August 5, 2010

Answering Sherman: Why Jeter is scoring

Joel Sherman ended this morning’s column calling his readers to answer a question. I believe I have found at least part of that answer.

Sherman noted Derek Jeter is on pace to score 11 more runs than last year despite having a worse overall season. Then he goes on to say that the 2-3-4 hitters behind him last year had better years than the 2-3-4 hitters this year. I think he’s right in a general sense, but wrong in terms of production — which is what we’re talking about here — runs.

In short, the 2-3-4 hitters have been far more clutch than they were last year — and I believe that accounts for the increase in runs for Jeter. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

I’m going to use batting average with runners in scoring position to compare because I believe this percentage has a direct correlation with RBIs.

Year Player BA w/RISP RBIs through 8/4
2009 Johnny Damon .299 60
2010 Nick Swisher .330 66
2009 Mark Teixeira .264 78
2010 Mark Teixeira .321 81
2009 Alex Rodriguez .265 60
2010 Alex Rodriguez .293 87

Plus, as you can obviously guess, there is a huge difference between last year’s No. 5 hitter (Hideki Matsui) and this year’s (Robinson Cano), which might account for at least some of Jeter’s extra runs.

So you see, the hitters behind Jeter are making up for Jeter’s sub-par season and account for his increase in runs. If anyone figures out another possible reason why Jeter’s scored more, please, be my guest.

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