By Mike Moritz
Right now, Derek Jeter is hitting .295. Okay, now anyone who thought that Jeter would come within 10 points or less of hitting .300 or better this season by the near-end of August raise your hand. I can see that a lot of you people did not think so, and rightfully so: Jeter hit .270/.340/.370 and a .100 ISO in 2010 en route to his worst offensive season of his career. His line drive rate (16.1%) and fly ball rate (18.2%) were both career lows while his ground ball rate reached 65.7%, which was the highest in baseball. All of this happened at age 36, at which point he is past his prime.
So coming into this year, sure he was expected to get his 3,000th hit but let's be honest, he was deemed just about at the end of his rope. And so, as expected, for the first three months at least, he struggled, as his line drive rates for April, May and June were 9.6%, 14%, and 9.5%, respectively. Jeter had new hitting mechanics that he flirted with for spring training and a few weeks into the season but ditched that plan early on.
July was the start of a resurgence for Jeter, which included his 3,000 hit and home run (which I was unable to watch because I was away; which is why you haven't seen a new post in a while). His line drive rate hit a season high 19.7% without a change in his mechanics. This month has only been better for Jeter; his line drive rate has sky rocketed to a heady 33.8%. Even when Jeter is at-bat, I just have the confidence that he is going to get a hit, hopefully you feel the same way.
The thing is, this resurgence might just only last for this season. Look, he's 37 years old now and has been in decline for a little while now so I find it highly doubtful that he can turn it completely around before he retire. I find it even harder to believe that he can really flip the switch back on because he really just has no power left basically.
I would love it if Jeter could become a .300 hitter again until he retires, but it's just not all that realistic. BUT! We could very well see Jeter finish with a .300+ average, and that would be very nice, even if he finishes with an ISO under .100 and his wOBA is almost 25 points less than his OBP.