21 April 2003

The Full Almonte

AP reported last week that Derek Jeter has started throwing again as part of his rehab assignment. As it was his non-throwing shoulder that was dislocated (turns out it was located under Ken Huckaby's shinguard...) this seems like something of a case of non-newsworthy news. Also, ESPN's version of the article reported that,

"The MVP of the 2000 All-Star Game and World Series hit a career-low .297 

last season with 18 homers and 75 RBI. His batting average has dropped three
straight years, from .349 in 1999 to his first sub-.300 average last season."

(italics added)

Wow. Two errors in two sentences. They're batting 1.000, just like Jeter, who hit .291 in 1997, his sophomore season, after winning RoY honors in 1996 with a .314/.370/.430 line. Not a career low. Not his first season under .300. Not that it matters.
Just shoddy journalism. Tisk-tisk. This is too easy. I'm in the wrong business.

Anyway, like I said, not really news, as Jeter is still optimistically expected back in 4-6 weeks. But a nice segue into an analysis of his replacement, Erick Almonte.

Almonte has played 15 games, has 6 runs and 6 RBI, even a homer! But after taking the Golden Sombrero (0-4, 4K's) on Thursday and two more lackluster performances this weekend, he's hitting only .231/.273/.327, for a .600 OPS, and has 14 K's against only 2 walks. After going 7-for-17 in his first four games (.412), he's hit only 5-for-35 since, or .143/.167/.171, for a .338(!) OPS. and he's made five errors in the field, again, in only 15 games. This puts him at a pace for something like 243 errors over the course of the year, or roughly the same number Fred Durst makes in a typical sentence.

But the rest of the Yankees hit like crazy (New York leads the AL in Runs scored and is tied with Texas for the lead in homers), and the starting pitching has been great (12-0, 2.57 ERA), and they keep winning, so nobody's noticed.

Yanks skipper Joe Torre keeps insisting that Almonte is his starter, and I suppose that Enrique Wilson isn't much better with the stick, but he could certainly hold up the defensive side of things a little better than this. I didn't really expect them to take my advice and go get a Mike Bordick type to play in Jeter's stead, but I didn't expect them to bring in a guy with stone hands just to spite me either. Eventually Yankees' radio announcer John Sterling is going to have to stop chanting that Almonte is doing a 'reasonable job' as the SS while Jeter's gone. He's not hitting, he's not fielding, and sooner or later someone more important than me is going to have to take notice and do something about it. Especially if Jeter's out longer than six weeks.

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