Using Pete Rose to Determine Derek Jeter’s Future

Player A from seasons age 22-36:

2280 G, 1680 R, 2914 H, 464 2B, 60 3B, 234 HR, 323 SB, 85 CS, .314 BA, .385 OBP, .453 SLG, .838 OPS, 119 OPS+

Player B from seasons age 22-36:

2346 G, 1554 R, 2966 H, 521 2B, 108 3B, 143 HR, 122 SB, 100 CS, .311 BA, .380 OBP, .433 SLG, .813 OPS, 126 OPS+

These two players are 66 games , 126 hits , 57 doubles , 48 triples , 101 homers , 201 stolen bases, 15 times caught stealing, .003 BA points, .005 OBP points, .020 SLG points, and 0.25 OPS points apart. Some in favor of Player A and others in Player B.

By now I should tell you that Player A is Derek Jeter and Player B is Pete Rose.

My point is that Jeter and Rose have had very similar careers so we could probably use the rest of Roses career to at least get an idea of what to expect from Jeter the rest of the way.

Here is the average season for Rose from his age 37 season through his age 39 season:

161 G, 96 R, 197 H, 44 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 15 SB, 9 CS, .305 BA, .377 OBP, .401 SLG, .779 OPS, 114 OPS+

Considering that Jeter had a better average, OBP, and SLG for his seasons from age 22-36 it is realistic to consider that Jeter could potentially put up at least similar numbers to Rose from 37-39. Which would mean that his triple slash line over the next three seasons would be somewhere around .305/.377/.401. That’s not bad and I think the Yankees would gladly sign up for.

The big fight is over the years after that though, his age 40, 41, and 42 seasons. This is when we really started to see some drop-off in Rose’s abilities. He starts his age 40 season with a .781 OPS, but the drops to .683 and then to .602. Here are his three year averages:

140 G, 68 R, 144 H, 19 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 6 SB, 6 CS, .278 BA, .349 OBP, .336 SLG, .684 OPS, 92 OPS+

I don’t think the Yankees would especially like it if this was the type of production they got out of Jeter over these three years, but it wouldn’t kill them. The thing is, Rose was much better in his age 40 season than 41 or 42. So let’s take a look at the averages from those two years:

156 G, 66 R, 146 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 8 SB, 8 CS, .260 BA, .332 OBP, .315 SLG, .647 OPS, 81 OPS+.

The Yankees certainly would like to avoid this out of their starting shortstop. Especially since they could get this kind of production from plenty of players that would be available on the free agent market. Then when you factor in Jeter’s likely defense at this age, he would be easily replaceable.

Essentially, if you are willing to bet that Jeter, who has put up Rose like production so far during his career, can continue that trend over the next few years – the Yankees would be smart to try to hold him to a three year deal. It probably wouldn’t kill them to go to four years though. They should at all costs try to avoid signing a five or six year deal though as those last couple of seasons they would be getting below league average production from him offensively and probably bad defense to go along with it.

So in the end, I would recommend that the Yankees try like hell to stick with signing Jeter to a three year deal. It won’t kill them to offer him a fourth year, but they should avoid it. And no five year deals. End of story.

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11 Responses to Using Pete Rose to Determine Derek Jeter’s Future

  1. Mike S. says:

    One thing about the comparison. Jeter is at SS. Rose was at 3b at age 37 (1978 Reds) then went to 1b in 1979 when he went with the Phils. Defensively speaking, there wasn't the need for as much range from Rose as you would want from Jeter at SS. As far as Jeter going to 3B/1B as Rose did, well we know that's out.

    • Lucas Weick says:

      That is a good point Mike, but Jeter (if he remains a Yankee) has the oppertunity to be a DH every once and a while to give him a rest. Plus a position change to the outfield is always an option.

      • Problem with moving Jeter to the outfield is that he doesn't have the power to play the corner spots and would become a liability offensively. He probably doesn't have the range to play center and would remain a defensive liability. At this point Jeter is only switching positions if they absolutely have a hands down better option at short. Or they have a desperate need in center.

  2. d. prattt says:

    Rose, however was obsessed with advancing his personal stats during his final years, much more so that Jeter appears to be, so the older they get, the less valid the comparison becomes.

    • I don't buy this. Jeter is obsessed with winning. While he's not obsessed with his own personal stats, he does know that the better he does the easier it is going to be for the team to win. He's also very prideful and is going to want to rebound from an embarrassing 2010.

      • d. prattt says:

        When Rose became manager, he kept putting himself in the game when he shouldn't and despite his low batting average, just so he could build up his record hit count.

  3. david k. says:

    I don't see how you can compare people decades apart with the tail end of their careers. That's too simplistic. I don't see Jeter getting close to 200 hits next yr. He was always an aggressive hitter, so in that case you had better be great at hitting the fastball, which he was for a long time. Now he is not consistently hitting line drives to right early in the count as in the past. Plus, if anything, he is even more impatient now than ever. He swings at the first or seocnd pitch almost every time up. Even worse, when he swings at the first pitch, he almost always puts in in play. It's either a hit or an out. He does not work the count like a lead off man should. At his best, he had .400 on base. I'd don't see anything close to that now. So what I'm saying is you can't say Pete Rose put up such and such numbers in his last few yrs, therefore Jeter will do such and such. He is only half the player he once was. I do agree on giving him only 3 yrs at most. If he walks, then so be it. Eduardo Nunez is at least as good right now.

  4. Obviously it's a little simplistic, but I just found it amazing how similar their statistics have been while at the same age in their careers.

    Jeter has always struck out a lot more than Rose, but he's been consistent with it though. So his statistics should be consistent as well.

    I'm not sure most of what you said really matters. Jeter first pitch strike percentage is right in line with his career norms in 2010 as was his swinging strike percentage. His groundball rates were pretty much normal as well. So if all of that has been consistent, it means Jeter could still be capable of having a good season.

  5. dondbaseball says:

    Rob, I like the "idea" of the comparison but Rose played in a much tougher pitcher dominant era as evidenced by his 126+ OPS vs. Jeter's 119+. Plus Rose was a switch hitter, allowing him greater statistical advantage in 70% of his at bats. While I would like to think of Jeter as the superior athlete, Rose's abilities to tinker with his swing when things went wrong vs. Jeter NOT adjusting have me a bit suspect of his continued success like Rose's.

  6. Again, I don't know if your points throw off this comparison. The difference in OPS+ only means that Rose was a slightly, 7 points is a small difference, better compared to his competition. They still put up extremely similar numbers for years. The fact that Rose had tougher competition doesn't change that and I don't see how it would change Jeter's future production.

    Also, players have to adjust throughout their entire careers, not just at the end. Jeter has adjusted very well. He's just not a sit down and make a plan kind of guy, but he has been very adaptive throughout his career. I'm not sure I buy that argument either.