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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fielding guru John Dewan on Derek Jeter at shortstop: He is the worst

One of the biggest concerns surrounding Derek Jeter now that he is toward the tail end of his career is defense.  If and when the time comes that he is no longer a viable shortstop, who’s going to tell the Yankee captain he has to switch positions? According to fielding guru John Dewan — who is the author of “The Fielding Bible” and a respected defensive statistician — that time has already come. In fact, Dewan would argue that Jeter is one of the worst shortstops in the game.

“Jeter is the worst,” Dewan said according to the Boston Herald. “His biggest problem is his arm. For an average baseball player, he has a pretty good arm. For an average person in the population, he has a great arm. For an average MLB shortstop, that’s his biggest problem. He can’t play deep enough. He can’t make that throw from the hole. He makes that jump-throw, which looks good and gets the job done once in a while, but it ain’t like other shortstops who plant and gun that ball to first.”

How dare he? Based on Dewan’s system of fielding statistics, the five-time Gold Glove winner cost the Yankees 15 runs defensively last season. That was more than any other shortstop in baseball, by far. Brendan Ryan of the Mariners was the best shortstop based on Dewan’s system, having saved 18 runs for Seattle. Dewan says Jeter could handle himself at third base range-wise, but his arm would hurt him there, too.

“Jeter probably could play third,” he explained. “Would he be as bad as he is at shortstop? Probably not. But I don’t know if he’d be all that good, because his arm is not that strong. You need a strong arm at third, too.”

If Dewan and Bobby Valentine haven’t already met each other, they are about to become best friends.

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