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.


Andrew Shimmin said...

I officially question your loyalty to the Dodgers. Your betters are busy creating the best team possible. Your role is to give them your money, and your perfect, unblinking loyalty. Got that?

Now. Make me a sandwich, and we'll call it even.

troy said...

Why do you hate the Dodgers so?

Humma Kavula said...

I have perfect, unblinking loyalty to the Dodgers. Despite my frustrations with the offseason moves, and despite the fact that I think the Dodgers will struggle to win slightly more games than they will lose, and despite the fact that ticket prices went up again, I renewed my part of a season ticket package.

I love the Dodgers.

It's Juan Pierre I hate.

troy said...

Maybe you can link me to one of your pro-Dodger blogs

jimbilly4 said...

It is very difficult to determine how deeply a tongue has been laid in its cheek from a few lines of text, but I will take the bait and guess that Sr. Kavula dislikes Pierre BECAUSE he likes the Dodgers. We all have that friend that keeps getting involved with people we know are bad for them, but they never listen to us or only get mad at us if we say anything. Pierre is like that.

Also, there is no pro-Dodgers blog for similar reasons that the news is mostly bad news. How interesting is pure cheerleading? What are you going to post on the Russel Martin is Great site, his face in a heart?

That being said I think it is unfair to use only Pierre's last year to judge his worth as a baseball player. His lifetime average OBP is .350, OPS is .727. These are nothing to write home about either, but it is an open question whether we get 2001, 2003, 2004 Pierre or 2002, 2005, 2006 Pierre. They have a big difference in value. Also, while I am in the Pierre ain't so good camp, it has been pointed out that OBP (and OPS) does not include reached on error, which is demonstratably higher for Pierre than for non-speedsters. While I won't waste time calculating it here, it could be as much as a .010 to .015 bump in OBP compared to
average players. Yeah, big deal, but I bet that raises him several notches on the suck wagon.

And finally, no matter what year you choose Pierre is not a bad baseball player. He is among the top 500 players playing today, out of literally hundreds of thousands people playing baseball and its variants. He just may not be a good Major League Baseball player, an important distinction to keep in mind for the vast majority of us who couldn't manage an OPS of .200.

Humma Kavula said...

That's all fine, jimbilly -- except: I don't pay nearly $60 a game to watch the 2,000th-best baseball players in the world apply their craft.

I pay that to watch the very best in the worst.

Pierre does not qualify.

jimbilly4 said...

I was just trying to tone down a certain level of hyperbole and take a little of the mean-ness out of this discussion. This is not about how Juan is a bad individual or poor athlete, it is about how baseball often values the wrong statistics. Juan would be a fantastic back-up outfielder, perfect for putting in for defense, situational hitting, pinch-runnning, etc. He just maybe shouldn't start 162 games a year. I know you want to hate the man, but I am saying don't. Hate the system that undervalues more capable baseball players.

And while I know it was a typo, I think you are claiming in this blog that you ARE paying $60 for the best of the worst.