Derek Jeter Scouting Reports Ahead Of Hall Of Fame Announcement
Derek Jeter's famed baseball playing career will be capped off on Tuesday when he is selected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeter, who played 20 seasons for the New York Yankees, won five World Series and was a 14-time All-Star during his MLB tenure.
But before his Hall of Fame career, Jeter was a lanky kid from Michigan who was selected by the Yankees with the sixth pick of the 1992 draft. Around that time, Jeter simultaneously dazzled scouts and had them doubting his baseball abilities.
As a minor leaguer, Jeter's stock rose as his experience increased. He finished as BA's #44 prospect in 1992, the #16 prospect in 1993, the #4 prospect in 1994 and the #6 prospect in 1995.
Here's what BA writers had to say about Jeter before he became a baseball legend.
Jeter Ranks No. 5 Among Nation's Best High Schoolers
Allan Simpson (Jan. 25, 1992 )
"Scouts say Jeter is a born shortstop. He's a lanky 6-foot-3, 170-pounder who can run, has range and arm strength—all the skills to be an above-average defender in the big leagues. There's some concern that he'll become too big to play shortstop once he fills out, but scouts say he needs to add weight to drive the ball harder. There's a question how good a hitter he'll be, even though he hit .557 last spring."
Yankees AL Organization Report
Tom Pedulla (July 10, 1992)
"He has good size—6-foot-3, 175 pounds—and speed. He recorded 12 stolen bases and has been timed at four seconds flat from the batter’s box to first base. As a junior, his throws from shortstop were clocked at 90 mph."
Jeter Ranks No. 2 On Yankees 1993 Top 10
Allan Simpson (Feb. 8, 1993)
"Jeter received a $700,000 bonus from the Yankees last June, then immediately struggled in all aspects of his game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He hit .202, was erratic in the field and only occasionally displayed his alleged five-tool ability.
The Yankees aren't concerned with Jeter's slow start. They say he has no glaring weaknesses. They also feel he's capable of following the same career path as Braves shortstop-in-waiting Chipper Jones, who struggled in his GCL debut yet now ranks as the game's best everyday prospect. Jones was the first high school player drafted in 1990, Jeter the first in 1992."
Yankees AL Organization Report
Tom Pedulla (March 22, 1993)
"Now that Jeter's pro career is underway, nothing seems to come easily. He batted a combined .210 in stops last year in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and at Class A Greensboro, striking out 52 times in 210 at-bats. He committed 12 errors in 47 GCL games, then made another nine in 11 games at Greensboro.
Yet the Yankees, who secured their first-round choice with a $700,000 signing bonus, insist there is no cause for alarm and that Jeter, 18, remains confident in his abilities."
Gene Sapakoff (June 14, 1993)
"What a difference an offseason of instruction and a year of experience make. As Jones was in 1991 at Macon, Jeter has become perhaps the South Atlantic League’s best player this year at Greensboro, batting .325-2-24 in his first 154 at-bats."
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Jeter Named Sally League's No. 2 Prospect In 1993
Gene Sapakoff (Oct. 18, 1993)
"He's not Chipper Jones, but Jeter did nothing to discourage supporters. The first high school player drafted in 1992 made a run at the SAL batting title before finishing 11th. He also showed flashes of power and speed.
Jeter was spectacular at times on defense, and managers voted his the league's best infield arm in a midseason survey. Consistency is his main need after he made 57 errors."
Jeter Named AFL's No. 3 Prospect In 1993
Jack Magruder (Dec. 26, 1994)
"Because of a sore right shoulder, Jeter was hampered from the start of the season and finally sent home to heal after only 54 at-bats. Still, he made an impression.
One manager questioned his throwing style, which includes a wide leg extension that could put pressure on his shoulder. No one questions his tools."
Jeter Named Yankees' Top Prospect Entering 1994
1. Derek Jeter, SS
Background: The Astros considered taking Jeter with the draft’s No. 1 pick in 1992, but went for Phil Nevin, leaving Jeter to the Yankees at No. 6. He was the only high school player taken in the top eight that year. Jeter struggled mightily his first pro summer in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, hitting .202-3-25 before making a decent cameo at Class A Greensboro. Last year, a much more confident Jeter returned to the South Atlantic League and excelled.
Strengths: A quick bat and the ability to hit to all fields at such a young age make Jeter a legitimate .300 candidate in the big leagues. He has shown flashes of power and speed (11 triples in 1993), and projects about 12 homers per year with 20 stolen bases, depending on where he bats in the order. Growing into his body could unleash even more power. Defensively, Jeter has the tools to be an above-average big league shortstop, but he can’t control them yet.
Weaknesses: Jeter’s 56 errors were third overall in the minors. Like Travis Fryman did, he has the actions, hands and instincts to make great plays but can’t make routine plays consistently. He needs thousands of grounders to refine those skills. After relying on pure arm strength in high school, Jeter tends to wait back on the ball too much instead of creating better hops by charging. Shortening his arm action will prevent a high number of wild throws, and Jeter’s pride in his defense will spur him to improve quickly. He made just one error in instructional league.
Future: Challenging Jeter with a start at Double-A Albany in 1994 seems unnecessary. He’ll report to Class A Tampa, and possibly move up at midseason. Barring injury, a major league promotion in September 1995 would be in line.
Yankees January 1995 AL Org Report
Tom Pedulla (Jan. 23, 1995)
"Not long ago, speculation about Derek Jeter concerned whether the Yankees were ready to make him their shortstop after he emerged as Baseball America’s 1994 Minor League Player of the Year.
Such talk ended when the Yankees spent $3 million on free-agent shortstop Tony Fernandez, and now the question is whether Jeter will be blocked until Fernandez’ two-year contract expires.
Yankees general manager Gene Michael said the signing of Fernandez means Jeter won't have to rush.
Michael called Jeter to assure him he remains the shortstop of the future."
Jeter Named International League's No. 3 Prospect In 1995
Tim Pearrell (Oct. 16, 1995)
"Baseball America’s 1994 Minor League Player of the Year still draws raves from managers about his overall tools and all-star ability. But has one of those almost imperceptible starburst cracks appeared in Jeter’s windshield?
Managers liked the way Jeter made adjustments at the plate. They were divided, however, on whether he can play shortstop in the majors.
While he's agile and athletic, some managers and coaches aren’t convinced he can make the play from the hole. That may force a move to third base, a position that traditionally requires more power than Jeter has displayed."
Derek Jeter Never Rests
Jeff Bradley (Oct. 30, 1995)
"The shortstop had an unprecedented, meteoric rise through the Yankee system in 1994, when he rose from Class A Tampa to Triple-A Columbus, hitting .329, .377 and .349 as he climbed the ladder. Jeter continued to progress in '95—even if the numbers aren't as gaudy. In his first full season at Columbus, Jeter hit .317-2-45 with 20 stolen bases.
Perhaps the greatest boost to Jeter’s development as a player took place on May 29, when Tony Fernandez pulled a ribcage muscle and the Yankees summoned Jeter from Columbus. They inserted him as their everyday shortstop during Fernandez’ stint on the disabled list.
'I got a chance to see what it's like in the big leagues,' said Jeter, who hit .234, with at least one hit in nine of his 13 starts. 'This wasn't supposed to be the year for me to go on the 40-man, so it was kind of unexpected. Actually, because the Yankees aren’t known for calling young players up, I was kind of shocked.
'I was only here for a couple of weeks, but it helped. It gave me a chance to see what it’s like up here. And I think that will make it easier the next time I'm called up.'"
Jeter Named Yankees' No. 2 Prospect Entering 1996
Allan Simpson (Feb. 5, 1996)
"New manager Joe Torre has declared Jeter his starting shortstop to start 1996. Tony Fernandez is the Yankees' insurance."