One club has a soon-to-be-retired, soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer manning shortstop. He's a perennial All-Star and five-time World Series champion with a plethora of awards and distinctions. We can all quote Derek Jeter's resume at this point.
The other team? A collection of players who have spent time shuttling between the minors and majors or have been teetering on the periphery of release (or have been released). Omar Quintanilla's stay is over in Flushing, but the boos persist for Ruben Tejada and most folks don't know what to make of Wilmer Flores.
Yet, the Mets' collection of shortstop flops is offensively outperforming (just barely, granted) the Yankees' cast of Jeter and friends (Dean Anna, Brendan Ryan and a few Yangervis Solarte plate appearances).
Here are the season numbers heading into the night of June 6:
|Yankees shortstops||Mets shortstops|
|Walk rate||7.4 percent||12.6 percent|
Jeter is the primary offensive culprit for the Yankees, having recorded 82.8 percent of all shortstop plate appearances. He's batting .260 when playing shortstop, but has walked in just seven percent of his plate appearances, down from a career rate of 8.7 percent. With his batting average dipping far below his career .311 mark, his OBP has suffered. Jeter's power is non-existent, yet he's displayed the most power of any Yankee at short: six of seven extra-base hits belong to him (Anna had the other -- a double).
Despite a weak offensive performance, Jeter has been slotted into the No. 2 spot in the lineup -- perhaps the most important offensive position -- in 49 of his 50 starts this season. He batted leadoff in the other game.
Tejada has accounted for 67.6 percent of Mets shortstop plate appearances. While he's been in season-long danger of demotion to the bench or the minors, he's hung around thanks to some well-timed hits and three other traits:
- Tejada is walking. A lot. He's sporting a career-best 15 percent walk rate.
- He performs well at Citi Field, batting .267 with a .413 OBP in 25 games there (he's played in 48 overall).
- He's a bonus against lefthanded pitching. Tejada is hitting .294 with a .455 OBP against southpaws. This is no aberration. Tejada is a career .296 hitter with a .376 OBP in 438 plate appearances vs. lefthanders.
To maximize his limited value, Tejada has never started a game higher in the order than seventh this season. 31 of his 41 starts have come in the No. 8 spot.