Derek Jeter is not overrated, says Buster Olney

Buster Olney wants people to stop calling Derek Jeter overrated

2/24/14 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Feb 22, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) poses for a photo at Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsDerek Jeter's retirement announcement has spurred a lot of talk about him and his legacy, both positive and negative.

Buster Olney of ESPN has apparently heard lots of people say Jeter is overrated, and wants to squash that mentality, so he wrote an entire column (In$ider) about why Jeter is one of the greatest players of all time.

Unfortunately, what Olney doesn't realize is that by comparing Jeter to guys like Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and others that he mentioned in the column, he's exacerbating the problem.

Of course Jeter is overrated, if people like Olney want to say his name in the same breath as guys like that.

The argument for Jeter's greatness always starts and ends the same way.

Step 1: They instantly get defensive about Jeter's defensive shortcomings, and try to jump out ahead of the curve by mentioning them first. Olney does this, by pointing out that Jeter is essentially the worst defensive shortstop of his era:

Blog Photo - Derek Jeter is not overrated, says Buster Olney

Step 2: They compare him offensively to other shortstops, who were never in baseball for their offensive prowess. Olney follows lock-step in this format, as he proceeds to note that Jeter's offensive WAR more than makes up for his defensive efficiencies, and places him ahead of the other shortstops in his era.

Blog Photo - Derek Jeter is not overrated, says Buster Olney

Of course, Olney doesn't stop to consider the fact that a vast majority of shortstops are defensive specialists, and it's a position that has been traditionally defensively minded.

Step 3: Look at the postseason numbers that Jeter compiled, and pretend that he didn't have far more postseason at bats than anyone in the history of the game, or that he wasn't surrounded by HOF-laden $200M rosters.

Olney lauds Jeter's postseason performance, noting that he's far ahead of even the 2nd most prolific postseason hitter. Let's ignore the fact that Jeter played in an era with more postseason games than any other, and that he has played on the team with the highest payroll in the league for nearly his entire career.

Olney even goes so far as to acknowledge that Jeter didn't actually step his game up in the postseason, so he tries to give him credit for not shrinking in the clutch. As if "not sucking" is an argument for greatness.

Step 4: Completely disregard whatever hurts your argument.

Conveniently, in his attempt to elevate Jeter to godlike status, he omitted several of the best shortstops Jeter played with.

Omar Vizquel was one of the best defensive shortstops of all time. With a WAR just over 16 at shortstop during Jeter's career, he would have placed 2nd among defensive shortstops. Interestingly enough, he's nowhere on Buster's list.

Miguel Tejada and Nomar Garciaparra were both offensive-minded shortstops, with overall WAR as a shortstop of 45.8 and 42.4 during the Jeter era, respectively. But where are they in Buster's list? In an effort to make the gap between Jeter and the next best offensive shortstops, did he just decide to omit them entirely? Or was it just a sloppy, lazy oversight?

Aug 30, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) and shortstop Derek Jeter (2) play the infield against the Baltimore Orioles during the eighth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsLast but most certainly not least, what about Alex Rodriguez?

In only 9 seasons as a shortstop, A-Rod put up a WAR of 63.7, only 7.8 behind Jeter's 19-year total of 71.5. If A-Rod had played only one more season, he would have likely tied or even passed Jeter's WAR total in just over half the amount of seasons.

Yet instead of that happening, Jeter's stubbornness pushed the obviously superior (defensively AND offensively) A-Rod to third base, giving Jeter the opportunity to win the first Gold Glove of his career.

Why isn't A-Rod listed in any of Olney's lists? His defensive WAR alone is 17.9 higher than Jeter, and his offensive prowess runs circles around that of Jeter.

All of these reasons, among others, are why Derek Jeter is and will always be overrated.

Keep in mind: This is not to say that Derek Jeter isn't a great baseball player. He absolutely is, and deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

But when people twist the facts and skew reality in an effort to exaggerate his greatness, that's the textbook definition of overrating a player.

Congrats, Buster Olney, on proving yourself wrong.
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3/6/14   |   CoochiTickler69

He has a nice butt.

3/4/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

huskerdoug2009 wrote:
I meant to say Buster Olney.  Maybe this should have been your post about hating Jeter, instead of Pat's bringing up Buster Olney wanting everyone to quit calling him overrated.  

Yankee fans in general seem to view Jeter is being better than he really is.  I've even heard some put him up there with Ruth and Gherig.  Must be something in the water.  When Yankee supporters begin viewing him as the very good but not great player he is is when others will cease the "Jeter is overrated" talk.  It's as simple as that.

3/3/14   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

ML31 wrote:
Fair enough.  Except that it is about 15 years early to determine the quality of Posey's career.  One wonders why Posey was even brought up.  This discussion was about Jeter.  Not Posey.

I meant to say Buster Olney.  Maybe this should have been your post about hating Jeter, instead of Pat's bringing up Buster Olney wanting everyone to quit calling him overrated.  

3/1/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

huskerdoug2009 wrote:
Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, and I will share Buster Posey's opinion.  Posey, as long as he stays healthy will not doubtedly have a great "overrated" career as well.

Fair enough.  Except that it is about 15 years early to determine the quality of Posey's career.  One wonders why Posey was even brought up.  This discussion was about Jeter.  Not Posey.

3/1/14   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

ML31 wrote:
Anyone who felt Messier wasn't a great player until he won a Cup without #99 is just ignorant. 

That being said, I still fail to see the connection to the non baseball players you listed.  That is another discussion altogether.
The overrated comments tend to be from people who place him higher that he truly deserves.  Is he a very good player?  Sure.  Should he be mentioned among the great Yankees like Ruth and Gherig?  Absolutely not. 

Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, and I will share Buster Posey's opinion.  Posey, as long as he stays healthy will not doubtedly have a great "overrated" career as well.

2/28/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

huskerdoug2009 wrote:
I just find it laughable how many people call Jeter overrated.  Defensively I will slightly agree his name gave him some Gold Gloves over the years more than his numbers, of course same could be said about a lot of Gold Glovers/All Stars on a one season basis.  However overrated?  By end of 2014 he likely will be top 10 alltime in runs scored, top 5 or 6 in hits, top 100 in sb's and rbi's.  By the way the logic with Montana, is that he is considered by many to be the top qb of alltime even though his stats aren't in top 10.  Messier wasn't considered great until he won a cup with the Rangers,(minus Gretzky.)  Many label Pippen mediocre without Jordan.
(Edited by ML31)

Anyone who felt Messier wasn't a great player until he won a Cup without #99 is just ignorant. 

That being said, I still fail to see the connection to the non baseball players you listed.  That is another discussion altogether.
The overrated comments tend to be from people who place him higher that he truly deserves.  Is he a very good player?  Sure.  Should he be mentioned among the great Yankees like Ruth and Gherig?  Absolutely not. 

2/28/14   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

ML31 wrote:
I fail to see the logic comparing Jeter to the players you mentioned.  Messier was a great player and would have been great had he won ZERO Cups.  Montana was a great quarterback and would have been great even had he won ZERO super bowls.    Jeter was a good player and would still be a good player had he not played on the Yankees.  Post seasons do not make players great. 

I just find it laughable how many people call Jeter overrated.  Defensively I will slightly agree his name gave him some Gold Gloves over the years more than his numbers, of course same could be said about a lot of Gold Glovers/All Stars on a one season basis.  However overrated?  By end of 2014 he likely will be top 10 alltime in runs scored, top 5 or 6 in hits, top 100 in sb's and rbi's.  By the way the logic with Montana, is that he is considered by many to be the top qb of alltime even though his stats aren't in top 10.  Messier wasn't considered great until he won a cup with the Rangers,(minus Gretzky.)  Many label Pippen mediocre without Jordan.

2/25/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

huskerdoug2009 wrote:
I will simply say that I will take 25 "overrated" Derek Jeter's any day of the week over "more adequate" players.  If he is overrated, that's great, so are Joe Montana, Scottie Pippen and Mark Messier in their individual sports and yet all were great players on great teams who not always had the best season statistics, but showed up big in the playoffs and now are in their Hall of Fames.

I fail to see the logic comparing Jeter to the players you mentioned.  Messier was a great player and would have been great had he won ZERO Cups.  Montana was a great quarterback and would have been great even had he won ZERO super bowls.    Jeter was a good player and would still be a good player had he not played on the Yankees.  Post seasons do not make players great. 

2/25/14   |   SusanVette   |   8807 respect

Not going to happen. He IS overrated!

2/24/14   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

ML31 wrote:
The go to item Jeter fans love to point out are his post season stats.  Which quite frankly mean little to nothing.  After that, they like to point out his hit total.  Which I must admit is somewhat impressive and why he is a borderline Hall of Famer.  But high hit totals and playing on good expensive teams in an era when more playoff games were available than ever does not make a player great.  Finally, Jeter was an adequate shortstop at best.  And I do not need WAR to determine that.  WAR is certainly not the end all be all of baseball stats.  No single statistic is.  It is merely a small part of the larger picture.

I will simply say that I will take 25 "overrated" Derek Jeter's any day of the week over "more adequate" players.  If he is overrated, that's great, so are Joe Montana, Scottie Pippen and Mark Messier in their individual sports and yet all were great players on great teams who not always had the best season statistics, but showed up big in the playoffs and now are in their Hall of Fames.

2/24/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

The go to item Jeter fans love to point out are his post season stats.  Which quite frankly mean little to nothing.  After that, they like to point out his hit total.  Which I must admit is somewhat impressive and why he is a borderline Hall of Famer.  But high hit totals and playing on good expensive teams in an era when more playoff games were available than ever does not make a player great.  Finally, Jeter was an adequate shortstop at best.  And I do not need WAR to determine that.  WAR is certainly not the end all be all of baseball stats.  No single statistic is.  It is merely a small part of the larger picture.