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Baseball StatHead: May 4, 2011

Posted by Neil Paine on May 4, 2011

Baseball StatHead: May 4, 2011

Today's Stathead entries include links to The Hardball Times, SweetSpot, and Baseball Analytics, plus many reactions to Liriano's no-hitter.

19 Responses to “Baseball StatHead: May 4, 2011”

  1. Timmy P Says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Juan Pierre has been caught stealing 8 times all ready this year and has made 5 errors in the outfield? Not to mention he was picked off on base today. He is one of my favorite players and I always thought underated.

  2. Neil L. Says:

    With respect , Timmy, I don't catch your point.

    Is Juan underrated because of stats like the ones in your post or for some other reason?

    How can you make five outfield errors already in the season and not have the initials MR?

    But then again, speed will cover a multitude of sins, won't it?

  3. Timmy P Says:

    My point is his baserunning and fielding stats are terrible and out of whack with his past performance. 5 errors in left is hard to believe and I think he's been thrown out 8 straignt times or 8 out of 9 maybe. He is one of the fastest men in baseball. I know he's 34 now, but still.

  4. Neil L. Says:


    Timmy, one could make the argument that Juan Pierre is overrated, not underrated, at this point in his career. He's lucky he's playing for Ozzie.

    He might be living in the past trying to steal so many bases.

  5. Timmy P Says:

    That's true, I guess. He's led the league in hits more than once, stolen bases, several 200 hit seasons and never been an all-star once.

  6. Hozchelaga Says:

    I agree with Neil L. (@4) that a compelling argument can be made that Juan Pierre is... overrated.

    Some evidence:

    1(a) > He has a career OPS+ of 84. He has only had two OPS+ seasons of 100 or more. His best season was 2004, when he had OPS+ of 107.

    1(b) > He has a career OBP of .346. That is not particularly good for a leadoff hitter with no XBH power. His best OBP was .378 in 2001.

    1(c) > He has a career SLG of .365. While you don't expect a leadoff hitter to have a high SLG, 2Bs, 3Bs and HRs are more valuable than SBs. His best SLG was .415, again in 2001. He had just 39 XBH that year.

    2 > He has a career SB% of 74.65 (533 for 714). He has led the league in CS more times (6) than he has led the league in SBs (3).

    He gets an average of 692 (!) PAs a year, so his relatively low OBP and SB% result in a lot of outs. Doesn't he seem more like a guy you want causing trouble batting 8th in the NL (or 9th in the AL), rather than up the top of the order?

    But what do I know. I don't GM an MLB team.

    That's not to slight Timmy P. Sometimes, players who are not what some StatHeads consider to be effective baseball players can be a great joy to watch. Maybe JP fits the bill (I haven't seen him play).

  7. Timmy P Says:

    Let me try again, he is a very good ball player, very good ball players do not have 5 outfield (leftfield) errors in less than 5 weeks. 33 y/o SB champs don't often get thrown out eight times in a row. 75% is a very good SB average, and many of the best SB men, also lead the league in being thrown out. He has never had over 6 errors in an entire season. He has never made an all-star team which I found surprising, he will finish his career with over 2500 hits, and very close to a .300 avg. I imagine you think the minor leagues are stocked with players of this calaber? I was hoping to start a discussion about who is making the calls as to when he decides to take a base.

  8. aweb Says:

    Pierre won't finish with 2500 hits unless he turns it around in a hurry. That's 3-4 more full-time seasons, and he's always been a borderline good enough guy - if he "loses a step", he loses his OF range and stealing ability, and his ability to beat out IF singles.

    As to why he's been thrown out so much, well, it's probably a combination of getting older, a hidden injury, and bad luck. Pierre has never been a great % base stealer (leads the league in CS more than Steals, and 75% is not "very good", it's good enough. Going down the active steal leaders, after Pierre: Crawford - 82%, Vizqual - 71%, Suzuki - 82%, Damon 80%), but given how often he does attempt them, I assume he has a standing green light most of the time. That is, Pierre almost certainly has the green light unless told otherwise.

    I haven't seen the CS in question though - is he getting nailed by perfect throws, or bad jumps? Or maybe a few bad calls?

  9. Doug B Says:

    A step slower Juan Pierre is a 5th outfielder barely hanging on as a major leaguer. He becomes a below average defender with average on base skills and no power. There are dozens of AAA players that can do that job for $300,000 a year.

  10. Timmy P Says:

    Crawford has won a SB title, but none of the other 3 have, plus you're making my point for me. Those 4 players are great players and at least 2, maybe all 4 will end up in the hall. I don't think anyone can deny that Juan is not playing up to the high standards he usually plays. Are there dozens of AAA players out there that can hit .300 and rack up 1900 hits in 11 years? True his legs keep him in the game, hence my asking the question in the first place. 5 outfield errors are a lot for 31 days of play. I might blame Ozzie for the CS problem, but not the errors. Also, I am going to assume that the Chicago White Sox own a stop watch, and that they might be interested in testing a someone they pay millions of dollars to to steal bases and run down pop flies. Assuming they checked, and say Juan is a little slower this year, why keep sending him? If he's injured, why not bat him 8th or 9th?

  11. Timmy P Says:

    Please don't freak out on me, I saw that Damon and Ichiro have both won one SB title apiece. I meant to say multiple SB titles, Crawford and Pierre have them. Sorry, please put down your light sabers.

  12. Neil Paine Says:

    Playing up to his usual high standards? I'd say Juan Pierre hasn't been an especially useful player in about 5 years now (although I suppose you could call his 2009 season decent). Even at his best, he was highly overrated because of his gaudy -- but largely empty -- batting averages and steal totals. And as Doug wrote in #9, now he's 33 years old with declining speed skills, no pop, and bad defense. He's flirted with the replacement level before and rebounded to at least be marginally valuable, but I don't know if he has anything left in the tank at this point.

  13. Timmy P Says:

    @12 That is flat out wrong. His last 2 years with LA they had Kemp, Ethier, and Manny and no where to put Juan. Did he bitch piss or moan? No. Manny gets busted for juicing and Pierre steps in and had a great year. That stint with the Dodgers cost him about 150 hits. Last year he had a terrible first 50 games, but came back and batted .275 with a career high 68 steals. That is what sparked my original question about getting thrown out 8 straight, could he be losing it? A lot of you Star Wars fans are so into home runs and WAR that your minds are numb to good ball players that hit singles and steal bases. Most of you guys are huge Mark Reynolds fans. Did any of you Rickey Weeks fans happen to notice that Juan has only struck out 397 times in 11 years? That is excellent, esp. for this day and age.
    Jeter 1112 K's
    Crawford 789 K's
    Figgins 740 K's
    Victorino 373 k's in 820 games, not bad for today , but twice as many as
    Juan per game

  14. Timmy P Says:

    What a joke! Juan has an average arm, but since he is a lefty that is to be expected. Lefty hitters hit better and lefty fielders throw worse because of the Coriolis force.

  15. Neil Paine Says:

    Unfortunately, the aim of offensive baseball is not to avoid striking out, or even to compile a good batting average. It's to create runs, and Pierre has historically been below-average when it comes to doing that, even when you factor in his baserunning.

  16. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Timmy, you've posted 8 times in this thread and I don't have a clue what your point is. Are you saying Juan Pierre is a Jedi?

  17. Timmy P Says:

    @15 Putting the ball in play, stealing bases, 200 hit seasons, those things all produce runs. Rickey weeks sucks, but because he hits a few dingers stat nerds forgive him.

  18. Doug B Says:

    Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Pierre. Who would you take for 2011? Pierre is probably still the better hitter while Gwynn Jr. is a better fielder. I'd say it's close.

    Now consider Pierre makes MORE than 10 TIMES as much money and you'll see why any GM worth his salt would trade Pierre for just about anything. Apparently even for 2 horrible 25 year old pitchers like the Dodgers got.

  19. Neil L. Says:

    Doug, slam dunk! Nice closing argument! End of discussion.