One fantastic season: Derek Jeter’s playoff career

After yet another playoff appearance in 2012, Derek Jeter has now played in 158 career post-season games, essentially an exact full season. Looking at his numbers, the results are staggering.

So, first, take a look at his basic numbers:

G:  158
PA: 734
AB: 650
R:  111
H:  200
2B:  32
3B:   5
HR:  20
RBI: 61
BA:  .308
OBP: .374
SLG: .465

So, yeah, that’s awfully good for a guy who batted primarily 1st and 2nd in the lineup. The .374 OBP is awfully nice, as are the 111 runs scored.

But keep in mind which pitchers he’s faced–all playoff pitchers. These guys are, on average, better pitchers since they are members of playoff teams.

Here’s a list of some of the pitchers Jeter has faced most often in the playoffs. The key is plate appearances in the regular season plus playoffs (RS+PL), regular season only (RS), and playoffs only (PL).

                RS+PL   RS      PL
Pedro Martinez	121	99	22
Derek Lowe	80	61	19
John Lackey	91	75	16
Aaron Sele	81	67	14
Curt Schilling	71	57	14
Tim Wakefield	133	121	12
Cliff Lee	52	41	11
Johan Santana	49	38	11
Greg Maddux	28	17	11
Freddy Garcia	48	38	10
Bartolo Colon	51	42	9
Tim Hudson	44	35	9
Josh Beckett	104	96	8
Kevin Appier	58	50	8
Darren Oliver	54	46	8
J Verlander	49	41	8
Brad Radke	53	46	7
Al Leiter	45	38	7
Scott Erickson	67	61	6
Ervin Santana	55	49	6
Jarrod Washburn	51	45	6
Mark Mulder	41	35	6
Tom Glavine	39	33	6
Randy Johnson	17	11	6

There are an awful lot of good names on that list, which makes sense since these are guys who pitched their teams to the playoffs. I found more than 200 plate appearances against star pitchers in the playoffs, and that’s before we even look at the small numbers against lots of great closers. I have to think that this is a much better quality group than Jeter (or anybody) faced in a single regular season.

So, yeah–Jeter’s good.

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68 Comments on "One fantastic season: Derek Jeter’s playoff career"

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Mike L
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Nah, totally overrated. But a very nice post to find on a cold morning where baseball seems very far away. Thanks, Andy.

e pluribus unum
Guest
Those are great stats, Andy. This will sound like a twelve year-old’s comment, but I think that beyond his stats you have to add Jeter’s 2001 flip. As always, I was rooting against the Yankees when he made it, but I felt right away that I had never seen a better, more improbable play executed with greater leverage. People talk justfiably about Mays’s catch (which I was also rooting against), but in terms of combining athletic and mental performance at a critical juncture, I think Jeter set a new standard. Individual fielding plays don’t leave any special statistical record, but… Read more »
Howard
Guest

IMO Jeter’s greatest post season play was when he took a relay and nailed Timo Perez at the plate in game 1 of the 2000 WS. That was the game that Perez thought a Todd Zeile double was a HR and jogged just long enough to get thrown out and cost the Mets the game (the Yanks won 4-3 in 12).

Rob
Guest

This.

It’s amazing that its never mentioned while the flip is replayed ad infinitum.

Gootch7
Guest
As a lifelong Yankee fan (my favorite player as a kid was Chris Chambliss and I still have my Rawlings first base glove with his “signature” on it!) I’ve seen a bit of Jeter’s heroics. Of course the flip is memorable largely because of the sheer improbability of it all. Those of us who played baseball or even just watch a lot of games know that it’s punctuated by rhythms. There’s an in-game rhythm, that rises and falls with the score and the innings. There are seasonal rhythms, marked by a team’s tendencies to go on hot streaks or cold… Read more »
Chuck
Guest

“This will sound like a twelve year-old’s comment..”

No, that was covered by the the first one.

Jason Z
Guest

I think Mike L. is being facetious.

Mike L
Guest

I was. I’m a Jeter fan. It’s been a pleasure to watch him play.

Chuck
Guest

Sarcasm, and sometimes humor, doesn’t play well on the internet.

So, touche’.

birtelcom
Editor

Those career post-season numbers for Jeter are almost a clone of his own 2005 regular season numbers.

Jason Z
Guest

I agree EPM.

“The flip” is a singular play in baseball history.

No shortstop was ever taught to cut off a throw from
right field.

For Jeter to do it, at that moment was stunning.

Your explanation of combining athletic ability and mental performance
at a critical juncture explains this play perfectly.

As for the “catch” let me only add that I wish it was known
as the catch and throw.

And I further agree

Ed
Guest

Jason Z – But after Bobby Valentine criticized Jeter for being out of position on the play, Jeter shot back and claimed they do practice that play (though not with a flip). So I don’t know. And of course, there’s still the question of whether the tag was applied before Giambi touched the plate…

Mike L
Guest

Leave it to Bobby V, in that calm, contemplative, and non-jugemental way of his, to provide trenchant analysis.

John Autin
Editor

Putting those stats into perspective, here are the all-time postseason leaders for games played at SS (min. 20 games):

OPS – Garciaparra 1.016 (25 G), Jeter .838 (157 G), Jay Bell .818 (20 G), Peralta .816 (35 G), Concepcion .789 (31 G).

HRs – Jeter 20, Garciaparra & Peralta 7.

Games – Jeter 157, Renteria 66, Furcal 59, Vizquel 57.

Besides Jeter, none of the other 13 shortstops with 40+ postseason games OPS’d as high as .700.

BryanM
Guest

John – you posted a while ago that you were tempted to stop just short of 3000 – since then . I’ve watched you pass Clemente, Kaline etc. I believe this is your Dave Winfield post. May we call you “Mr May?”

Ed
Guest

Oh I think Rose is definitely looking over his shoulder. The only question is whether John passes him before or after Opening Day.

Hartvig
Guest
A couple of things to keep in mind. It’s not only easier to get into post-season play now than it was prior to 1969 or even 1995 but of course there are also the opportunity for far more games once you do. Of course it was easier to get into the World Series prior to 1969 and particularly prior to 1961. Now that I think about it, if you we’re a hitter who’s career was centered between 1961 and 1969 you really took it in the shorts. Not only did you have to play thru one of the worst eras… Read more »
deal
Guest

If my quick calculations are correct, I have the Yankees and Jeter at 98-60 W/L in those 158 games. nice clip 38 games over .500.

John Autin
Editor

Through the P-I, I have Jeter at 97-61 (.614), Bernie at 76-45 (.628), Posada 72-53 (.576), Tino 67-32 (.677), O’Neill 60-25 (.706).

(Totals are career, not just with the Yankees.)

deal
Guest

Yep 97-71 Thanks – I gave Yanks an extra W v the A’s in an NLDS.

That would be an good season record in a division w/ some bad O’s and Rays teams. really impressive to have done that in the playoffs.

I looked at Reggie’s Numbers – he had a lot of long Series and lost a few including a sweep L – not nearly as impressive as I thought it might be.

John Autin
Editor

Odd tangent: In Yogi Berra’s 75 postseason games (all WS, of course), he hit better in the losses:

– 43 Wins: .271/.785, 6 HRs
– 32 Losses: .279/.849, 6 HRs

It’s a small sample, of course, but compare it to Mantle just for fun:

– 31 Wins: .336/1.178, 12 HRs
– 34 Losses: .183/.658, 6 HRs

Doug
Guest
Here’s where Jeter stands in post-season rankings. Hits – 1st (Bernie is 2nd at just 128) Doubles – 1st Triples – tied 1st with George Brett and Rafael Furcal (!) BA – 30th (min. 100 PA), 8th (min. 200 PA), 3rd (min. 300 PA) HRs – 3rd behind Manny and Bernie RBI – 4th behing Bernie, Manny and David Justice SO – 1st BB – 5th For just the WS: Games – 38, tied 16th PA – 173, 10th Hits – 50, 5th Doubles – 9, tied 3rd (one behind Berra and Frisch) Triples – 1, tied 40th BA –… Read more »
John Autin
Editor
FWIW — Best guess for Yankee pennants during Jeter’s career, if it had been decided purely on best record in the league, is a coin flip between 8 and 9, which is 1 or 2 more than actual. With 4 to 14 more WS games, Jeter would move up from 16th to 6th-10th in WS games. But he wouldn’t move up much on the Yankee list; he’d be anywhere from #8 (his current spot) to #5. The Yankees had the AL’s best record 9 times: 1998-99, 2002*-04, ’06, ’09 and 2011-12. * In 2002, NYY and OAK both had 103… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Yes, it would seem obvious that they would want to win the division in 2010, but that is not how they played it. At all. They lost 8 of 11, giving up at least 7 runs in every loss.

One detail to encapsulate it:
Final game of the season, against the Red Sox, must win.
The starting pitcher was Dustin Moseley.
He was relieved by Royce Ring.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

And yes, they played a doubleheader the day before, with both games going 10 innings.
But still, Dustin Moseley !

In game two of the twinbill, the one they lost, Girardi did not use:
Robertson
Logan
Chamberlain
Wood
or Rivera… all of whom had played in Game 1.

The eighth inning lead was blown by…

Royce Ring.

He was relieved by Ivan Nova, who at the point was a pure rookie playing in his 10th game.

Nova lost the game in the 10th, in his 3rd inning of relief.

John Autin
Editor
Voomo — I know that the last game of 2010, Girardi’s personnel moves did not show much concern for winning the division. He may even have stated as much, that he’d rather have his #1 SP ready to start the playoffs than to use him in game 162 trying to win the division. But tracking that back 11 games is a big stretch. They did lose 8 of 11, but they used their regular rotation — Burnett, Sabathia, Pettitte, Nova, Hughes. I think the last game is the only game which you can reasonably say would have been managed differently… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Yes, you’re right that it’s unfair to track 11 games back.
In fact, I do just remember Girardi’s attitude at the end.

And what happened? They played a series without HF advantage against the Rangers and Cliff Lee. Bonk.

MikeD
Guest
SABR President Vince Gennaro presented the results of one of his studies a couple months back on players who maintain their level of performance against higher level of pitching during the regular season. Derek Jeter was one of the players he noted who maintained his hitting skill, or probably more accurately didn’t suffer as large a decrease when facing the leagues’ better pitchers. Gennaro then drew the connection between his study that looked at the regular season and postseason performance, where players as a group will more consistently see higher level pitching. The study was not about Jeter. He was… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

If you’re constructing a team with the post-season in mind as well as the regular season Lou Brock quickly becomes a much stronger candidate. And choosing between Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan and Eddie Collins suddenly becomes lot easier too.

Ed
Guest

Yeah Morgan was surprisingly bad in the postseason. His .182 batting average in 222 PAs has to be one of the worst ever for a HOFer with significant post-season playing time.

MikeD
Guest
Hartvig, to be clear(er),I’m not trying to construct a playoff team based on players who historically were strong in the postseason. I was referring to trying to build a team today using something similar to Gennaro’s data to identify which players were more likely to maintain their hitting standards against quality pitching. In theory, if two players were .280/.350/.450 hitters, but one of those two players maintained his hitting against quality pitchers, then I’d want that player out of the two. It’s obviously not that simple (or easy),but with more teams making the postseason, I wonder if any team would… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
MikeD- I know, I was just goofing around. To the point you we’re actually trying to make: I would guess that for a relatively major signing that there are so many more important variables in play- like we’re going to commit $15M a year to this guy for 5 years and will he be worth it? has he peaked? will his arm go out?- and the likely sample size so small that I doubt that it gets much consideration in most cases. Did the Red Sox think about that when they signed Josh Beckett? It’s possible they did I guess.… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Any team of All-Time Great Playoff players HAS to include Lenny Dykstra. His playoff OPS is 301 points higher than his regular season OPS. Homered once every 13.6 PAs in the post season, once every 65.1 in the regular season.

Nash Bruce
Guest

He played in only 32 games, but over almost a full season his numbers become: 50 homers, 30 doubles, 25 steals.

RBI Man
Guest

Lenny is one of the original juicers. Probably cycled on for the playoffs.

Ed
Guest

I’m not expert in using steroids, but I don’t think it’s possible to “cycle on” for the playoffs. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Dave V.
Guest
Out of Jeter’s 158 postseason games, I’ve attended 37 of them. Here are “my” Jeter stats in those 37 games (I save all of my ticket stubs and did some research on the games I’ve been to in person a few years back). G: 37 PA: N/A (have to find the sheet with his full listing) AB: 141 R: 27 H: 52 2B: 6 3B: 2 HR: 8 RBI: 24 SB: 5 BA: .369 OBP: .468 (roughly; because I don’t have my full stats handy, this was his % before the last 2 postseason games I’ve attended) SLG: .609 (roughly;… Read more »
Dave V.
Guest

And I was fortunate enough to see Jeter’s “Jeffrey Maier HR” against the Orioles, and well as his “Mr. November” against the Diamondbacks 🙂

Dave V.
Guest

Oh, and my favorite regular season game was actually a “Derek Jeter game” as it happens. I was at the Yanks–Red Sox game where Jeter dove into the stands to catch a ball and bloodied his face up making the catch. Between that play, the tenseness and energy of the crowd when the rivalry with Boston was at its height and then the Yankees getting a pinch-hit game-winning hit from John Flaherty of all people in the 13th inning…that gets the call for best regular season game.

John Autin
Editor
I remember the Bloody Jeter game, of course, but not the late-inning details: – Bottom 9th, Yanks had the winning run on 3rd with 1 out, but Sierra pinch-whiffed and Lofton grounded out. – Bottom 10th, A-Rod stole 3rd with 2 out, but Bernie lined out. – Top 11th, BoSox wasted 2nd/3rd, no outs. Mo IBB’d Varitek, then got Millar on the 5-5-2 DP and escaped. – Top 12th, BoSox had lead run on 3rd with 1 out, but Bellhord and Nixon popped up. – Bottom 12th, Yanks wasted Cairo’s leadoff triple, as Giambi (PH for Jeter) whiffed. – Top… Read more »
Dave V.
Guest

Those details bring back some good memories. I vividly remember Mariano escaping that bases loaded jam…what was crazy as it first seemed like a triple play on an amazing play by A-Rod. It wasn’t of course, but Rivera then got the next guy out to keep the game tied.

And yeah, Cairo was insane. I remember when he got that 13th inning hit, the crowd was going bananas. It may sound corny, but I’m smiling just continuing to think about that game 🙂

Dave V.
Guest

Just for the heck of it, here are “my” Jeter regular-season numbers, which are just barely over a full season’s worth of games (this is only through 2010, though I’ve been to only a handful of regular-season games the past 2 seasons):

G: 169 (out of the 174 regular-season games I went to over the course of Jeter’s career; he played in 169 of the 174 games those years)
PA: 749
AB: 681
R: 133
H: 231
2B: 37
3B: 3
HR: 26
RBI: 79
SB: 13
BA: .339
OBP: .399
SLG: .516

Ed
Guest

BTW, if we’re turning this into a Derek Jeter appreciation thread…did anyone else see what he did after the Newtown Massacre? One of the students who was killed was a big fan of Jeter’s. When Jeter found that out, he called the mom and talked to her for something like 30 or 40 minutes. The mom said that it absolutely made her day. I absolutely HATE the Yankees but it’s hard not to like Derek Jeter a lot.

MikeD
Guest

Althletes have the opportunity to have a positive impact in many ways, although I think some shy away, becoming uneasy and distrustful with all the attention they receive. This took less than an hour out of Jeter’s day, but it meant a great deal to a woman dealing with an incomprehensible tragedy. It would be great if others did similar when faced with the opportunity.

Now if you’re looking for a reason to dislike Jeter, or more appropriately be jealous, there is this:

http://elitedaily.com/elite/2013/derek-jeters-girl-hannah-davis-kate-upton/

Ed
Guest

Dislike him or be jealous or him??? 🙂

brp
Guest

No, just dislike.

mosc
Guest

Great thread. Now, come up with a stat that accounts for post season leverage and adds it in to career values. Bernie Williams probably wouldn’t have made it anyway, but it should make Jeter a near unanimous choice.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

It’s a very crude approach, but you could start be simply multiplying each playoff round by a set amount:

– first round (not sure what they’re calling it nowadays?): X2
– League Championship round: X4
– World Series: X6

No particular reason for the values, but if someone plays the maximum number of games (5/7/7, they would get credit for the equivalent of 80 games, or about half a season. This would add to their career totals, but drag down their rate stats if they played poorly.

birtelcom
Guest
mosc
Guest

I like the CPA instead of WPA approach, but WPA is a poor tool for generating career value. I also don’t know if the “Championship leverage index” makes a lot of sense. Game 7 of the world series is pretty special and all but a guy hitting a HR there might as well have struck out 600 times in 600 PA all year and still been an MVP candidate if you’re giving him 166.7 times the regular season value. That seems a little extreme even to me.

birtelcom
Editor
Bob Gibson gave up three World Series Game 7 home runs in his career (no one has given up more, and only Don Newcombe has given up as many). All three were hit in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series, after the Cards had taken a 6-0 lead with three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth. All three were low leverage events, resulting in little loss of win probability for the Cardinals. In fact if you add up the total negative WPA from all three of those homers, they are are entrely balanced out… Read more »
birtelcom
Editor

When Del Crandall retired as a player after the 1966 season, he was 6th all-time in career homers hit as a catcher.

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