Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In which Humma Comes Up With a Most Unfortunate Explanation for Why the Dodgers Might Start Juan Pierre Over Andre Ethier

More from the dog trainer:

Ethier's competition for the job, veteran Juan Pierre, is batting .188 with a .253 on-base percentage after reaching base only once in his last 12 at-bats. But Pierre has an established track record, having averaged more than 200 hits, 95 runs and 57 stolen bases over the last five seasons.

But Ethier, 25, has more power, a better arm and will drive in more runs, tools that would make him more valuable off the bench. And that fact, ironically, could wind up costing him the starting job.

"They bring different things to the table," Torre said. "Obviously, Pierre is that guy who's going to put the ball in play. He's going to be a threat on the basepaths."

So let me get this straight. The guys with more power and better arms who drive in more runs and -- though you didn't say this, I'll point it out -- get on base more often belong on the bench, rather than the starting lineup, because they provide valuable tools late in the game?

I don't know where that reasoning came from -- if it's something that this writer is making up or if the Dodgers are feeding it to him -- but let me be the latest among many to say:

This. Makes. No. Sense. You do not put your better players on the bench in place of worse players. The lamest fantasy baseball owner knows that.

You know, maybe I've put my finger on something here. Maybe the Dodgers think they're playing fantasy baseball in a five by five league. "Sure, we've got Kemp, who can steal. And Furcal. And Martin is fast for a catcher. But where else are our steals going to come from? I've got enough homers, with Jones and Kemp and Loney and Martin; I'll seat Ethier, and Pierre will rack up the steals. And just look at that batting average! Eat our dust, Sabez's Sluggerz!!!!!11!!"

Memo to the Dodgers: Although Juan Pierre is a very good fantasy baseball player... when it comes to the real thing, it turns out, not so much.

1 comment:

jimbilly4 said...

In fact there is a much better argument for Pierre being a good bench player.

Bill James himself (who obviously revolutionized baseball stats but who is actually a little nutty) felt Juan made a good leadoff hitter.

"For instance, James notes that Juan Pierre was relatively effective as a leadoff hitter in 2006: His team scored .61 runs when he led off, compared to .50 when he batted second and .29 when he batted third."

Makes some sense. Despite his mediocre to poor OBP, he steals bases like a sumbitch, which is equivalent to hitting a double if you lead off an inning. He also will be very good at scoring on just about anything.

Note the key fact: He is only good when he leads off an inning. Well, you can only guarantee that once a game for any player. Sounds like a job for a pinch hitter, doesn't it?

Yes, it does.