Blog Entry

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 12:46 pm
The biggest concern of the Yankees' opening weekend was Phil Hughes, whose startling spring training decline in velocity continued into an ugly first start of the regular season.

But what about Derek Jeter?

It's only three games, and it was cold, and everything could change a month from now, or even a week from now. But in the Yankees' first three games of the season -- and they won two of them, don't forget -- one of the most stunning sights was Jeter's lack of mobility at shortstop.

"I'm shocked," said one Northeast-based scout who has followed Jeter's career. "I know there's been a lot of talk about his range the last few years, and I didn't really buy it until last year. But [this weekend], it was really down. He didn't react to balls off the bat.

"He almost looks overmatched by the ball."

Again, it's possible this is just an early-season blip. A scout who watched the Yankees this spring in Tampa said that while Jeter's range was a little down, it wasn't shockingly bad.

Jeter didn't look good at the plate against the Tigers, either (2-for-10), but that's less of a concern now than his defense -- even if the defense is a long-term concern.

Hughes' lack of velocity is already significant.

Scouts noticed it all spring in Florida, when he was throwing his fastball 87-89 mph (as he did in Sunday's loss to the Tigers). The Yankees played it down publicly at that point, but as Joel Sherman revealed in Monday's New York Post , even during the spring Hughes and new pitching coach Larry Rothschild worked on his mechanics in an attempt to get the velocity back (Hughes regularly hit 94 mph last year).

As Hughes told reporters Sunday, "It is tough for me to pitch at this velocity."


A few other opening weekend thoughts:

-- The Giants' defense is a serious issue, enough so that it could end up being the reason they don't repeat. One scout who watched their opening weekend series in Los Angeles came away convinced that the Giants are below average defensively at almost every position in the field. "Barry Zito pitched a very good game [Sunday], and he should have won the game," the scout said. "[Zito] competes with the stuff he has. If the defense makes the plays behind him, he'll compete enough to be a fourth or fifth starter."

-- The Angels bullpen was bad against the scrappy Royals, but one scout who watched them came away talking more about how bad Scott Kazmir looked. "Terrible. No velocity. No command. No nothing," the scout said.

-- When I wrote last week about teams that benefit from fast starts, I really should have mentioned the Orioles as a team that would be interesting to watch this year. It's going to be hard to do in the AL East, but the O's have the good young pitching that can help carry the momentum when a team starts strong (e.g. Padres 2010). One thing to remember about the O's: If they somehow stay in the race through midseason, you can count on them to be aggressive in the July trade market. "We'll be all-in," one O's person said.

-- One more thing about the O's. Scouts who watched them this spring were not surprised to see Zach Britton pitch so well Sunday against the Rays. One scout said Britton was the Orioles' best pitcher this spring, and two more said that they liked Britton ahead of Yankees superprospect Manuel Banuelos, who got more attention. Britton only started Sunday because Brian Matusz was hurt, but there's already speculation that he'll stay in the rotation even when Matusz returns.


Since: Apr 4, 2011
Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:27 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

OMG, Jeter suddenly has no range. I guess he'll have to share the DH duties with Jorge.

Barto Colon, what a disgrace to the Yankee uniform. He's all of 5 ft 10 and 300 pounds. Babe Ruth and Lou Gerig rolled overr in their graves yesterday. The Yanks score 7 runs and they turn it over to fat Colon. What a way to toss in the towel. A sweep was right there for the taking.

Phil Hughes throwing in the mid 80's won't get anyone out this year. Time to send him back to the minors and bring up some young arms.

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:26 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Thank goodness people are recognizing this early on!

He somehow stole the Gold Glove from Elvis Andrus last season, but now I don't have to worry.

Elvis will win the next 10 Golf Gloves with this stiff about to retire!

Let's Go Rangers!!!

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:20 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

about your 80's yankee comments, the yankees won more games in the 80's then any other team.  they did not win a world series, but they played in one.  they lost to LA in 82 i think and had strong teams in the early 80's finishing in 2nd place a few times losing out to such teams the 84 tigers, the 85 jays and the 86 sox.  they still had good teams in the early to mid 80's, but there was no wild card remember, you had to be 1st to get into the post season!    guidry ran into arm problems by 86, never recovered he went down hill fast and that hurt.   

they yankees were only really bad from 87-91.  the dallas green, stump merril, andy "no hitter and still lose" hawkins teams.

Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:50 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Jeter's range is declining even more?  I smell another Gold Glove!  The fewer balls he touches, the better his fielding percentage.  Pretty soon he'll just have sit down in the outfield and have a perfect 1.000!

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:44 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

While I think Jeter's lack of range is a legit topic (how did he win a Gold Glove last year), the question "should Yanks worry about Jeter?" is just plain silly. He still swings a good stick and brings all the intangibles, plus the Yankees just extended him three years. It's not like they have any other option, so what's the point of worrying?

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:34 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

I was at Saturday's game and Jeter was fine.This is a non story. This &%*& just likes riling up Yankee fans.

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:20 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

I never get too crazy about the first series of the season. Wake me up when its May.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:18 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

More RedSox scouting  propaganda .....rediculous

Since: Jul 15, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:13 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Hey seligsabum:

You have zero basis for accusing the Yankees of lacking integrity and motivation.  Zero.  In fact, I dont see how that has any relation to this blog post.  Are you saying Hughes velocity is down because he lacks motivation?  Or Jeter's range is down because he lacks integrity?  Also, the Yanks won their first since your an obvious hater, shouldnt you wait to post something like this when they are struggling?

Man, there should really be a screening process for comments. 

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:05 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

It's 3 games.  Last time I checked, they played 162.  So, having this conversation 1.85% of the way into the season is just silly.  That would be like me saying the Redsox are a complete bust because they are 0-3.

Jeter's defense isn't what it used to be, no surprise there.  But, give him a chance.

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