Last night, Derek Jeter tied Willie Mays for 11th on the all-time hit list:

1.	Pete Rose           4256
2.	Ty Cobb+            4189
3.	Hank Aaron          3771
4.	Stan Musial         3630
5.	Tris Speaker        3514
6.	Cap Anson           3435
7.	Honus Wagner        3420
8.	Carl Yastrzemski    3419
9.	Paul Molitor 	    3319
10.	Eddie Collins       3315
11.	Derek  Jeter 	    3283
 	Willie  Mays        3283

How high might Jeter finish on the all-time list?

Well, for starters, Jeter is signed through the 2013 season with a player option for 2014. So let’s assume he plays 2 more years, and let’s figure that some injuries derail him a bit and he plays in 250 games out of  a possible 324. Let’s also assume that he bats .290 and hits in similar spots in the lineup as the last few years.

Jeter has averaged 4.08 at-bats per game played. Over 2009-2012, Jeter has averaged 4.20 at-bats per game played, so in these next 250 hypothetical games we can expect 1051 a-bats. At a .290 batting average, that would be another 305 hits.

Also, tack on another projected 26 hits for the remainder of 2012.

That would take Jeter to a total of 3609, good for 5th all-time. This seems quite likely, if only because I suspect he’s quite likely to get 250 more games even if that extends beyond the next 2 years.

After these next 2 years, Jeter will be 40 and it’s really hard to guess if he’ll play more. He has always played through injuries and it’s not hard to imagine him continuing to play even as it gets quite difficult after age 40. Could he, perhaps,. squeeze out another 250 games after the first hypothetical set of 250? Let’s say he can, but that he bats a little less frequently (lower in the order) and at only a .270 clip. With just 4 at-bats per game and a .270 average, those final 250 games would produce 270 hits. That would push his career total to 3879.

A total of 3879 would be good for 3rd, but a pretty far cry from second place Ty Cobb, who accumulated 310 more hits than where we hypothetically have Jeter. And he’d be 42 at this point. So I don’t see him getting any higher than 3rd.

Let’s now imagine the best-case scenario: Jeter plays 4 more years, and let’s just say he gets 200 hits per year. Toss in the 26 more for 2012, and that’s 4108. At that point, he’s 81 shy of second-place Cobb.

So, pretty much any way you slice it, Jeter is likely to finish between 3rd place and 5th place all-time in hits.

 

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