With the 2012 edition of Spring Training coming to an end, the Phillies' final outfield spot is up for grabs. The candidates? Veteran outfielders Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre. Even though Pierre has already made the 40-man roster, and Podesdnik is still waiting to hear from the club, it could be a decision to be made when rosters need to be cut to 25.
The winner will join an outfield crew featuring everyday starters Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., who will split time between 1B and LF, and Laynce Nix, who will do the same.
Charlie Manuel has a difficult decision to make between the two, but for what it's worth I'll take a stab at making a quasi-decision for him.
The two are remarkably similar. They both hit for average, steal bases, provide an above-average glove, and lack power. Here's a comparison of their career per full season statistics:
Their stolen base/caught stealing numbers are similar, their RBI numbers are nearly the same, and their SLG percentages are in the same ballpark. So, how does one make the decision?
The next logical tiebreaker would be to look at their production in the Spring. According to MLB Official Spring Training statistics, they have the same number of at-bats and RBIs, they're both hitting over .310, and their walk and runs numbers are nearly the same.
However, when a person delves deeper, their statistics seem to differ. Podsednik's SLG percentage is over .150 higher, he has 4 more doubles, and his stolen base - caught stealing rate is 5-0, while Pierre's is 3-3. Statistically, he's having a slightly better Spring.
Charlie has obviously looked at - or been told about - all of these statistical comparisons and differences. However, what he's seen with his naked eye will in the end be a major contributing factor.
I've seen at least five Phillies Spring Training games this year, and I think Scott Podsednik really deserves the job. Pierre had a hit against Tampa recently to go along with a steal, but overall he has not been as consistent as Scott.
Even though he's two years older, Podsednik looks like he's in better shape, and his bat seems to be livelier. He's stealing bases left and right, his glove is as sharp as ever, and he's the only one of the two to have a home run this Spring.
In short, he looks like the best candidate for the job.
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