Have you ever wondered what baseball would have been like had Derek Jeter gone first overall in the 1992 MLB draft to the Astros? I know I have, but I can get a little more creative than that for an edition of ML”what would”B.
Derek Jeter was drafted straight out of high school by the New York Yankees in 1992. However, he was so young! So, what would have happened if he had gotten drafted in 1994 instead? Well let’s keep the fact that Jeter doesn’t go first overall, because I refuse to let him play in Flushing, NY. Instead, he goes fifth overall to the Florida Marlins, who need a good shortstop. But, the Yanks need a shortstop as well. Because in real life New York drafted Jeter at a young age, let’s make them draft Edgar Renteria at a young age as well. Ok, so we have Jeter in South Beach and Edgar in the Bronx. That shouldn’t be too confusing.
Both players start their careers in 1996. Jeter bats .298 with 95 runs scored to win the NL Rookie of the Year. Renteria bats .310 and gets the Yanks into the World Series, where they beat the Braves in six. In 1997, the upstart Marlins win the NL East because of Jeter’s astounding sophomore hitting: .323 batting average, 18 home runs, and 89 RBIs. His efforts help the Marlins to an NLDS win over the Astros, but lose the NLCS to the Giants. San Fran however cannot hold off the powerful Indians, who win their first Fall Classic since 1948. Now in real life, all of the good players on the Marlins leave Miami and the Teal become a laughing stock in 1998. But with Jeter’s winning attitude, no one leaves the squad. In fact, they pick up second baseman Chuck Knoblauch from the Twins, who was signed by the Yankees in real life before the 1998 season. However, the Yanks don’t do badly whatsoever.
Due to starting the 1998 season off at 0-6, the Yankees need a boost. They finally get it when Edgar hits four home runs against Seattle en route to a 21-0 drubbing of the Mariners. From there, the Yankees take off, winning their next 16 and eventually finishing the season with 111 wins. They go to the World Series to face: Derek Jeter’s Marlins. It all comes down to a seventh game at Miami and in the bottom of the 11th inning, the Marlins win the World Series when Jeter singles off David Wells. In 1999, the Yanks again go to the World Series and beat the Braves in a sweep. In 2000, the Marlins finally start to show signs of weakening. Because of this, they end up with the worst record in baseball with 101 losses, even though Derek Jeter bats .367 to lead the league. Due to this, it’s time to rebuild. The Marlins actually end up trading Derek… to the Yankees for Edgar Renteria! You thought that Jeter was never going to play in New York? Not on my watch! Anyway, with a new shortstop, the Yankees go on to win the 2001 World Series over Arizona and all of New York cheers for their new star, here in the ML”what would”B.