Two weeks into the 2011 season and Derek Jeter has yet to redeem himself from his disappointing 2010 slump.
The future hall of famer, who once possessed the qualities of speed, power and consistency, has contributed endlessly to the New York Yankees, leading them to five monumental World Series wins. Unfortunately, after years of playing up to par, Derek Jeter’s caliber as a player is starting to diminish.
Although Jeter is known for attaining the leadoff or second position in the lineup, his recent performance has proved he is no longer the diligent player he once was. The less Jeter is able to contribute to each game as the second hitter, the more the Yankees are feeling the harmful consequences.
Whether Joe Girardi is keeping Jeter second out of respect or faith that Jeter may return to the dependable player he once was, Girardi needs to take into account the harm Jeter’s performance in this position is causing to the team. Unfortunately, it is time for Girardi to drop Jeter down in the Yankees lineup.
Jeter’s most recent performance in the 2011 season supports this decision.
In the three-game series against the Detroit Tigers, his only contributions were a sacrifice fly to center field in Game 1 which allowed Martin to score, and a single to center in Game 2 of the series.
In the series against the Minnesota Twins, Jeter was unable to help the Yankees in Game 1. Jeter’s performance towards the end of the series improved as he hit a single to left in Game 2 and a single and double to left in Game 3.
In the most recent series against the Boston Red Sox where Jeter’s expertise is needed the most, Jeter unfortunately fell short, only managing to single to center in Game 1 and 2 of the series.
So far for the 2011 season Jeter has recorded a measly .206 batting average. His inability to drive in runs, aid his teammates and ultimately contribute to wins should result in Jeter being dropped down in the lineup. His position as second is undoubtedly depriving other players of a chance to attain this position and reach their full potential while aiding their team.
The second position in the lineup should go to Nick Swisher, a player who possesses power and the ability to hit doubles and avoid double plays, all of which Jeter is now lacking. Nick Swisher would be the perfect candidate for this position as he was one of the most consistent players last season, allowing him to be capable of succeeding as second.
Despite Jeter's poor performance from 2010 until now, he should not be written off as a player just yet.
He is facing a struggle all players experience throughout their careers and although he is aging, this does not mean his days of consistency are over. Jeter will always be considered one of the greatest baseball players in history who promoted the qualities of leadership, determination and strength.
Derek Jeter is only 67 hits shy of reaching 3,000 hits. With the motivation and support from both his team and fans, he has the opportunity to come out of this slump, break records and perform to his highest ability, no matter where he is in the lineup.
Derek Jeter may be down at the moment, but he is certainly not out.