And of course, by “Sports Illustrated“, I do mean “Baseball Prospectus“, since this was written for SI by BP‘s Joe Sheehan, but still – plenty of the uninitiated will finally get their eyeballs on this.
This is a topic that’s near and dear to me, because I believe I said just about exactly the same thing back on May 19th:
Juan Pierre, 2008 batting leadoff:
.180/.250/.208 .458 OPS 28 OPS+
Juan Pierre, 2008 batting second:
.432/.412/.486 .998 OPS 179 OPS+
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 on May 12th, when Furcal was DL’d…
Get ready to see a whole lot more Juan Pierre. Without our real leadoff hitter, there’s no way Joe’s going to pass up the chance to use JP at leadoff every single day. I’m serious; I’d be floored if Pierre gets even a single game off before Furcal’s return. I admit, we don’t really have another option that stands out to leadoff; but why not give Russell Martin a crack at it? He’s got the second-highest OBP of anyone besides Furcal, and it’s not like he’s a liability on the bases. But I can’t imagine Torre ever trying that. No, it’s going to be JP all the time.
Ugh. I made that last post exactly a month ago, and Pierre really has led off every last game. But hey, at least the offense has been cruising since then. Right? Right?