So what do you do if you’re a professional baseball team, you have John Mayberry and Domonic Brown in your organization, just bid farewell to Raul Ibanez and his .707 OPS over 575 plate appearances from last year and are looking to get better in left field in 2012? I don’t know for sure, but I have some ideas and I’m a little surprised that bringing on Juan Pierre made the list for the Phillies.
After hitting 279/329/327 in 711 plate appearances for the White Sox last year, Pierre has hit 277/335/322 in 1,445 plate appearances over the last two seasons. In 2011, he stole 27 bases, which tied him for 21st-best in all of baseball. He was caught 17 times, which was more than any other player. There were only four players in either league who were caught stealing more than 12 times. In his defense, Pierre was a far more effective base-stealer with the White Sox in 2010. The active career leader in stolen bases swiped an AL-best 68 bases and was caught just 18 times.
Despite on-basing .329 last year, Pierre still has a career on-base percentage of .345. And if he can get on base, that would go a long way towards making up for the gaping lack of power and diminishing speed. But in six of the last seven years he’s on-based under .345. From 2000 to 2004, he on-based .361. Since the end of 2004 he’s on-based .334. And that makes things tough for an outfielder without power who hasn’t appeared in a game at center field since 2009.
Pierre has never hit for a lot of power. He arrived on the scene with Colorado in 2000 and had two extra-base hits in 219 plate appearances, both doubles. He hit .310 that year and slugged .320, giving him and isolated power of .010. No player with 200 plate appearances in either league has posted an isolated power that low since. His isolated power topped out in 2006 with the Cubs at .096 as he hit 292/330/388 with 32 doubles, 13 triples and three home runs over 750 plate appearances.
Over the last two seasons, Pierre has hit .277 and slugged .322, giving him an isolated power of .045. In 2011, among the 146 players in either league with 500 plate appearances, his isolated power of .049 was 146th. In 2010 his isolated power of .041 was 149 of 151 as he topped infielders Cesar Izturis and Elvis Andrus in the category.
Pierre’s isolated power for his career is .067, and he’s hit that mark or better just once in the last five seasons (.084 with the Dodgers in 2009). By comparison, Wilson Valdez has a career isolated power of .087 and an isolated power of .097 while with the Phillies. Martinez’s isolated power last year was .086. Polanco’s for his career is .105, last year it was .062.
Here’s what Mayberry, Ibanez, Pierre and the average NL left fielder did in 2011:
|NL AVG LF||259||328||421||327|
The NL average for left fielders in 2011 for wOBA was .327. Pierre’s career wOBA is .315. Over the past five seasons, he’s posted a wOBA of .327 or better just once — in 2009 in his 425 plate appearances with the Dodgers. Pierre put up a wOBA in the .293 to .298 range in each of the other four seasons.
The Phillies signed 33-year-old right-handed reliever Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. Qualls was great from 2004-2008 and pretty good in 2009 before a miserable 2010 season in which he threw to a 7.32 ERA and allowed 85 hits and 21 walks in 59 innings. Last year he bounced back some, if not to his ’04-’08 levels, throwing to a 3.51 ERA with a 1.25 ratio for the Padres.
This article points out some of the recent issues involved with trying to use Chad Qualls against lefties or if you’re not playing at Petco.
Locks for the pen at this point look to me to include Kendrick, Papelbon, Qualls, Willis and Bastardo. Contreras seems likely to take the sixth of seven spots if he’s healthy. Stutes seems close to a sure thing and Herndon would be my first guess to take Conteras’s spot if Contreras can’t go.
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