Saturday, July 9, 2011

Derek Jeter's Future Position in All-Time Hitting Leaders

With Derek Jeter on the brink of acquiring his 3,000 hit, we can take a look at the future of his career and perhaps speculate on where he will wind up on baseball's all-time hitting leaders.

Jeter has a contract with the New York Yankees that lasts through the 2013 season, with an option for an extra year.  That means he has two more seasons under contract after this year. 

The Yankee Captain has struggled in the past two years, with seasons decidedly below his usual oustanding offensive production.  His career average for a 162 game season is .312, with an average of 212 hits and 118 runs a season.

 Last  year, he had 179 hits (.270 avg) over 157 games.  He's currently going through a very tough season, with a .257 avg, an on-base percentage of .321, and a slugging percentage of .329 through 66 games.  Those stats are easily the worst of  his 17-year career, and it comes two years after his magical season in 2009 where he batted .334 and led the Yankees to a World Series title.  

Let's look at where Jeter could end up on the All-Time Hitting List if we adopt certain expectations: 
  • He plays an average of 150 games in 2011, 2012, 2013
  • He maintains an average of .270 through those years, giving him 160 hits/year
Using these estimates, Jeter may finish his career with a total of 3,420 hits.  This is where that would put him:
  1. Pete Rose - 4,256 hits
  2. Ty Cobb - 4,191
  3. Hank Aaron - 3,771
  4. Stan Musial - 3,630
  5. Tris Speaker - 3,514
  6. Derek Jeter - 3,420
  7. Carl Yastremski - 3,419
  8. Honus Wagner - 3,415
  9. Paul Molitor - 3,319
  10. Eddie Collins - 3,315
Even if he only amasses half of that many hits over the rest of his career, Jeter would still finish 3,210 hits, which is 14th place all-time, just ahead of Cal Ripken, Jr. Baseball historians should get a kick out of Jeter's progression through the ranks, as he passes names like Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and George Brett over the next few  years.

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