2010 saw a noticeable drop in Derek Jeter’s offensive production. In 2009, Jeter hit .334/.406/.465, with 212 hits, 18 HR, 72 walks, and 90 strikeouts. This year: .270/.340/.370, with 179 hits, 10 HR, 63 walks, and 106 strikeouts. His wOBA dropped 67 points, from .390 to .323. He also saw a drop in his line drive rate, 19.5% to 14.8%, accompanied by BAbip nearly 50 points below his career average.
The most obvious problem was the drop in power for Jeter this season. His SLG% fell nearly 100 points from 2009. Jeter does most of his damage out and over the upper half of the plate, where he can extend his bat and go the other way with the pitch.
As you can see from the heat maps, Jeter did far less damage in his happy zone in 2010. Also note how his power faded in the middle-in and middle-down areas of the zone as well.
Take a look at how pitchers threw to him this year as compared to last.
There’s a slight decrease in pitches thrown to Jeter in the top portion of the zone, as well as more pitches inside in 2010. I’m not sure if this can account for some of his troubles this year, but perhaps teams were increasingly pitching Jeter inside in order to limit his “Jeterian” swing. If he’s experiencing a decline in bat speed, this would obviously contribute to his problems in getting around on inside pitches.
It’s no secret that Jeter has a tendency to swing early in counts, especially at the first pitch. This season was no different. In 2009, Jeter had 87 first pitch swings in 716 PA. In 2010, 97 first pitch swings in 739 PA. Unfortunately, his first pitch swings in 2010 were not nearly as successful.
But Jeter’s biggest problem in 2010 was right handed pitchers. In 2009, Jeter hit .311/.381/.435 against RHP, nearly identical to his career line against righties (.307/.377/ .437). This year he hit .246/.315/.317.
That’s a severe dropoff, to say the least. As the Yankees look to resign Jeter this offseason, I doubt this one down year will affect negotiations much. However, while it is reasonable to expect a bounce back year from Jeter in 2011, 2010 is probably a sign of what is waiting towards the end of his next contract.