Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Losing At Bats

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this blog is all about beating the bench Pierre drum, so I guess it's HISS-POP-BOOM-BOOM-PIERRE GOT NO POWER-HISS-BOOM, skip-skip-skip...

For the onomatopoeiacally challenged, this is what you get when painfully mix a metaphor and instead of going back and refining your prose, you instead charge ever forward like a runaway freight train into a china shop.

Or something like that.

OK, to the point: Andruw Jones may soon go on the DL, his very own knee so frustrated at his ineptitude and the accompanying $36 million-induced Dodger paralysis that it sprang loose some cartilage. So the Pierre/Ethier problem will likely settle down from a roiling boil into a steady throb of daily Pierre-dom. If we can get Furcal back into the lead-off spot I will be further soothed. Also soothing: Juan's nearly 90% stolen base success rate and his continued ability to actually take a walk.

This sort of kills the original point of my post, but I have already shown a disturbing lack of self control (or self respect for that matter) and I see no reason to stop now just because the facts on the ground are now against me. Insert Iraq War Joke here.

Juan has been regularly starting since basically May 1. Over the 17 games played so far this month Juan has amassed 75 plate appearances, which can be compared to 65 for Matt Kemp, 49 for Andruw Jones, and 47 for Andre Ethier.

That's right, Juan has managed nearly 30 more PAs than Andre Ethier. Now Ethier is not a lead-off hitter (although he does ok in the #2 slot), so you wouldn't expect him to get as many as Pierre. And even a young player could probably use a day off every couple of weeks, keeping them sharp. Matt Kemp played 16 of those 17 games and he has nearly 20 PAs more than Ethier. If Ethier were to lose playing time to Juan at this rate over the course of an entire season, we are talking 200 lost plate appearances.

I don't want to get into EqA and OPS+ again this week: the numbers haven't really changed. Instead think of it this way: Using Ethier this way will cost us 5 HRs, 5 doubles, and 25 total bases (looking Ethier's rates vs. Juan's rates). That could easily be the difference in wining 3-4 more games. Joe Torre, please stop giving away Ethier's at bats to Juan Pierre. It is a criminal act, punishable by seven years hard labor doing Farmer John's commercials. Oh that reminds me:

Eastern most in quality, Western most in flavor.

Now I still believe Matt Kemp should be our CF of the future and it is criminal to waste a LF position on someone who will hit 0 home runs, but if both Ethier and Kemp are in the line-up my level of disgruntlement goes way down.

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