Chicago White Sox: The Uselessness That Is Juan Pierre
"He is fast, doesn't strike out, hits for average, is being paid only $5 million by the Sox (good call, Dodgers) and can be the team's leadoff man," the calculatorless masses said.
"He can't walk; and speed means nothing when you can't get on first base, are getting caught stealing more each season and run terrible routes to balls to go along with a weak arm in the field," those armed with pocket protectors said.
The nerds are now smiling.
Pierre has become completely useless in all facets of the game, and the only things keeping fans oblivious to this fact are the struggles of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
Outside of the incredibly bad offensive numbers (.265 batting average, .317 on-base percentage, one home run, 15 RBI, 34 runs and 10 stolen bases), Pierre has found a way to fall off in the speed portions of the game, which have made his career.
He has 10 stolen bases, but has been caught nine times. He hasn't stolen a base in 14 games, even though he's reached base via a hit or walk 17 times during that span.
Clearly his confidence in his base-stealing ability is not there. Having a 50-50 chance of getting caught when you're off to the races, especially when you hit for zero power, is simply not going to cut it. Perhaps trading for powerless speed guys isn't the best idea when they're approaching their mid-30s.
Who should be starting in left field for the Chicago White Sox?
Pierre's uselessness extends to the defensive side as well.
Pierre has the second-most errors of any outfielder in baseball and is sixth from the bottom in ultimate zone rating (UZR). According to his UZR (minus-7.5), he has cost the Sox 7.5 runs this season and, according to UZR/150 (minus-17.9), he will cost the Sox a projected 17.9 runs over 150 games.
It's time to give Brent Lillibridge a chance for some regular playing time.
In 94 at-bats, Lillibridge is hitting .266 with a .364 OBP, seven home runs, 13 RBI, 20 runs and six stolen bases (in 10 attempts). In 235 innings in the outfield (including 59 innings in center—the hardest outfield position), Lillibridge's UZR is 2.9, and his UZR/150 is 14.5.
At just 27, Lillibridge is earning a starting spot; however, it looks as though Sox fans will get another dose of watching manager Ozzie Guillen's boy and GM Kenny Williams' costly obsession instead of the better talent.
Prepare for a 36-year-old Carl Crawford in 2018, White Sox fans. That is, if Williams and Guillen are still employed.
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