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Random Juan Pierre thoughts

Posted by Andy on May 6, 2011

I was just looking at Juan Pierre's player page after Neil mentioned a recent discussion about the guy on another thread.

Some random thoughts:

  • As of today he has exactly 397 walks and 397 strikeouts in his career
  • It's amazing that he led the NL in hits in 2006 but also had an 82 OPS+! That's what you get when you bat leadoff and rarely walk.
  • Hence leading the league in AB 3 different times.
  • He played every single same from 2003 through 2007. Wow.
  • How does such a fast guy ground into 77 double plays, especially when batting leadoff? (You can't lead off the game with a GIDP...)
  • Led the league (or all of MLB) in caught stealing 6 times, plus leading MLB so far in 2011.
  • Hit by pitch might be saving his career OBP. He's gotten on base at a .346 clip...certainly not great but not horrible. His low walk total really hurts him, but he's got 89 times hit by pitch in his career, which really helps a lot.
  • At the moment, he has 911 career runs scored. 9-1-1 indeed.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 2:36 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

105 Responses to “Random Juan Pierre thoughts”

  1. TheGoof Says:

    He has an awful lot of black ink for an OPS+ that low. I mean, not the greatest black ink stats, but if you just glance, it's impressive.

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    77 GIDP isn't many, since he had so many PA. 8 per 162 games. As you note, he led off a lot. But he's GIDP in fewer than 9% of opportunities, compared to MLB average of 11% (another decimal place would be helpful there...) Yes he's fast, but also hits a lot of grounders. Anyway, WAR shows him as 19 runs better than average over his career** in avoiding GIDP.

    ** Nope, only through 2009. Since rDP and rROE *still* haven't been updated for last season, or this season. And no one has explained why, or when they will be. If those numbers are not available for some reason, they should be left blank. A "0" is misleading.

  3. TheGoof Says:

    I've always felt that if a player has 100 runs or 100 RBI, unless the context is a ridiculous number of runs, they are accomplishing something, even if they aren't great that year. It's far from the best way to judge (I'll admit WAR is better), but it does speak to getting runs in, the goal of the game. Pierre, despite great speed and numerous chances, hasn't done that since 2004.

    A look at 700 PA and under 100 runs:

    Ripken and Rose were still productive in those years. Pierre, I think, wasn't.

  4. Surely you can't actually think of productivity in such a binary fashion, i.e. that a guy either WAS or WAS NOT productive.

  5. Chris J. Says:

    You left out the best Juan Pierre factoid: he got 200 hits in a season for three different teams. In fact, he's one of only three players in MLB history to do that. The others - going solely by memory here - are Rogers Hornsby and Paul Molitor.

    Hornsby, Molitor, Pierre? Yeah - and Pierre's the guy with 190+ hits in a season for a fourth franchise, too.

  6. Chris J. Says:

    About the GIDP: Pierre hits an insane number of ground balls. IIRC, as of a couple years ago at least, he was (is?) the most extreme ground ball hitter in MLB.

  7. Don't forget the awesome name as well..

    Juan D'Vaughan. nice.

    Yes, this is my friend Sven Hideki Martinez. lol.

  8. Then, he walks three times in Francisco Liriano's on Tuesday.

  9. That should be Francisco Liriano's no-hitter on Tuesday. I must have botched the tags.

  10. Timmy P Says:

    Great points on Juan! Esp. grounding into DP vs. the amount of ground balls he hits. I started the Juan discussion because of the fact he's been thrown out 8 times in a row, and made 5 errors in left so far this year. I brought it up because that is unusual for a man that fast, and even though playing everyday for 10 years in center, the most errors he's ever made is 8 and that was his rookie year. I'm of the opinion that he is a very good ball player and underrated. Never did I say he was Babe Ruth or Rickey Henderson or that he will be in the hall, he won't. But I do think if his legs hold up until he's 36 he could play part time til he's 38 and endup with 2500 hits. Some numb nut said there are dozens of players in AAA that are better than Juan! I seriously doubt it.

  11. Timmy P Says:

    Also I would like to see some discussion about the Coriolis force and it's affect on baseball in general, and left handed hitters and throwers in particular. There is very little said about this phenomenon and none that I can recall here at Baseball Reference. Thanks

  12. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The old Favorite Toy gives him a 50% chance for 2421 hits, 38% for 2500 hits, and a non-zero chance to reach 2999.

    Johnny Twisto gives him zero chance to reach 2500.

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    the Coriolis force and it's affect on baseball

    That must have been in that 4th Star Wars prequel the rest of us never had the pleasure of seeing.

  14. Yetijuice Says:

    While he was with the Dodgers an interview clip of Juan Pierre was shown on the scoreboard. Pierre was asked what his favorite food was and he replied "cheeseburgers" with a big grin. This Parrothead believes that scoreboard smile photo should be used by Jimmy Buffet for his "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" album. Pierre had some adventures in the outfield with the Dodgers. Some of the routes he took on balls hit in the gap were partial traces of a figure eight. I preferred Pierre in left field rather than in center. Juan's noodle arm did not come into play as often in left field. Have some noodles with that cheeseburger Juan!

  15. Is it really that far-fetched to think that Juan Pierre could get to 3000 hits? His 162 game average is 187 hits and we know he can play the games. He has 1872 hits as of today, by the time he is 39 at his pace he will have just under 3000. That is of course if he keeps his current pace, which he probably wont but who says he can't play past 40. Not saying he will make (and yes, JT, I saw your favorite toy analysis), but if he does he will certainly be the weakest 3000 hit club member and definitely could redefine hall of fame milestones forever.

  16. Also, since it hasn't been mentoioned here yet: Juan Pierre has a VERY weak arm and all teams know this and will often score on shallow fly balls from third base. This isn't reflected in his already poor OPS

  17. Jason C Says:

    Pierre has almost no shot of 3000 hits. Many teams don't consider him an everyday player because he has no power and can only play corner OF. After his time with the White Sox is over he's not going to have many teams interested in his services.

  18. Timmy P Says:

    Great point Jim, but it will be harder for Juan to stick around that long if his legs go because in this day and age singles hitters are unappreciated and he does not like to work counts like a good pinch hitter should. As far as the cheeseburger comment goes, that just shows you what a down to earth kid he is. You never hear about him getting into trouble, Joe Torre loved him even though Joe cost him 150 hits because of fewer at bats, he's from Mobile Alabama, he likes cheeseburgers and shrimp, mostly cheeseburgers, his middle name is D'Vaughn, he's American, and most of all if you look at Similar Batters through age 32, with the exception of Willie Wilson all the other guys are ancient school, not old school but better, ancient school like Duff Cooley born in 1873! Shows what Juan has had to go through to make it in this era!!!!!

  19. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Jim P, players like Pierre just don't get to 3000 hits. It's silly to consider it an automatic threshold for induction, but the fact remains that only very good/great players have made it. We've seen players who appeared to be on pace, and people got worried that they would reach 3000 and ruin everything, but in the end they fade out before making it because they just aren't good enough. Garrett Anderson only reached 2500. Edgar Renteria is short of 2300 and a part-time player. Without arguing about the merits of his performance in the 2000s, Pierre at this time is a barely serviceable player. He's not much different from Scott Podsednik, who has to scrounge for a job every season. Right now Pierre's got a manager who professes faith in him. And maybe he'll start hitting a little more and keep his job for 2-3 more seasons. I think it's just as likely he loses his starting job in a couple months.

  20. Timmy P Says:

    As far as his weak arm, I've all ready mentioned the Coriolis force and it's well known affect on left handed throwers, esp. outfielders. First basemen don't have to throw so it's not an issue there. Johnny Damon (future HOF) and Barry Bonds have and had the same issue, esp. while playing at stadiums at sea level, as a matter of fact Tim Kurkjian was talking about this very thing just a few days ago on the television or internet, since I don't have a TV. When Juan was playing in Denver his throws were better because the altitude mitigated the Coriolis force somewhat.

  21. "who says he can't play past 40"

    I doubt he plays past the end of his current contract. There are dozens of AAA players who can do what a 35 year old Juan Pierre can do. And for a fraction of the money.

  22. He still hustles and it's not his fault the managers put him in the leadoff spot rather than #7, 8, or 9 where he should be. Feels like he should have been on the 1980s Cardinals rather than playing in the 2000s. Most likely he's got two or three years as a part-time player after this, but for all the negatives everyone has about Pierre, he'd still be a good 4th outfielder. Again, he's not filling out the lineup card.

  23. Here's a fun Juan Pierre factoid: Since his payday with the Cubs in 2006, he's been paid $5,795,455 per WAR.

    As a comparison, Jason Giambi as a Yankee made "only" $5,275,229/WAR.

  24. Timmy P Says:

    Juan has made a lot of money? Oh no what a crime, well ship me off to North Korea where I won't hear such horror stories!

  25. Timmy P Says:

    Great point Jiffy! My prediction is 2500 hits which is slight higher than some machine someone mentioned earlier. But let me also say that if he were to get 3000 he should and will be in the HOF!

  26. Obviously the problem isn't that Pierre has made a lot of money. The problem is that Pierre's salary has been wildly disproportionate to his on-field contributions.

  27. Timmy P Says:

    Since we are talking about underrated players, I would like to mention another that everyone can agree on that is underrated, and that is Carlos Zambrano. Carlos is vastly underrated, even though if he stays healthy will be a HOFer. Carlos has struggled for years on bad teams, he is the best hitter at his position in baseball today and for the last several years. Because of Carlos' fire some of his teammates to not like him and don't dive for grounders like they should. This has cost him ERA points. If Carlos played in another era he could play all other 8 positions well, esp. shortstop and first. Carlos is an excellent fielder with cat-like quickness, often times calling off other infielders on short pop-ups. Carlos is from Venezuela, which is a hot, repressed country. Carlos is 6' 5" tall and is now an American citizen, which is is nice.

  28. More random facts...

    In 1954 Gil Hodges had 19 sacrifice flys. In his career Juan Pierre has 17.

    For comparison of another singles hitter Tony Gwynn had 85 sac flies in his career. Even fellow slap a grounder Ichiro has 29.

    (I realize he's a leadoff man and ground ball hitter. And I realize a sac fly is not a big deal. But he's certainly an extreme grounder player.)

  29. JOhnny Damon is REALLY going to stretch the "3,000 hits is automatic HOF" test but Pierre reaching it would absolutely blow it up. I figure Damon gets in becasue he was/is colorful and played on 2 title teams and, well, he will have 3,000 hits. But Pierre would have no chance even with 3,000.

    Of course I agree with the others that he is an extreme longshot. I try to never say never but he becomes a 4th outfielder the 1st bad season he has and without ABs, he never makes it. So far, this looks like his bad season . . ,.

  30. John Autin Says:

    Let's see the managers Juan Pierre has played for:
    -- Buddy Bell, 2000-02
    -- Clint Hurdle, 2002
    -- Jeff Torborg, 2003
    -- Jack McKeon, 2003-05
    -- Dusty Baker, 2006
    -- Grady Little, 2007
    -- Joe Torre, 2008-09
    -- Ozzie Guillen, 2010-11

    Now, most MLB managers have old-school lineup notions. But that's a pretty old-school bunch there. (Or am I wrong?)

    As far as the teams that got rid of him, I have no actual knowledge of any manager suggesting that Pierre be traded. But the ones who were on hand when he was dealt were
    -- Clint Hurdle (Nov. 2002; Hurdle took over the Rockies mid-season);
    -- Joe Girardi (Dec. 2005; Girardi was the incoming manager); and
    -- Joe Torre (Dec. 2009).

    Note that the Dodgers paid $10.5 million of the $15.5 million left on Pierre's contract (over 2 years) when they dealt him to the White Sox for 2 middling pitcher prospects, John Ely and Jon Link.

  31. Neil L. Says:

    @27 and many previous
    Timmy, give it up.

    What the h*ll does the Coriolis effect have to do with throws that travel around 200 feet in the Northern Hemisphere? Nothing!

    Are you his agent?

    And stop insulting the community here by describing our brains as "numb" among other things.

  32. JohnBoy Says:

    #22 - Jiffy this is the best point about Juan Pierre who, I believe, has been underrated for many of the reasons already mentioned. In his prime, a number 2 slot would have served him better and today - #2 or bottom of the order. Though, even as marginal a lead-off man as he is - the Cubs have not had that kind of productivity from a lead-off man in years. They rewarded him by letting him go. He played another 162 games with L.A. the following season and acquired another 196 hits.

    BTW - after playing 162 games again in 2007 he was displaced by Manny Ramirez in 2008 who had his 53 games of productivity for the Dodgers (who also tried out Delwyn Young). He still stole 40 bases, came back to hit .308 the next season and snatched 68 bags for the Chisox last season.

    Aside from studs like Gwynn and Ichiro, singles hitters just do not get the credit for setting the table for the big guns.

  33. Awesome.

    In the future, should somehow someone, by accident or with intent, search Google for 'juan pierre coriolis effect,' there will be a relevant result. I am honoured simply to be part of history.

    Good day.

  34. "Aside from studs like Gwynn and Ichiro, singles hitters just do not get the credit for setting the table for the big guns."

    Except that Gwynn had a career OPS+ of 132 and Ichiro's is 117. Those two actually set the table by getting on base at a high rate, unlike Pierre.

  35. Juan Pierre underrated? really? the guy chews up outs like a bad B actor in community theatre eats scenery. If only the Cubs could get rid of Soriano as easily ats they got rid of JP.

  36. JohnBoy Says:

    As noted previously - nobody said he WAS Gwynn or Ichiro or Ruth or DiMaggio. The thread is simply to state that he is more valuable than the credit generally offered - and you prove my point.

  37. I'm sorry. I misread that. Nevertheless, he's not underrated with regards to his ability to set the table, because he really isn't that good at it.

  38. i hope pierre gets at least one HOF vote. don't wan't to see him get the donut. but he's gonna get benched after this season, and when his contract is up one will sign him. even if he rehabs the avg up to 280 or whatever, the errors in the of and the cs will cost him his job. he's deteriorating in all his key areas and he has to recover in all of those categories to justify being on the club. odds aren't good, he's close to done.

  39. Neil L. Says:

    Why is this discussion continuing so long? It is not worth the bandwidth required to send it.

    Juan Pierre is not a HOF candidate and he is not deserving of his current contract. End of story!

    As D'enny Vex said in @33 we are legitimizing Juan Pierre by talking about him.

  40. John Autin Says:

    Neil L., just for you, a non-Pierre thought:
    Jaime Garcia has not allowed a baserunner through 7 innings tonight.

    He's thrown 75 pitches, so that's not going to be a factor.

    Garcia went to a 3-0 count on Rickie Weeks leading off the 7th, but came back and got him to ground out. He has 8 Ks, including Ryan Braun all 3 times.

  41. John Autin Says:

    ... busted up with 1 out in the 8th -- first a walk to McGehee, then a single by Yuniesky Betancourt. Dang.

  42. @40
    JA, I would like to know how to contact you regarding a small study I've run about contact-premium at bats and the benefits of making contact vis-a-vis swinging for the fences. I would like your input on my analysis in a private setting.

    Is there any facility for members contacting members without a public posting?

  43. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Two would-be no-hitters broken up in the 7th or later tonight. Derek Lowe did not have a perfect game through that point, though.

  44. John Autin Says:

    Neil L -- I don't know of a way to get you my e-mail address without posting it, and I'm not sure I want to post it. If you don't mind doing a very little bit of sleuthing, you can glean it from the following:
    [first initial] + [last name] + [at sign] +
    [On the most popular general information website, look up the city of Poway, California. Scroll down to the first topic after Transportation. The second sentence of the first paragraph of that topic mentions two men by name. The last name of the first of those men, is the next part of my e-mail address.]
    + [the most common e-mail address ending]

    I'm probably being overly cautious, but I'm sure you can get it from that info, and no computer programs can harvest it.

  45. joseph taverney Says:

    @ 42 Neil L,

    To your message to JA about contact:
    I saw a strange box score the other day, May 1st.
    The Padres, an offensively challenged team, had this box-score, 7 runs on 7 hits, 0 HR, 11 SO. They had only one extra base hit, a double.
    I was curious about how rare this type of game was. So I ran a query to see how many teams scored 7+ runs, with 8 or fewer TBs, 0 HR, and 11+ SO.
    My first hunch was correct. It was rare box score. Only three teams. 3 times in the history of baseball, a pretty rare feat indeed.
    But I know on this sight, people raise issue with putting such exact criteria on a search, because by tweaking the criteria, you can narrow down the # of teams or yield certain players to prove their point - any point.
    But I think in this case, it was very interesting to note that as I lowered the threshold of SOs on the search query to 10, the # of games jumped to 15. All the other criteria the same. A five fold increase. I then lowered the SOs to 9 or higher and the number went to 23 teams. @ 8 SOs, 35 games. @ 7, 53 games. @ 6, 73 games. @ 5, 100 games. @ 4, 139 games. @ 3, 178 games. @ 2, 203 games. @1, 218. @ 0 SO or greater, 223 such games.
    So with all things equal, the less SOs seemed to increase the amount of times a very bad offense, produced a very high amount of runs.
    I thought that data might be of use to you.

  46. joseph taverney Says:

    Some other notes on JP.
    He has a legit shot at 2000 hits this year.
    If he does, he will have the fewest HRs of anyone with 2000 hits.
    Right now Larry Bowa, with 15 is the current leader.
    For players with 2000 hits, only Maury Wills will have fewer XBHs.
    On the positive side, he had 7 consecutive seasons of 45 SB. Only Lou Brock had a longer streak. No Henderson or Cobb. And I think the Dodgers acquisition of Manny stopped Juan's streak, which would now be at 10 and counting.
    Since 2000, Juan has more SBs than any other player, by over 100, and that is with missing games to Manny and playing only half a season in 2000.
    He is also 11th in hits during that span. 5th in triples and 1st in SH.
    In 2006, although he led the league in hits, he had the lowest AVG (.292) for a guy with 200 hits, also making the most outs (521) of anyone with 200 hits.

  47. John Autin Says:

    @45, Joseph Taverney -- That was an unusual game you spotted.

    Two thoughts on your search series:

    (1) Walks are a potentially major factor that was not controlled in your study, as well as HBP and ROE, to a lesser extent. I don't think you can draw any conclusions from the strikeout numbers until you control for total baserunners. For instance, in the SD game you started with, the Padres got 5 walks and 1 HBP.

    I searched with the same criteria you used -- i.e., 7+ Runs, <=8 Total Bases, 0 HRs -- without controlling for SO, and sorted on Walks. (I also limited it to games of <=9 innings.) I found 216 such games. The average number of walks was 6.8, which is well above the average for all 9-inning games.

    Then I ran the same search, but replacing Walks with Times On Base (with ROE). The average TOBw/ROE was 14.5.

    If you tell me that a team got no HRs but 14 or 15 baserunners, I'm not surprised if they scored 7+ runs, and I don't immediately assume that the number of strikeouts (or "productive outs") were a major factor in their scoring.

    (2) Let's assume for the sake of argument that there is a strong correlation in this type of game between high contact rates and scoring. It stands to reason that, given a fixed small number of total bases, "productive outs" would have an impact on scoring. But that doesn't really tell us much about the impact of contact rates on a more typical game, which features more than 8 TB and probably a HR.

    In 2010, about 1 in 6 MLB games met your criteria of no more than 8 TB and no HRs (861 of 4860). Even if we do find that high contact rates are quite valuable in that sort of contest, should we change our strategy to maximize run scoring for a small minority of games?

    I think it's safe to say there's a positive correlation between batter strikeouts and extra-base hits. So, while reducing Ks might increase runs in games with a fixed small number of TB, it might reduce runs in a majority of games.

    P.S. Another factor not controlled in your study was GDP. In my 216-game study, there was an average of 0.51 GDP per game. I don't know what the average for all games in the period was, but 2010 saw an average of 0.76 GDP per game. So, the games in our study, which maximized runs relative to total bases, likely featured a GDP rate well below average. On the other hand, we know there is a negative correlation between strikeouts and GDP; as Ks go down, GDP go up. I think this factor is often overlooked by those who want to promote high contact rates.

  48. John Autin Says:

    Back to Juan Pierre ...
    Just for fun, I checked the pitchers he has homered against.
    He hasn't gotten any pitcher twice, but there is one pitcher against whom he homered in his only PA:
    -- On 2004-06-13, Marlins at Tigers, Pierre faced reliever Craig Dingman in the 6th inning, and hit an inside-the-park HR. It came in support of Dontrelle Willis, who pitched a CG with no walks in the 6-2 win.

    One more random observation: Pierre batted 41 times against Greg Maddux and never struck out. He got 13 hits in 38 AB, a .342 BA.

    (There -- I said something nice about Juan Pierre.)

  49. Johnny Twisto Says:

    What's wrong with talking about Juan Pierre? A topic was posted. Who cares if he's not going to the HOF? And frankly, I've now decided that the more bizarre Timmy posts, the better. That cat is all over the map and quite entertaining, for now.

  50. John Autin Says:

    Johnny T, I will defend to the utmost your right to talk about Juan Pierre!

    As for enjoying Timmy's ramblings -- Um, not my flavor, really, though I'll admit I cackled at the observation that Carlos Zambrano is from a hot, repressed country. I can just picture that blurb on the back of his baseball card.

  51. TheGoof Says:

    There's a lot of shades of gray, Andy, of course. Heck, I'm going to write my next column (I'm an editor at a newspaper) on the problems with labels.

    That being said... if you've reached a certain level, be it 5 WAR or 20 Win Shares or 15 wins or 115 OPS+ or whatever you want to use, there's a basic level of productivity, at minimum, shown that year. Your typical AAAA guy can't be expected to duplicate that.

    If you have Juan Pierre's speed, durability and lineup position and DON'T reach 100 runs .. well, you've pretty much failed unless you make up for it in uncharacteristic ways or your team run-scoring context is truly pathetic. Imagine if Wade Boggs hit .259 and lost his walk-drawing power. There's a reason the Sox dumped him after 1992. Unfortunately for them, he had something left. Had he remained a .259 hitter with no power or speed (neutralizing that.353 OBP), he'd be of little more value than a AAAA guy.

    I would argue that Pierre was very productive through 2004, but since has been an exciting player with little value compared to a replacement player.

  52. Juan Pierre has no staying Value as a player. This season or next season are likely to be his last full times gigs unless his career path drastically changes.

    I would expect after that he has a year or 2, or perhaps 3, as a 4th outfielder and pinch runner.

    As his speed fades, there won't be much to keep his roster spot. Kenny Lofton, a similar but MUCH better hitter, runner, and fielder, had what it took to play until 40, and even his longevity was surprising. Actually 40 year old Lofton was still better than the current Juan Pierre.

  53. Neil L. Says:

    Joseph, thank you for drawing that game to my attention. I have to run some errands this morning so can only make a quick post. I will respond to your message later in this forum.

    My curiuosity was piqued in a recent discussion in BRef by the assertion, by many, that swinging for the fences is a better offensive strategy in contact-premium at bats than bat control and making contact. In other words, the ultimate risk, a strike out, was worth the reward of an XBH or home run.

    I set out to try and prove that contact was better.


  54. Neil L. - I think you're completely wrong about Juan not being worth the discussion, he is exactly the type of player we should be discussing. And concerning the Coriolis force, it's the Coriolis force not Coriolis effect. Baseball is a game of inches and if the way a tub of water drains while sitting still can be affected, certainly a round object being thrown 200' would be affected. The Coriolis force hurts left handed throwers, but helps left handed hitters. Ever see how effortless left handed hitters look? Ted Williams and Mark Grace come to mind. Mark Grace's swing was a thing of beauty, it was effortless like a rock rolling down a hill. Ted Williams would twist his body to add power. That is because the Coriolis force aided them, esp. in ball parks that were further north, Fenway, Wrigley. Juan Pierre has a beautiful swing also, although his intention is not to hit for power, it's to use his blazing speed to get to first base, so he can steel second.

  55. To the person that mentioned Juan and cheeseburgers, and that Juan has a small head, I would say there is nothing wrong with either of those things and that eating cheeseburgers is as American as apple pie. His head is small, and it looks like he has trouble finding a hat that fits correctly but I do not believe that that should remove him from HOF consideration if he were to get to 2900 hits. Juan Pierre was the only player in baseball to play every inning of all his team's games in 2004, and was only the third player to do it since 1971. I could go on, but I think we can all agree that Pierre is juanderful!

  56. If there are any TV big shots out there, you should ask ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian about the Coriolis force, he's familiar with it and spoke about the difficulties left handed outfielders have making strong throws. I saw it on the intranet just last week, not on TV I don't have a TV.

  57. Also, take a look at Lance Berkman who I believe deserves strong consideration for the HOF and along with Juan, Zambrano, and Paul Konerko is one of my favorite players. Berkman's swing from the left side is beautiful, like a creek flowing throw a meadow, but his swing from the right side is herky and jerky, it looks like he has to put more effort into it to overcome the Coriolis force no doubt about it, same with Zambrano's swings left vs. right. I want to discuss some of the players that are overrated also. Start with Derrick Lee, he's no good, he tries to pull everything and never dives on grounders costing his pitcher precious points on his ERA. He had one good year with the Cubs, and 1 or 2 with the Marlenes. If your team falls out of the race count on DL to catch fire when it counts lest.
    Also I like Shawon Dunston as a person, but he would swing at everything and was way overrated when he came up. Rickey Weeks just flat out sucks just like Juan Samuel. All though a good player I hate that fat Prince Fielder and his damn neck tattoos! I all most throw up when I see him hit a triple and his fat is bouncing everywhere. Babe Ruth never jiggled! Never, and he also had a beautiful swing from the left side like a rock rolling down a hill in a meadow.

  58. joseph taverney Says:

    Timmy, let me get this right; you have no TV and love meadows, meadow-analogies, and are a great student of this 'Coriolis' force or effect. You detest neck tattoos and fat men going for triples. You've unnecessarily and unprovoked-ly defended Carlos Zambrano while postulating he would be playing ( a great) shortstop (at 260 lbs) if he only came from another era when guys played shortstop while pitching, which never existed.
    Then correlated Juan Pierre's love of cheese burgers to his patriotism.

    If you are for real, god bless you. You have a strange stream of consciousness analysis of baseball that seem to be some unrelated weird opinions. Which is fun, but with out facts or stats (like; Rickey Weeks just sucks) sounds like most of the baseball forums that the majority of us try to avoid. If you wouldn't mind defining the Coriolis effect, I'd love to hear it. (I've heard lefties generally do not keep their cap straight).
    But If you are just yanking us around, it is mildly amusing, but will grow old soon. And I believe the Babe was known to jiggle.

    On a serious note; Ruth and Gehrig seem to have such high rates of triples, I was wondering if anyone knows if they got thrown out often at third. I know they both took unnecessary SB attempts, to not so good results, so I just wondered if there is a way to see how many times they were thrown out at third. That era still had a residual managing effect of the dead ball era and its tactics. IMO

  59. Timmy P is clearly a parody because no one is that stupid about baseball

    I think...

  60. joseph taverney Says:

    @ JA

    I agree with all your points about that strange Padre box score and games like it.
    Of course I'd rather see a guy go 1-4, with three SOs and HR, rather than a guy having an 0-4 with two outs that moved runners up. But with lack of power, SOs seem to impede scoring.
    But at some point, I imagine there has to be a thresh hold, where a SO prone hitter with a low average, is a detriment.
    Like the price of gas. We all complain that gas is over $4, but we still have to drive. But at some point, as the price rises, it just becomes unfeasible to use a car. I'm not sure of what that price is, and I'm sure other factors such as your commute and salary factor in, but I think you get the point.
    Mark Reynold, Jack Cust, Carlos Pena, all seem to be pushing that threshold. When do you think lack of contact surpasses 30+ HRs.
    If there was a way to see Reynolds #s where the league averages for errors and productive outs and double plays are supplanted into half of his SOs, and see if his productivity falls off.
    I guess the real question is, would his HRs fall as his SOs did?

  61. Timmy P Says:

    @59 Rich - I am dead serious about my analogies, and I have been a fan and student of the game since I was 5 years old. I've analyzed and studied the Coriolis force extensively since I took notice of Mark Grace's swing in 1988. I noticed that most left handed hitters look effortless and flowing. The closest I could come to a right handed hitter being so smooth and flowing was Kirby Puckett. Right handed hitters look clunky and mechanical, a great hitter like Pujols has a perfect swing, but it's like a machine, it doesn't flow effortless. Andre Dawson would attack the ball from the right side, like no other hitter ever.
    I appologize if some of my post seem disjointed, not all of my keys work on my machine so I have to chose my words carefully. And Joseph you're right about saying sucks, I don't like it either and will stop, that was an excellent point, but Rickey Weeks is terrible none the less.

  62. Neil L. Says:

    @46 @47
    Looking more carefully at the San Diego-Dodgers game you mentioned.....

    First off, JA, noted in @47 the 5 BB and HBP to increase the baserunners.
    Second, they bunched their run-scoring in two innings, which means they had timely hits. Indeed, the Padres went 5/10 with RISP.
    Third, a SH and SB gave a few extra bases without benefit of a hit.
    Finally, one run was scored on a SF.

    But there are some very nice little touches in the game like Maybin advancing to 2B when they attempted to get Hundley at the plate. He was then able to score on the subsequent single.

    Two of the walks and the HBP lead to runs.

    All in all a very tidy, efficient and..... rare game by the Padres offensively.

  63. Neil L. Says:

    Joseph, very-nicely written. You've touched on a baseball bugaboo of mine, the strikeout, particularly in situations which call for either a "productive" out or just a hit that stays inside the park.

    My bias probably reflects my own hitting style as a kid which I would define as good bat control not a lot of power.

    As I've said in other blogs it drives me crazy to see batters swinging from the heels or trying to pull a ball out of the park when a slap single or opposite field double would get the job done.

    I see it as the same as not trying to bloop the ball the other way against an extreme defensive shift. Why not take the half-swing opposite field bloop instead of being macho and try to jerk a line drive through the shift.

    What about changing a batting approach with 2 strikes? Any evidence that a majority of ML hitters do that or do they take the full cut the sam as earlier in the count?

  64. Timmy P Says:

    Neil L. are you somehow involved in with the content of this site? If you are could I earnestly request an addition to this site? Could you add the money line and the run line to the front page where you feature today's games? I like many others live in Nevada and bet between 6 and 9 games a day, everyday.

  65. Neil L. Says:

    No I am not involved in the content of the site, other than as a subscriber. The bloggers are Steve Lombardi, Neil Paine, Andy and Raphy. They may be reached by e-mail at the links at the right hand side of the page under "Links". There is also a link there for submitting suggestions.

    However, a word of advice. Don't wear out your welcome here. The raison d'etre of this site is not to provide baseball betting lines but it is, as I understand it, to use an extensive, searchable database to enhance our enjoyment and understanding of baseball.

  66. Johnny Twisto Says:

    If there was a way to see Reynolds #s where the league averages for errors and productive outs and double plays are supplanted into half of his SOs, and see if his productivity falls off. I guess the real question is, would his HRs fall as his SOs did?

    Right, it's very difficult to estimate how a player would perform if he simply cut down on his strikeouts because it would change everything. If the only goal is to make contact, I'm sure even Reynolds could manage that, but to what end? One-third of his career homers (40 of 124) have come with two strikes.

    Like I said in another thread, of course there is a point where a batter strikes out too much, but that's because it hurts his overall productivity. If it were possible to strike out 300 times a season, but get a hit every other time up and half of them are homers, no one should care about the number of strikeouts, because the overall productivity is far and away the best in the league.

  67. joseph taverney Says:

    @ Neil L.

    For your question; is there any evidence if players alter their approach with two strikes?
    Eddie Murray claimed to only swing for contact with 2 strikes. Even though he did manage 500 HR, he never hit more than 33. He also only struck out 100 times his rookie year. I think if you searched for Murray's #'s with 2 strikes, there might be evidence to support this.

    I also just saw an at bat by Ike Davis (of the Mets) who looked silly on the first few pitches, then, when the count was 1-2, he choked up, and swung completely out of character, and dumped the ball into left field.

    Then 3 or 4 years ago, Giambi began bunting once a in while when the shift was on. I saw him lay one down, which was not even hugging the line or deadened well, but was a clean hit nonetheless.

  68. Timmy P Says:

    @65 Oh thanks Neil, I'll be sure to pass the word on that people who love to bet sports should not come to this site for information. Neil. when you're engaged in normal conversation do you just lay down a shot of French on somebody like that? That was awesome, and you sound much smarter than your picture leads on.

  69. Neil L. Says:

    Johnny T, we have had discussions centering around strike outs vs ball-in-play outs in another thread as you point out.

    The fallacy with acccepting a high SO rate, is that while a strike out is the ultimate batting failure except perhaps for GIDP and a home run is the ultimate success, the two diametrically opposite outcomes are positively correlated. Trying for the home run paradoxically increases the chance of a strikeout. The batter takes a longer swing, must commit earlier to the pitch etc.

    So in trying for ultimate batting success you increase the likelihood of ultimate failure.

    I believe in trying to hit the ball hard, of course, but also believe in tailoring your swing to the count, the number of outs, the score, the positioning of the defense. Too often, a strikeout reflects, I think, a lack of discipline and a selfishness in the sense of being unwilling to settle for less than the ball leaving the yard.

    The first objective of an at bat is first to make contact with the ball, not avoid hitting into a double play. Second objective is to "hit 'em where they ain't" whether in the seats or on the field.

    To that effect I think a strikeout does affect the productivity of a player more than an out on a line drive or a ground ball stung at an infielder because it affects his psyche. No one gets booed for the hard-hit out.

  70. Neil L. Says:

    Joseph, I'm looking at Eddie Murray's numbers now, but the batter's count data is only available for the portion of his career from 1988 on.

  71. John Autin Says:

    @69, Neil L -- I feel kind of bad always defending the high-K sluggers, especially since that's the opposite of what I was as a player, and furthermore I hate to watch them. But my reason tells me that a certain number of strikeouts are a necessary cost to power hitting.

    I don't agree that a strikeout is "the ultimate batting failure." There is no single worst event for every context; it depends on the situation. If there's a runner on 3rd and 1 out in a tie game, sure, a strikeout is the ultimate failure -- except if there's also a runner on 1st, in which case (you saw this coming) a GDP is far, far worse than a strikeout.

    I do agree with you that many players don't seem to adjust their approach when the situation cries out for a ball in play, and I'm looking forward to seeing your study on (as you put it) contact-premium at-bats.

    Finally, I cannot agree with the statement that "a strikeout does affect the productivity of a player more than an out on a line drive or a ground ball stung at an infielder because it affects his psyche." This might be true of a small percentage of MLB hitters -- the inexperienced, the high-strung, and perhaps those not used to striking out. And it certainly could be true of more players at lower levels. But hitters who have been around the big leagues a while are there, in large part, because they don't get too high or too low about any one event. A hitter who gets so downcast about a strikeout that it affects his next at-bat is one who won't be starting in the majors for long.

  72. Neil L. Says:

    JA, thanks for the honest, respectful feedback. I didn't express my baseball intuitions quite as clearly as I would have liked to.

  73. Bastaducci Says:

    @ post 61. I believe alot of what you are talking about in the differences of swing has to do with there being so many more right handed pitchers in the game. right handed hitters swings look much better against left handed pitchers but a majority of the time they are facing righties and of course that would be the opposite for lefties. JMO.

  74. Timmy P Says:

    @73 Are you saying Ted Williams swing looked different against lefty pitchers? It looked worse? I know Mark Grace had a great swing regardless.

  75. Juan is also listed as one of two players to ever play 162 games in a season and not hit a homerun ....

    The other listed is Jimmy Barret in 1904

    But that seems to be an error as he only played foe the tigers that year and they only played 152 games.

  76. Artie Z Says:

    @75 - my guess is the 1904 Tigers had 10 tie games.

  77. Timmy P Says:

    I forgot to mention the left handed swing of Stan Musial, it truly looked effortless like water flowing in a pasture.

  78. Hozchelaga Says:

    I'm amazed to see this discussion is still going. I didn't notice a link to the original (short) debate in the comments, so here it is:

    Based on his historical productivity, Juan Pierre should probably be causing trouble out of the 8th or 9th spot in the lineup rather than leading off. The fact he is where he is is probably a result of (a) savvy agent selling and (b) the proposition that fast guys bat first even if they kinda never get on base.

    In that respect, JP is like the prayers answered of Dusty Baker and Ozzie Guillen. That's bad.

  79. Timmy P Says:

    @78 Let me say that I disagree with your Dusty Baker comments, Dusty is a fine manager that has been unfairly maligned by local sports writers and broadcasters because he did not treat them with the reverence they think they deserve. I think Ozzie is bordering on buffoonism and has allowed Juan to run when it has not been advisable. It was not Dusty Baker's fault that Steve Bartman did his thing, and the Giants were a very good team one win shy of winning the WS against California in 2002. 103 wins in 1993 for the Giants as well. Dusty has been successful every place he goes. I would take Dusty over Lou Pinella any day of the week. Lou has ruined more good young hitters than whiskey and drugs combined. Someone above mentioned they have a machine that predicts 2400+ hits for Juan, and there is no doubt that someone reaching that milestone is a damn fine ballplayer. I don't think it's fair for statisticians to see something different than some of the finest managers in baseball that have managed Juan have seen in him and saw fit to stick him in the lineup as often as they did.

  80. Tim -

    It was also not Bartman's fault that Alex Gonzalez booted a double-play groundball following the famous foul ball. That was the Cubs undoing - not Bartman or billy goats or black cats. And Bartman was one of about a dozen crazed fans reaching for the ball. He had the poor luck to grab it and get the wrath of Moises Alou. But we digress...

    Juan Pierre is not, nor should he ever be a HOF. He is simply a quality guy - now past his prime - who earned enough respect from many a manger to play in over 1600 lineups, though his placement in the lineup is definitely debatable.

    As for the argument that he is often caught stealing ... He is 11th on the all time list, trailing some pretty talented company:

    Rank Player (age) Caught Stealing
    1. Rickey Henderson+ 335
    2. Lou Brock+ 307 L
    3. Brett Butler 257 L
    4. Ty Cobb+ 212 L
    5. Maury Wills 208 B
    6. Bert Campaneris 199 R
    7. Eddie Collins+ 195 L
    8. Rod Carew+ 187 L
    9. Otis Nixon 186 B
    10. Omar Moreno 182 L
    11. Juan Pierre (33) 181 L

  81. Tim -

    It was also not Bartman's fault that Alex Gonzalez booted a double-play groundball following the famous foul ball. That was the Cubs undoing - not Bartman's, billy goats or black cats. And Bartman was one of about a dozen crazed fans reaching for the ball. He had the poor luck to grab it and get the wrath of Moises Alou. But we digress...

    Juan Pierre is not, nor should he ever be a HOF. But he is a quality guy - now past his prime - who earned enough respect from many a manger to play in over 1600 lineups, though his placement in the lineup is definitely debatable.

    As for the argument by his detractors that he is often caught stealing ... He is 11th on the all time list, trailing some pretty impressive company:

    Rank Player Caught Stealing
    1. Rickey Henderson 335
    2. Lou Brock 307
    3. Brett Butler 257
    4. Ty Cobb 212
    5. Maury Wills 208
    6. Bert Campaneris 199
    7. Eddie Collins 195
    8. Rod Carew 187
    9. Otis Nixon 186
    10. Omar Moreno 182
    11. Juan Pierre 181

  82. Sorry for the double post which occurred while editing...

  83. JohnBoy - agreed on Bartman, but my point is that it's not Dusty's fault the Cubs run into the worst luck in the history of baseball. It's well known that Steve Stone hated Dusty and did everything he could to make Dusty look bad.
    Excellent points on Peirre, and I agree with them all.

  84. John Autin Says:

    @79 -- "... predicts 2400+ hits for Juan, and there is no doubt that someone reaching that milestone is a damn fine ballplayer."

    There is no doubt that assessing a player based on a single "milestone" counting stat that he is only 78% of the way to achieving, is foolishness.

  85. I'm not here to make any argument for or against Juan Pierre's career legacy, but my lasting impression of him will always come from Game 1 of the 2003 World Series. After the epic battle between the Yankees and Red Sox, two mashing lineups befitting of the steroid era, the Marlins come into town with their pesky lead-off hitter. Leading off the World Series, he bunts his way on, advances to third on a bloop hit, and then scores on a sac fly. The tone had been set for the upstarts. He added two RBI that game to factor into all 3 runs scored by the Marlins, but what Josh Beckett finished in Game 6, Juan Pierre started with his bunt single.

  86. JohnBoy Says:

    Tim #83 and Steve #85 ... you both hit home runs... or pesky bunt singles if you wish!

  87. Timmy P Says:

    Steve # 85 excellent point, it hadn't been mentioned yet that Pierre was part of a WS winning team with the Marlins, and not only that had 10 hits and 2 walks against the Cubs to get there.

  88. Bastaducci Says:

    @ post 74. guys like Ted Williams,Barry Bonds the babe had such exceptional bat speed their swings did not change as much as others.

    That being are right about Grace but he is the exception and not the rule. if I was to try and guess why Graces swing was so good against both I would say he had cutting down on his swing mastered. most guys who are good batting average hitters but not very powerful do.

  89. Timmy P Says:

    @84 John Austin - Can you name some players that have 2400 hits that are bad players, or even not fine players as I described Juan? Juan has other milestones to hang his hat, one that John Boy mentions above about the company he keeps on the all time CS list.
    Wanted to also mention that there have been many suggestions that Juan should move down in the order, 7,8,9. I am of the opinion that Juan is not as good a player in the AL, and that his best scenario is batting leadoff in the NL. In the NL many times Juan was coming up with nobody on and at least 1 or 2 outs because of the Pitcher. The manager would want Juan to scratch out a hit and take a risky stolen base, esp. with 2 outs and the #2 hitter coming up. That was Juan's bread and butter for years, making something out of nothing. When Juan was in the NL he lead the league in SH twice. If the #8 hitter or the pitcher were on base often Juan was called upon to move them over. In the AL with a position player batting 9th Juan comes to the plate with men in scoring position more often and he is not best suited for that situation.
    Also, let's face it, if Juan was batting 8th or 9th his PA's would be far fewer and his hit totals would probably be closer to 1700 than 1900. His SB numbers would suffer also and it's those 2 stats that jump out at you.

  90. John Autin Says:

    @89, Timmy P -- You missed my point. The only thing I said about players with 2,400 hits is that Juan Pierre is not among them. In fact, he's not especially close to reaching that (rather arbitrary) milestone.

    Pierre has 1,876 hits as of this moment. What is the difference between 1,876 and 2,400? Here are a couple of ways to put it into context:

    -- Pierre would need 30% more hits than he has now to reach 2,400.

    -- In MLB history, 326 players have reached 1,876 hits. Just 113 of them -- about 1 in 3 -- made it to 2,400 hits.

    It makes no sense to argue "merit by association" when the player is so far from actually joining the club. Until he's there (or at least can see the finish line), the phrase "2,400 hits" cannot help you to make any point in Pierre's favor.

  91. If you read all the posts you would see that someone has a formula for predicting how many hits JP will have. The number they came up with was 2421. That's not my number, I think it will be higher about 2500, but none the less the point is clear that we are talking about where he will end up.

  92. @89

    "Can you name some players that have 2400 hits that are bad players, or even not fine players as I described Juan?"

    ever heard of Doc Cramer?

  93. Thee Doc Cramer?

  94. Actually Doug, he was a 5-time All-Star and had an outrageous 1945 WS to help defeat the Cubs the last time they made it that far.

  95. What do you mean by "actually Doug"?

    Doc was an average major league player who managed to keep a starting job for a long time. He had way more hits than Juan Pierre will ever get. He was a 5-time all-star only because people who made out the all-star team didn't realize 160 singles in a year didn't make you a great player.

    Doc was a marginal starter. A decent leadoff man. But his oWAR for those "all-star" years was 1.9, 0.7, -0.1, 0.8, and -0.2. And he was nothing special in the field. So calling him a 5-time all star is true but it's hiding a slightly better than replacement level career behind a veil of titles to make him sound good.

  96. also... re: Doc Cramer

    His "outrageous 1945 WS"? His OPS in the 7 games was 0.799

    this kind of proves the point to me about how overated singles hitters are. He had a good 7 games. He scored 7 runs and drove in 4. He did his job well. But people think he was amazing because he hit .379 in 7 games. But a .799 OPS in a 7 game series is a bit low on the amazing scale to me.

  97. Nobody said he was great or amazing... Nobody said Pierre was either. They were quality ballplayers.

    "Outrageous" for Doc Cramer - yes - with 11 hits (tied for most in the series) and 7 runs in 7 games ... Greenberg had a 1.162 OPS and 7 RBIs. Last time I checked runs, not OPS won ballgames and somebody had to be on base for Greenberg to drive in.

  98. and I am contending Doc Cramer was only an average major leaguer who managed to keep a starting job for a long time because people were over relying on batting average and pure number of hits as measures of the skills required to play in the major leagues.

    so he got to 2,700 hits as a marginal starting calibre player. Juan Pierre may get to 2,000 hits the same way.

    you did say Cramer's 1945 series was outrageous. and I am contending it was hardly exceptional. however you slice a 0.799 OPS over a 7-game span it is nothing spectacuar.

  99. John Autin Says:

    @97 -- "Last time I checked runs, not OPS won ballgames"

    Check again. Runs don't win't ballgames; scoring more runs than your opponent wins ballgames. That's why it's crucial to know how the player compared to others within the context of his time -- in other words, that's why OPS+ is vital.

    Doc Cramer had 200 hits in 1940, tops in MLB -- wow, 200 hits! And he batted .303 -- wow, a .300 hitter! But his on-base percentage (.340) was below the AL average (.342, and that includes pitchers), and his .384 slugging average was way below the AL average of .407). His OPS+ was 84.

    And that's why the Red Sox, with Doc Cramer batting 2nd, were last in the AL in runs scored from the #2 spot -- even though they were a close 2nd in league scoring.

  100. I am well aware of the value of OPS+.thank you as I do not live in a cave. The ability to create runs is what offensive Sabermetrics measures. If you overlook the basic runs scored (and I was discussing the World Series) you cannot see the forest for the trees. While you obsess over the new way vs. the old way to look at players - you begin to talk about quality players as "marginal" players. While they are not cream of the crop (and I never contended they were), I simply do not believe they are "marginal." Jack Cust is NOT a singles hitter but I he IS marginal - no matter how many homeruns he hits it an 11-0 game while striking out nearly 200 times. Maybe our next thread can discuss Jack?

  101. Great point JB

  102. Tim Patrick Says:

    Well I would like to respond, but it appears Neil has cried a river and I won't be allowed to post anymore.

  103. Nobody "cried a river" and nobody was intentionally blocked from commenting. We had a server error that apparently lost 2 comments in the last several hours. I'll try to recover them in WordPress; I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

  104. Np, I manually approved those two comments roughly an hour ago so they should be posted. One from Timmy and one from Ken.

  105. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Jack Cust is a marginal player, and Rickey Weeks is a bad player. Doc Cramer was a very good player, that did benefit from WWII as he was 36 in 1942 and so played several more years of slap-hitting and walking. Doc had 345 K's in 20 years, 15 as a full time starter. Doc was not the base stealing threat that Pierre is though.