Is it time to drop Derek Jeter in the batting order?

5 Jan

Is it time for Derek Jeter to take up residence at a new slot in the batting order? For as long as anyone can remember, Jeter has hit leadoff or in the two hole – and done quite well with it. The thing is, Jeter is not a kid anymore. Although he hit into far fewer double plays in 2011 than recent memory (since 2003 to be exact), DJ just doesn’t run as well as he used to. he is a bit slower out of the box, and than lends itself to more GIDP’s than one would normally enjoy seeing from a top of the order guy.

The problem with Jeter isn’t just a matter of grounding into double plays though. He doesn’t have much pop in his bat. Power isn’t a big part of his game, but let’s be real – Jeter has been lacking the kind of gap to gap power that kept him slashing extra base hits for years. He isn’t working too many walks anymore. Bless the guy, but Jeter is a different hitter now than he was even three years ago. To pretend otherwise is absurd. Just because he is a different hitter than before doesn’t mean he isn’t a guy I want in the lineup. Jeter can still get things done with the bat, they’re just different things than we have grown accustomed to.

It won’t happen now, or easily if it ever does, but Jeter is an ideal bottom of the order hitter. If Gardner were to hit lead off, it makes even more sense to move Jeter to the 8 or 9 hole.if the Yankees engineered a lineup that had Gardner up top with his speed and ability¬† to work pitch counts, they are a bit ahead of what Jeter provides there right now. It’s tempting to say that would just make Jeter a two hole hitter, but really, that slot needs to go to a guy like Granderson. Teixiera, A-Rod and Cano are going to chew up the 3-5 slots. Jeter doesn’t make sense as a 6 or 7th hitter. He has to hit somewhere though.

This isn’t a knock against Jeter. To be honest, if he was told this was coming, he’d likely do it and be every bit as professional as he’s ever been – not like Posada handled the news in 2011which was infantile at best. It won’t happen for a while though. At least not in this contract. Something tells me he will retire before it gets to that point – not that there is any shame hotting at the bottom of the Yankee lineup. We love ya Derek, but let’s be real – it’s time for a change.

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