Derek Jeter trends after fan says Tim Anderson is 'unironically a significantly better player'

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By , Audacy Sports

If you're interested in having a nuanced conversation about Derek Jeter's standing in MLB history, Twitter probably isn't the place for you.

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The latest reminder of that came Monday afternoon. As we wait to see how Major League Baseball will handle New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson appeal to his one-game suspension for referring to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson as "Jackie," one Twitter user decided to give his take on Jeter:

Despite the user only having 403 followers, "Jeter" trended on Twitter Monday afternoon as his tweet blew up with over 150 quote tweets.

Let's start with this: Anderson is an excellent player, which is why he appeared on our preseason countdown of the 10 best shortstops for the 2022 season. Anderson won an American League batting title in 2019, and is currently off to a scalding-hot start in 2022, slashing .359/.400/.517 with a .917 OPS.

And with Jeter, his legacy unquestionably benefitted from him playing for the Yankees, as opposed to pretty much any other franchise. It's also true that he was not a good defensive shortstop; he finished his career with -9.4 defensive WAR and -162 defensive runs saved, despite the latter not being tracked until 2003. Any suggestion that he's legitimately in the discussion for greatest shortstop or Yankee of all-time isn't accurate.

With that said, certain segments on the internet have gotten insanely carried away with their critiques of Jeter's 20-year career. He was the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year, and while he never won an MVP, his peak came at the height of The Steroid Era or else he probably would have. He finished third or better in AL MVP voting on three occasions, peaking at runner-up for the junior circuit's top honor in 2006.

Jeter finished his career with a .310/.377/.440 slash line and 73.0 fWAR. His 3,465 hits are sixth in MLB history, and by far the most of any player who began their career in the last 35 years. We ranked him as the seventh best shortstop in MLB history this past offseason, and he was unquestionably deserving of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Playing in New York might have made him the face of the sport, but his numbers would have been no-doubt-about-it Cooperstown worthy even if he had played his home games in Montreal or Miami.

Over Anderson's first six seasons, he slashed .286/.314/.448 with 91 home runs, 288 RBIs, 91 stolen bases, 800 hits and an .762 OPS. During Jeter's first six full MLB seasons -- 1996 through 2001 -- he slashed .321/.393/.471 with 99 home runs, 481 RBIs, 135 stolen bases, 1,187 hits and an .864 OPS. Is Anderson a better fielder than Jeter was? Yes, but he has a 3.4 defensive WAR and -23 defensive runs saved so far in his career, so it's not as though he's Ozzie Smith either.

Twitter may not be the place to go for accurate opinions on Derek Jeter, but on Audacy Sports we'll tell you this -- Anderson is a very good player, but he's not particularly close to what Jeter was.

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