Bat Jeter Leadoff
Letís state the obvious here: Derek Jeter hasnít hit a lick this year. Heís managed a .254/.312/.300 (71 wRC+) batting line through 234 plate appearances and ranks dead last out of 167 qualified hitters with a .047 ISO. Even Ben Revere has hit for more power. According to Baseball Savant, Jeter has seen the highest rate of pitches over 90 mph (55.2%) among players with at least 100 at-bats, and against those pitches he has the lowest ISO (.019!) and the fifth lowest batting average (.235) in baseball. Opponents know he canít hit fastballs so theyíre throwing the ball right by him. Itís sorta embarrassing at this point.
And yet, because heís Derek Jeter, heís batted second all season and heíll continue to bat second going forward. The Yankees have made it clear they wonít do anything to upset their captain ó remember when they gave him a raise for no apparent reason over the winter? that was weird ó and at least part of that is due to the fact that his retirement tour is a cash cow. Attendance, ratings, and merchandise sales would take a hit if Jeter is given a lesser role. The Yankees are all about winning, as long as it doesnít upset Jeter or hurt their bottom line.
So, the club is stuck batting him in a prime lineup spot. Thatís reality and itís been made very clear. To make the best of a bad situation, the Yankees should move Jeter up a lineup spot, from second to leadoff. Why? Because it would allow them to bunch their four best hitters together. Rather than having the unproductive Jeter splinter Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the lineup, they could bat him leadoff, then go with Gardner in the two spot ahead of Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, and Yangervis Solarte.
Because the Yankees donít hit for any power ó theyíve hit four homers in their last 13 games, four! ó they have to string together base hits and walks to score runs. The best possible way to do that is to bunch your best hitters together in the lineup, not spread them out. All youíre doing is adding outs to the equation by spreading them out and that reduces the chances of scoring. Bat Jeter leadoff, get his at-bat out of the way, then give the teamís four best hitters a chance to do some damage. Donít try to include him in the rally because heís shown these last 62 games he canít help offensively.