What a Healthy Derek Jeter Brings to the Surging Yankees Lineup

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What a Healthy Derek Jeter Brings to the Surging Yankees Lineup
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Derek Jeter returned the New York Yankees lineup on Monday, much to the delight of fans.

Jeter has played in five games this year, visiting the disabled list twice after beginning the season as a spectator.

While there are always concerns about Jeter's health, especially at his age, fans are excited because they know what Jeter brings to the table.

So what does Jeter bring to New York's lineup...a lineup that has won 11 of its last 16 games?

 

Leadership and Focus

There's a reason Jeter is the captain of the Yankees. He is everything the team wants him to be on and off the field.

There have never been any questions about foreign substances entering his body, and until this year, there weren't any questions about his health.

When Jeter is on the field, he's committed to doing things the "Yankee way."

Now, I'm not saying other players aren't, but there's something about Jeter that makes Yankees fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's that same feeling they get when they hear "Enter Sandman" blaring on the PA.

With No. 2 penciled in the lineup, the Yankees get an unquantifiable boost. He may struggle at times, but when Jeter takes the field, (somehow) it's all going to be better.

 

Better Than What's There

When you look at whom the Yankees have had playing shortstop this year, there's really no comparison to Jeter.

Eduardo Nunez (65 games) and Jayson Nix (46 games) have gotten the majority of the playing time in Jeter's absence. Luis Cruz (18), Reid Brignac (17) and Alberto Gonzalez (five) have also gotten time there.

In total, Yankees shortstops have batted .227 with four home runs and 38 RBI. That's not exactly the makings of a championship ballclub.

If you look at all of the contenders, shortstop numbers are a big part of their success:

Shortstop-Play for Title Contenders
Team AVG Runs RBI
Yankees .227 52 38
Orioles .259 53 68
Red Sox .261 56 63
Tigers .302 60 58
Rangers .257 76 47
Braves .254 67 49
Cardinals .224 49 43
Dodgers .256 69 62

Baseball-Reference.com

Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals, every successful team this year is getting production one way or another from the shortstop position. 

The Yankees haven't gotten that, but Jeter can bring that to the table.

Having averaged .294 BA with 10 home runs, 62 RBI and 98 runs scored from 2010 through 2012, Jeter has shown he's still one of the offensive elite at his position.

 

Will the Yankees make the playoffs with Derek Jeter back in the lineup?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Been There, Done That

Outside of Mariano Rivera, no other Yankee has been there and done that more than Jeter.

Jeter owns five World Series rings and winning is in his blood.

While the Yankees would be out of the playoffs if they were to begin today, there's no question he brings the intangibles for them to make a run.

If I were a betting man, I'd say Jeter is going to help put the Yankees in a prime spot to make the playoffs. If that happens, I wouldn't want to be any team facing them.

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