The Case for Juan Pierre's Inclusion in the Dodgers Outfield

Charlie JonesContributor IMarch 27, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 07:   Juan Pierre #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a RBI single during a Spring Training game against the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch on March 7, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

If you go strictly by the numbers, Andre Ethier is your clear choice over Juan Pierre when it comes to who should start in the Los Angeles Dodgers outfield this season. And baseball is a numbers game, so who can fault the Dodgers for possibly placing Pierre on the bench this season?

Andre Ethier has better numbers than Juan Pierre, but does the situation those numbers come in matter more than the numbers themselves? Pierre's on base percentage is .327, while Ethier's is .375. And while it looks as though Either may be the correct choice, the strikeouts he accumulates (Either's .167 compared to Pierre's .064) are obviously more likely and are at key points in the game. The fact that Pierre can steal at will could possibly help the next batter's numbers make up for Pierre's shortcomings in RBI, walks, on base percentage, and runs scored.

Eithier's slugging percentage is much higher than Pierre's, but the question still remains: When is Ethier hitting and when is he not hitting? When does Either do all those magical things Ethier can do? He does them when it doesn't matter.

Pierre has proven time and time again that he is a clutch player. He places that unseen statistic of pressure on the opposing team when he is on base. He has the ability to place the next guy at bat in a great position to score an extra run or two that can be the difference in the game. Follow up Pierre with a solid on-base guy and you have a run in the bank!

So, what matters more? The numbers or the situation?