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: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:58 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Jeters range has been on the decline for a few years now.  This is no surprise.

Since: Mar 8, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:51 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

I love the panic mode sportswriters and certain fans apply almost daily throughout the season. It amazes me how such garbage even makes it on this site. I watched most of the first 3 games and Jeter missed one repeat one ball. Also you notice these so called scounts don't have names. Their first names are national and american. lol If these "scouts" are such talent guru's then they should be looking for the next Derek Jeter. 3 games into a

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:45 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

This is the same egotistical blueprint the Yankees lost with throughout the 80's, big names..most players lacking integrity &motivation..and a horrid pitching staff..excluding the bullpen. How many titles in the 80's???

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:36 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

I know right?  Jeter could be playing short in a walker and Forest Gump leg braces and still win the GG.  Jeter's GG last year was about as valid as Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. 

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:35 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

This guy loves giving out Knoblers. What an irrelevant story. 3 games in and this is all this tool could come up with.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:33 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

im a baseball fan and not a  knowledgable baseball "i can tell what pitch he's throwing blah blah".. but  anybody  could tell 5 years ago that Jeter's  defense has been bad .. and the  gold glove is just an absolute joke..  yankee homer etc..    if you just now noticed this and buying "IT"  than  you are  a  yankee homer and shouldnt  be writing anything in regards to the yankees

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:28 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

Gah, Jeter 2 for 10. That includes his "excuse me" check swing for a single...

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:26 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

nice...biggest Sham ever!

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:24 pm

Should Yanks worry about Jeter?

But wait! I thought Jeter won a Gold Glove last year!! Like we needed more evidence that that particular Gold Glove decision was among the biggest award-related jokes in recent baseball memory.

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