Friday, March 30, 2007

Memo to Brady Clark

To: Brady Clark
From: Humma Kavula
Re: Grounding into a Triple Play


I've got my eye on you.

Sincerely yours,

The Juan Pierre OutWatch

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What is an out?

According to, an out is:


Fair enough. But notice anything missing?

Non-force baserunning outs, like trying to stretch a single into a double and failing, or trying to go from first to third on a single... or say Jeff Kent is on second and J.D. Drew is on first and Russell Martin hits a single to right and Rich Donnelly is your third base coach and....

Sorry, I got sidetracked there.

It seems that those outs are not counted in the official defintion of individual outs. That means that you can add up the total number of outs "awarded" to individual players and they won't equal the total number of batting innings played by the team.

I understand that's that's the best bb-ref can do, and I get it. Nobody keeps track of baserunning outs and bb-ref tracks every stat by every player in the game. It's not yet feasible, unless, as Sean points out in the comments, he is able to work some magic with Retrosheet.

On the other hand, the OutWatch is tracking only one stat by one player. Because the OutWatch is interested in the record as well as total accuracy, we will Watch all of Juan Pierre's outs.

The Official OutWatch will focus only on the outs that count in the official stat -- his outs as a batter and as a basestealer. As an addendum, we will also track Juan Pierre's running errors.

Of course, if we do this, we must also count non-outs that are otherwise not counted -- that is, reach on error, catcher's interference, etc. Do not let it be said that the OutWatch is not fair to Pierre. We are fair. We just believe that he is a millstone around the neck of our favorite franchise and count the days until he is no longer playing for us. 810 games and counting!

Special thanks to jimbilly4, Bob Timmermann, and sabermetric genius Phil Birnbaum for their help with this question.

This post edited on March 29 to be a little kinder to bb-ref, who provide an invaluable service, and also to be a little kinder to Pierre, by noting that we'll count all his non-outs in the addendum.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Is Juan the worst?

Some have been asking if Juan Pierre is the worst major leaguer right now.

That question has a clear answer: no. He does not rank with the Neifis of the world.

But add a qualifier -- among every day starters (that is, players likely to log 500 or more at bats), is he the worst? -- and the question becomes more complicated.

The answer is probably still no. Of the 121 MLBers who had 500 or more AB last year, Pierre was 96th in OBP and 106th in slugging. That's bad.

This is the complete list of players with 500 AB and an OPS lower than Pierre's last year:


One can't help but notice that there are a lot of shortstops and catchers on that list.

So maybe he's not the worst major leaguer. But:

1. Based on his performance last year, he's no better than 9th-worst;
2. He plays outfield, while most of these players contribute by at least having the common courtesy to suck while playing difficult defensive positions; and
3. I'm too lazy to check, but I'd guess that Juan makes more money than any of them.

On a dollar-for-dollar basis, Juan Pierre might be the worst regular, every day starter in the majors.

If that's too many qualifiers for you, we will leave it at this:

Juan Pierre is a bad baseball player.

Six days and counting until the OutWatch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The OutWatch Begins... April 2

A baseball team's most valuable commodity in a game are its 27 outs. The more outs you have left, the more chance you have to score runs -- and the better chance of winning the game.

That means that the most important skill a ballplayer can have is Not Making Out. No matter what one does -- hit singles, hit for power, get hit by the pitch, reach on error, mentally force the ball to be trapped in the catcher's equipment -- if you're not making out, you are helping your team greatly, and if you are making out, you're not helping your team. You can make up for it somewhat by hitting for extra bases -- but Not Making Out is most important.

So what? So this: this off-season, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed center fielder Juan Pierre to an astounding contract for way too much money, despite the fact that Juan is exceptionally good at only one thing: making out.

Not true! say the Pierre fans. He sprays singles! He had 204 hits last year (156 of them singles) -- he led the league!

And that's true. But unfortunately, when he wasn't spraying those singles, he wasn't doing anything else. Juan Pierre also led the league in outs -- making 532 of them. In fact, Pierre has managed to record more than 500 outs in each of the last four seasons.

A player who doesn't hit for power and makes as many outs as Pierre does is not helping his team. What's worse, he represents a large percentage of the Dodgers' payroll. My ire is focused.

That's why the blog. But what is the Juan Pierre OutWatch?

I wondered... with a talent so prodigious, can Juan manage to se the single-season record for outs in a season?

This record is currently held by Omar Moreno, who, as a Pirate in 1980, managed to make out an astounding 560 times.

To reach this feat, our Juan will have to stay healthy (he'll have to play every game), spray singles well enough to stay in the lineup, and make an average of over three outs per game. Every 2-for-5 day Juan logs will mean that he's a little further from making this highly dubious achievement.

Tracking Juan's progress will be the Juan Pierre OutWatch. We will be there every step of the way, barring unforseen events, like work.