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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Crashburn Alley: Juan Pierre’s Historic Lack of Power

Video proof that Juan Pierre has indeed hit some homers. Even uno-career taterer Coot Veal seems stunned!

In a surprising turn of events, Juan Pierre figures to be a semi-regular part of the Phillies’ lineup this year. His reputation as a gritty gamer and a spring in which he hit .373 have led to this, despite posting an unbecoming .657 OPS in each of the last two seasons.

Pierre has been around a while. Many Phillies fans remember the days in the early 2000′s when he and Luis Castillo terrorized the Phillies from atop the Florida Marlins’ batting order with drag bunts and stolen bases galore. One item notably missing from Pierre’s arsenal? Power.

...Since 2007, Pierre’s .054 isolated power in 3,005 PA is the second-lowest among all Major League outfielders, a whopping 19 points behind noted masher Willie Bloomquist and trailed only by Willy Taveras (.050), who fizzled out of baseball following the 2009 season.

...Ichiro is the only player in the list with a wOBA notably higher than the league average. Behind him, the next-best hitter is Skip Schumaker at .324. That represents the most optimistic, the absolute ceiling for the 34-year-old Pierre in 2012. All of the projections have him between .295 and .305. Put another way, Pierre’s most recent performances in 2010 and ’11 merited offensive WAR marks (per Baseball Reference) of 0.0 and 0.1, respectively. That means if Pierre is going to contribute to this team, it will be with his legs and with his glove, not his bat.

Repoz Posted: April 04, 2012 at 07:56 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, phillies

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 04, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4096296)
A team with half-broken and half-fragile infield, with seemingly a half-dozen solutions at LF, and we get Juan Pierre. I kind of hope for a 2 for 30 start so he reverts to being the 5th OF, at best.
   2. tfbg9 Posted: April 04, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4096310)
The headline is kinda like an old Baseball Digest piece, but from Bizzarro World, in that it focuses on what a guy doesn't do well.
   3. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: April 04, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4096315)
The headline is kinda like an old Baseball Digest piece, but from Bizzarro World, in that it focuses on what a guy doesn't do well.


Yeah. Complaining about Juan Pierre's lack of power is like complaining about Jena Jameson's lack of acting ability.
   4. eddieot Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4096344)
and Dom Brown weeps.
   5. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 04, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4096349)
The headline is kinda like an old Baseball Digest piece


I perused a copy of BD last summer and couldn't believe how anachronistic it was, especially the reader's comments.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4096372)
Juan Pierre figures to be a semi-regular part of the Phillies’ lineup this year


Does this mean that we've completed the "your panic is unnecessary" phase of the discussion?
   7. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: April 04, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4096414)
A friend of mine who's 30 (a few years younger than me) asked me if I'd ever heard of Baseball Digest a couple of months ago. He'd never seen an issue before and asked me "What the hell was that supposed to be?" His mom had given him a big box of old baseball magazines and he didn't even understand what Baseball Digest was trying to do. In the 1980's, if you and your friend had an argument about whether Jeff Burroughs or Reggie Jackson had more home runs in 1974, the thing to do was to write to Baseball Digest and hope they would answer your question in an issue three months later.
   8. ColonelTom Posted: April 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4096696)
Does this mean that we've completed the "your panic is unnecessary" phase of the discussion?

This is one of the rare occasions where I hate being right. Manuel's comments this spring have been like a cry for help - take away Pierre before I do something stupid with him!

My issue with RAJ is that even where individual moves are defensible in isolation, the overall picture indicates a lack of long-term planning when the better long-term option is 100% compatible with winning now. Putting Domonic Brown in the lineup instead of Pierre is at least a wash. Why not let the kid play? Give him until Howard returns, at least, to show he can stick at the big-league level. Brown would give them a leadoff hitter who isn't one-dimensional like Pierre, and if he breaks out, the team's far better off in the short and long term. In that scenario, Mayberry gets 3 months to stick as a starter at 1B, and if Brown and Mayberry both hit, upon Howard's return you're left with a playing-time problem you're happy to have.

Another part of the stupidity surrounding the LF situation is that Hunter Pence is becoming expensive as a long-term answer in RF ($10.4M this year, likely $13-14M next year, then a free agent). They're probably looking at keeping one of Victorino or Pence long-term, and Victorino's clearly the more valuable commodity. With that in mind, why not let Brown play his natural RF position and shift Pence to left? Pence is a pretty good OF (he played CF early in his career, along with some LF in the minors) and could likely make the transition much easier than Brown. I don't get the impression Pence would complain based on what we know of his personality. If Brown sticks in RF, the team has flexibility to let Pence walk if the money is needed for other priorities. Instead, they've left Pence in RF and kept Brown treading water in AAA - now for a second season - to make a defensive switch that may not be necessary long-term.
   9. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4096726)
Tom, I'm with you other than Domonic Brown should not see the Major League OF until he gets straightened out defensively. I don't know what happened, but he was awfully scary in RF before the shift to LF, where I don't even have a word to describe his D. While Brown has not been handled optimally (for his development), the Phils are in an awful situation with him right now. I would not be surprised to see him go in a mid-year challenge trade.
   10. ColonelTom Posted: April 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4096796)
Brown's defensive lapses are frustrating but ultimately no more costly than giving Pierre the lion's share of plate appearances in LF. I'd shift Pence to left, play Brown in right, and live with the drops/misplays. Remember, they're going to be dealing with awful defense whenever Thome or Nix plays 1B. If Brown is in the lineup, Mayberry's a big upgrade over Nix/Thome at 1B, which helps offset Brown's ineptitude in the field. They could use Nix or Mayberry (with Wigginton entering the game at 1B) as a defensive substitute for Brown late in the game.
   11. stealfirstbase Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4097465)
Wow. Pierre's only 34? I would have put him 3 years older than that. He could still be a useful player, if used properly.
   12. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4097809)
Putting Domonic Brown in the lineup instead of Pierre is at least a wash. Why not let the kid play?


So many reasons. For one, he got hurt, and then sick, during Spring Training, so he he couldn't show anything. Two, the kid cannot play defense to save his life. This may be partly on the Phils for forcing the situation by bringing in Pence, but he would be an absolute embarrassment out there right now. Three, he didn't hit a lick last year (yes, Pierre sucks, but this is a separate issue), and responded terribly to being sent down. He just hasn't done anything to deserve playing time in the last 12 months.
   13. ColonelTom Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4097860)
Three, he didn't hit a lick last year (yes, Pierre sucks, but this is a separate issue), and responded terribly to being sent down.


After a horrible slump in early June, Brown hit .301/.402/.410 in the 5 1/2 weeks before Hunter Pence arrived. (Yes, it was BABIP-driven, but so were Brown's June struggles, not to mention Pence's career year.) In the span of a few days - during a hot streak, no less - Brown went from being a starter on a playoff-bound team to being sent back to AAA to learn a new position. I doubt there are many players who would have handled that well.

As for thinking of Pierre as a defensive upgrade, have you seen his noodle arm? In a spring-training game, I watched him come in on a grounder into left and throw a two-hopper to the cutoff man on what should have been a close play at the plate. Pierre is going to cost them in the field as well, but his shortcomings won't make the evening highlights like Brown's did.

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