Some even go so far as to claim that he's the best shortstop of all time, completely ignoring the fact that he's not even the best shortstop on his own team, and doesn't have even the smallest chance up against legends like Honus Wagner.
Perhaps there's something about longevity combined with a squeaky-clean reputation and a depraved NY media that ends up creating a monster that can't be controlled.
Now, despite the fact that Miguel Cabrera is a legitimate Triple Crown candidate and Mike Trout is putting together one of the greatest seasons of all time, some people feel the need to push Jeter into an MVP conversation in which he's completely outclassed in every way.
Here's a blind look at the 3 AL leaders in batting average:
Taking into account that the first guy on the list is an elite fielder at his position, and the other two are average at best, it's pretty clear who should be the MVP, right?
The top player, Mike Trout, should be the unanimous MVP at this point. If the Angels make the playoffs, I think he'll be a lock. Even if they don't, he would get my vote.
Even if you somehow decided that you couldn't vote for Trout, Miguel Cabrera would be a decent choice. He's the second player on that list, and he's also a clear choice over Jeter.
Jeter's the third player, and as you can see, his numbers are dwarfed by Trout and Cabrera across the board.
Derek Jeter is having a nice year. For a player his age, it's commendable. But do we really have to bring him up in the MVP discussion when it's so obvious that he simply doesn't belong?
Richard Justice's MLB.com column in which he attempts to force Jeter into the conversation is nothing short of embarrassing.
Justice doesn't even try to feign objectivity. From the start, he reveals his fanboy nature, starting his column with "There can't be a conversation about the American League's Most Valuable Player Award without including Derek Jeter, and doesn't that make this whole season even better?"
Does that really make the season better? Does the performance of any one individual player REALLY make the entire season better or worse? Would baseball really be worse off if Jeter was struggling and another player was instead having a better-than-expected season?
It gets worse, too.
For starters... "his job at the top of the lineup" is just code for "he's a slap hitter who strings together a bunch of singles." While that's nice, it's nothing compared to what Trout has done this year. It's insulting to even pretend that the two are comparable.
Nice defense? That's a stretch for Jeter, who has never been much better than an average fielding shortstop, even in his best years.
Winning? Sure, thanks to a lineup loaded with future Hall of Famers. Every time someone credits Jeter with winning, an angel loses his wings. It's one of the most overused, inaccurate trends in sports.
Also, his leadership is at best overhyped. Where was his leadership when Jorge Posada was having his tantrum with management? Jeter's leadership is right on par with that of Jason Varitek, the Red Sox captain who silently went down with the ship last September when they fell apart.
We've never seen Jeter and the Yankees have to struggle through true adversity, thanks to their ability to amass the best team money can buy. How can we really praise his leadership when it has been so damn easy?
Also, the idea that every day is a pressure cooker in New York is simply mistaken. You're on the same field as your opponent, and it's hard to buy the argument that playing for a team in first place by 8 games is the most pressure-filled situation.
Now, the Yankees are struggling to hold off the Orioles for the division lead. Does that mean Jeter's leadership is failing, or that he's no longer truly a winner? No. It just means those things were overstated from the start.
Jeter's a damn good player, and he's having an excellent season. But if you're going to place him on your MVP ballot, there's no way to intelligently justify him being anywhere higher than around 10th. Trout, Cabrera, Josh Hamilton, and even Robinson Cano are all head and shoulders above him. Never mind guys like Adrian Beltre and Austin Jackson, or even pitchers like Justin Verlander and Chris Sale.
Next time you try to argue with someone who says Derek Jeter is overrated, keep all of this in mind.