2009: The 2009 season was Derek Jeter’s 14th full season in the big leagues and many analysts, “professionals”, and fans were wondering if Jeter would finally start to show his age. In Jeter’s previous 13 seasons he consistently put up star numbers, never having an avg under .290, and always came up in the big moments for the Yankees. After losing the World Series in 2001 and 2003 he went into 2009 hoping he could lead his team to their first title since 2000, and his fifth overall.
For the team as a whole April was a very average month as they finished with a 12-10 record, and Jeter was no exception hitting a good but not eye popping .287 in April with 4 HR and 12 RBI. The rest of the 1st half was far from average for Jeter as he hit over .300 in May and June and went into the All Star break with a .321 average with 10 HR and 37 RBI.
After the break Jeter continued right where he left off finishing July with a .357 avg, but he didnt stop there. Jeter’s best month came in August where he set season highs in batting average- .377, HR- 6, and RBI- 17. Jeter’s second half was almost unreal as he would wind up hitting .351 in the 71 games he played in. Not only did he prove the nay-sayers wrong by not slowing down with his age, but he also seemed to give an exra gear in ’09 stealing 30 bases, more than ’08 and ’07 combined! Jeter added a phenominal postseason hitting .344 with 3 HR and 7 RBI to help lead his team to their 27th World Series Title. Jeter definitely put together an MVP season, but unfortunately once again a Twin stood in his way. In the end I think Jeter will gladly take his fifth ring over an MVP award.
2009 Regular Season Totals: 107 Runs 212 Hits 18 HR 66 RBI .334 AVG .406 OBP 30 SB
Awards: 3rd in AL MVP Voting, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Roberto Clemente, AL Hank Aaron, and SI Sportsman of the Year.
2010: Much like 2009 the 2010 season will begin the same way for Jeter. He will have to hear all the stories about his body is just about ready to break down, and how he is bound to have a bad season. My opinion: I will believe it when I see it! Nothing about Jeter’s game shows he is wearing down and in this season Jeter may have more to prove. As many Yankee fans know the team refuses to negotiate contracts before they expire and it seems Jeter is no exception. Many people may see it as a lack of respect for the Yankee captain, but I see it as even more motivation. Jeter should go into this season wanting to prove he deserves a contract that will take him well into his retirement. After his great season this past year expectations will be high and he is the one man who knows how to shame a high expectation by leaping over it.
This season will bring new challenges for Jeter and his success may lie in the hands of his new number two hitter, Nick Johnson. If Jeter’s protection doesn’t perform well pitchers will not give Jeter anything to hit and his numbers will suffer. It will also be essential for the 7-9 hitters in the lineup to get on base for Jeter to have RBI opprotunities.
On June 26th, 2010 Derek Jeter will be celebrating his 36th birthday (the Yankees will be playing Joe Torre’s Dodgers in LA) so its no secret we are watching Jeter play in his final years. Who knows how many more years Jeter will play, 2014 seems to be the most popular assumption, so it is very important that we as fans appreciate whatever our captain gives us in the rest of his career. Lucky for us this is Derek Jeter we are talking about and chances are his final seasons will show very little wear and tear. Overall what do I expect from Jeter? A superb season which once again will somehow go under the radar.
2010 Regular Season Prediction: 112 Runs 207 Hits 16 HR 72 RBI .329 AVG .402 OBP 24 SB