Before I even start – the recent troubles of the Dodgers are not all the fault of Juan Pierre. With Rafael Furcal still injured, Andruw Jones and Jeff Kent each proving that it’s really hard to play with giant forks sticking out of their backs, and presumed #1 and #2 starters Brad Penny and Derek Lowe each rocking ERAs over 5.00, there’s clearly plenty of blame to be passed around.
That said, I came upon this stat today and it’s so jarring that I just have to display it.
Juan Pierre, 2008 batting leadoff:
.180/.250/.208 .458 OPS 28 OPS+
Juan Pierre, 2008 batting second:
.432/.412/.486 .998 OPS 179 OPS+
I’m not sure what surprises me more about that. The fact that he’s so, so bad as a leadoff hitter; or the fact that he’s so, so good as the #2 hitter? Granted, “small sample size” warnings abound here, and over his career he’s relatively the same player at each position. But for whatever reason, that’s certainly not the case this year, and it’s not even close. Since his work hitting leadoff is sub-Jonesian, why not bat him second until Furcal comes back? (Or, you know, not at all, but that’s just beating a dead horse.) Honestly, I wouldn’t mind putting Russell Martin leadoff – his OBP is up to an outstanding .444, and when you consider how bad he was for the first few weeks of the season, that should tell you how well he’s playing right now. Plus, he can run! But no – we’ve got to have that classic speed leadoff hitter at the top of the lineup. Even if he can’t get on base to use that speed.
And yeah, we all know that the picture above shows Pierre popping up a bunt. But isn’t it so much more fun to look at it as though he’s trying to bunt 3 feet below a pitch?