Derek Jeter will hardly be the primary participant inducted into the Baseball Corridor of Fame with no Most Precious Participant award to his title.
However ought to there be?
An American League MVP is nearly the one factor lacking from Jeter’s résumé as he heads into Cooperstown as a near-unanimous Corridor of Fame choice. The previous Yankees captain was a 14-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove shortstop, five-time Silver Slugger, five-time World Collection champion, World Collection MVP, All-Star Sport MVP and Rookie of the 12 months.
Jeter garnered MVP votes in 12 of his 20 seasons — with 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2009 amongst his strongest instances — however by no means acquired sufficient to take house the award.
The 2006 season was Jeter’s greatest shot at an MVP, however he got here up simply quick to Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who received by 14 factors in a race that may have been checked out in another way 15 years later.
Most of the conventional stats had been cut up between Jeter and Morneau. The Yankees shortstop had the next batting common (.343 to .321) and on-base proportion (.417 to .375) along with extra runs (118 to 97) and stolen bases (34 to 3). The Twins first baseman had extra house runs (34 to 14) and RBIs (130 to 97), plus the next slugging proportion (.559 to .483).
Morneau additionally left an enduring impression with the best way he completed the season. After a sluggish begin, he turned it up in his remaining 103 video games, hitting .364/.414/.616 with 23 house runs and 92 RBIs to assist carry the Twins to an AL Central division title by one recreation over the Tigers.
As superior stats and analytics have turn out to be extra prevalent in voters’ standards over time, although, it’s truthful to surprise how the 2006 race might have performed out in 2021. Stats that quantify a participant’s total worth, like Wins Above Alternative (WAR), should not the end-all, be-all for present MVP races — the final two AL MVPs didn’t lead the league in WAR, for instance — however they appear to now play a bigger consider voters’ selections on the whole.
Jeter recorded the next WAR than Morneau by a large margin — 6.1 to three.8, per Fangraphs WAR (fWAR), and 5.6 to 4.3 per Baseball-Reference WAR (bWAR). Jeter’s 6.1 fWAR was second amongst all AL place gamers (behind the sub-.500 Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore’s 7.9) whereas Morneau ranked tied for twenty second.
Jeter and Morneau additionally had the identical Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) — which quantifies offensive worth whereas adjusting for exterior components like ballparks — of 138.
Morneau was one in every of three Twins within the top-seven vote-getters, becoming a member of Joe Mauer (sixth) and Johan Santana. Usually that may damage a participant’s remaining vote tally, however Morneau nonetheless got here out on high after receiving 15 first-place votes, eight second-place votes, three third-place votes and two fourth-place votes to Jeter’s 12 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes, one fourth-place vote and one sixth-place vote.
“Whereas I do know that voting for these awards is based totally on differing opinions and statistical debates, it’s additionally a part of what makes baseball such an excellent sport,” Jeter mentioned after the outcomes had been revealed in 2006. “Profitable the World Collection for the Yankees continues to be my most important focus. There isn’t any particular person award that may evaluate with a championship trophy, and I stay up for working in the direction of that problem once more in 2007.”
Jeter needed to wait somewhat longer to get one other ring with the Yankees — whereas teammate Alex Rodriguez received his third MVP in 5 years in 2007 — but it surely lastly got here in 2009, the identical season he completed third in MVP voting for the second time in his profession.
That yr, Jeter hit .334 with a 125 OPS-plus, 18 house runs, 30 steals and a 6.7 fWAR. He misplaced out once more to a Twin — Joe Mauer, with a 8.4 fWAR, led the league in batting common (.365) and OPS-plus (171) and garnered 27 of 28 first-place votes — whereas Jeter’s teammate Mark Teixeira got here in second.
Jeter’s different greatest possibilities to win an MVP got here in 1998 and 1999 as he helped lead the Yankees to the primary two of three straight World Collection championships.
In 1998, Jeter hit .324 with a 127 OPS-plus and 30 steals to complete third within the voting whereas piling up a 7.5 bWAR. Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez received it (he hit .318 with 45 house runs, a league-leading 157 RBIs and 4.9 bWAR) whereas Crimson Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra (.323, 35 house runs, 7.1 bWAR) completed second.
Jeter loved the very best season of his profession in 1999, when he recorded career-highs in batting common (.349), OPS-plus (153), hits (219), house runs (24), RBIs (102), runs (134), walks (91), bWAR (8.0) and fWAR (7.4). Nonetheless, it wasn’t sufficient in a crowded AL MVP race, which Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez (6.4 bWAR) received forward of Pedro Martinez (9.8), Roberto Alomar (7.4), Manny Ramirez (7.3) and Rafael Palmeiro (5.2).
The corporate that Jeter is about to affix subsequent week did appear to acknowledge a few of his greatest offensive seasons greater than the Baseball Writers Affiliation of America, which votes on MVPs. Jeter received a pair of Hank Aaron awards — created in 1999 to honor the very best total offensive performer in each leagues, as voted on by Aaron and a panel of different Corridor of Famers — in 2006 and 2009.