Derek Jeter seems to have developed a rather nasty habit this season; well, one that isn’t just his near 70% groundball rate. And, to be fair, it’s not exactly a habit. It’s just something we’ve never quite seen from Jeter: a massive platoon split.
In Derek Jeter’s career, not including last night, he has a .398 wOBA against left handed pitchers and he has a .351 wOBA against right handers. There’s a .047 point difference which is pretty big, but the .351 wOBA against a same handed pitcher is just fine with me.
This year, Jeter has a .382 wOBA against lefties and a .285 wOBA against right handers. His previous low against righties (2002 and beyond) was .334 in ’08. For some reason, Derek’s just not hitting well against righties this year.
His career IsoP against RHP is .132 (.165 vs. LHP). This year? .077 (182 vs. LHP).
Of course, it’s worth noting that Jeter’s .281 BABIP vs. RHP in 2010, as opposed to .352 in his career. But, this isn’t much of an excuse or explanation because Jeter’s BABIP is down across the board this year and it’s mostly due to weak contact (the aforementioned large amount of grounders). The lack of hard contact can also be traced to Jeter’s plate appearances against right handed pitchers.
His career LD% against right handed pitchers is 19.7%. This year, it’s way down to 15.1%. His ground ball rate is 58.1% for his career vs. RHP. This year, it’s 69.1.
So, it seems that Jeter’s struggles against right handed pitchers is much like a microcosm of his season as a whole: he’s struggling because he’s not hitting the ball hard and when he does hit it, he’s beating it into the ground. As we’ve seen, though, this isn’t a trend in Derek Jeter’s career. This could, for all we know, be a one year thing. Next year, he could come back and hit just fine against righties. We’ll have to check back this time next year and see how Derek is faring against RHP.