that the Yankees won world series with him at short.