We’ve had almost a full season to look him up and down. Does Juan Pierre measure up?
ESPN’s sortable stats gives us a look at the league’s top performers in the leadoff spot.
I’ll use brown for indications that he’s crap, Cubbie blue to show he’s great, and White Sox black to show that the stat is largely irrelevant to me.

Pierre has scored 63 runs; 19 other leadoff guys have scored more. That’s not entirely under his control, but his lack of power, low OBP, and 17 CS drag him down.
He’s a surprising 3rd in leadoff hits. Good for him! He’s also 2nd in at-bats, so he’s been healthy.
His .332 OBP puts him 17th among the 20 qualifiers.
His .388 OBP puts him 16th.

44 steals has him in 2nd among leadoff guys, but his 17 CS gives him the #1 spot by 3.
in Pitches per plate appearance, he’s 19th out of 20 qualifiers.
He’s grounded into 5 DP, which is reasonable; middle of the pack in a tie with lots of guys.
His 9 sacrifices lead all major league leadoff hitters! Yay!
In RC/27: 15th out of 20 with 4.73.
Our boy makes contact, at least. 31 Ks is 34th on the list of leadoff guys and a lower number than 5 non-qualifiers.

Pierre is apparently bucking for a sponsorship from UPS.

Fielding measures show his value thusly:
0 Errors! Great!
4 Assists (I guess when people take bases on him as often as they do, he’s bound to throw out a few.)
He’s 17th of 23 in Range Factor (which, incidentally, ranks Korey 3rd, so must be swallowed with a grain of salt)
In Zone Rating he’s 3rd only behind Korey and Beltran. Andruw Jones is 22nd.
Frankly, I don’t know what to make of these numbers. He has a poor defensive reputation and a weak arm, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and call it a wash.

Intangibles? Team leadership? I have heard nothing about him taking young players under his wing or showing any great baseball intelligence. With no data, it’s a wash.

Salary? $5,750,000. He’s terribly overpriced.

My judgment:
He cannot be considered a guy who will be a contributor to a pennant contender within the next 5 years. As a placeholder outfielder occupying a hole until Pie learns to wait on his pitch, he has value at 3 to 4 million per year. However, his strengths lie in counting stats — steals and hits — not in ratio stats like OBP and SLG. He’s a below average total package and I would call anything more than a 2 year, 6.5 million dollar contract a mistake. Even there I’m sure we could find a 4A player to put up a .330 OBP and get caught stealing 28% of the time while contributing passable defense at best and no power.

So if a realistic option like Cameron, Roberts, Lofton, Brady Clark, or (dream on) Ryan Freel become available we should snatch ’em up. Otherwise I guess he’s the devil we know.

Please post your vote. Say Yes to Juan Pierre in ’07 or No?

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