Comparing Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada's Not So Different Seasons

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Comparing Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada's Not So Different Seasons
Al Bello/Getty Images

By now the entire baseball world has heard what transpired this weekend between the Yankees and Jorge Posada.

Note: I would have never put either guy in that spot. This would be my hypothetical lineup, as sometimes the ramifications of making such a move are not worth it.

Posada has gotten off to a lousy start, and if it weren't for one good day in Texas against Dave Bush, Jeter would be facing even more criticism. Over the last seven days since Jeter's big game on Sunday, he has hit .185/.233/.185 with no extra base hits. Posada, in fewer at-bats, has hit .300/.462/.300 with no extra base hits. 

Posada's batting average of .165 has been negatively affected by his .164 BABIP, which does not take into account his six home runs. Posada's low line drive rate (11.4 percent), his 48.1 percent ground ball rate and his speed have all influenced his low BABIP. However, there is no way that this rate can continue. The lowest BABIP for a season since 2006 among hitters with at least 400 plate appearances was Aaron Hill's .195 last season. 

Posada is obviously slowing down, but his 18.8 percent HR/FB ratio is higher than his 2009 and 2010 number. His strikeout rate has increased by 2 percent, but his swinging strike percentage is the same as 2009 and 2010. He also reduced the rate at which he chases pitches out of the strikezone from 23.2 percent to 20.9. Posada's line drive rate is a cause for concern, but he deserves as much time as Jeter to work his way through this slump. 

Jeter's wOBA is .284, only six points higher than Posada's .274, and their wRC+ are similar. Jeter has a 75 and Posada is only four behind with a 71. Jeter's line drive rate (12.9 percent) isn't much higher than Posada's. Of course Posada's only function on the club is to produce runs, but I think it is hypocritical to drop Posada to the ninth spot and not even entertain the idea of putting Jeter there.

I have no evidence to point to, but I personally think that Girardi put Posada in the ninth hole to send a message to both players because of their closeness and regard for one another. Posada was there because of the enormous attention Jeter would have received if he were bumped down. I still think we need more time to assess Posada and Jeter's actual regressions, but there it is obvious who is on the shorter leash.    

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