I Was Thinking Juan Pierre


Walt Jocketty has made pitching the team’s focal point this offseason and I think everyone would agree that it needed to be.  Still, there was one hole remaining on offense.  When we talk Reds offense, we know we’re talking about a prolific lineup that can put up runs (7th in scoring in ’11).  But strikeouts and the inability to move runners over always seemed to plague a Reds team that only had a team BA of .256 and struck out a total of 1,250 times, which is good for baseball’s 7th best team strikeouts.  That’s why I was hoping for a nice hitter off the bench, someone who makes a ton of contact, someone who extends innings.

The Reds will more than likely announce a one year dear with options for OF Ryan Ludwick today. For the first time this offseason, I feel like the Reds missed the boat on filling a gap. We all know what Ryan Ludwick brings to the clubhouse: career .261 BA, .332 OBP. 117 dingers. But does it bother anyone that he hit .237 last year?

Maybe you want more than just one year’s worth of evidence. I took a look at Ryan Ludwick’s stats splits for the past three years. In the past three years at GABP, Ryan Ludwick is batting .191. In three years and 440 ABs as a LF, Ryan hit .239. In three years, Ludwick has hit .241 v lefties and .255 v righties.

For as many fastball-annihilators the Reds already employ, I was shocked to see that they added another one. Ludwick bats an astounding .288 v. fastballs (.293 when thrown by a right-hander). But against the curve? .162. Against the change-up? .190. To me, this guy just fits the mold of a powerful, home run hitting OF that struggles to facilitate rallies with base hits and by moving runners. That’s why I was hoping for Juan Pierre.

Juan Pierre would have been a perfect fit for the 2012 Reds. OF veteran who hit .279 last year. Consider Pierre’s numbers for the past three years compared to Ludwick’s. In three years, Pierre has batted .284 and has maintained an OBP of .342. This lefty has batted .317 v left-handed pitchers since 2009. By the way, in that same span, he’s batted .400 at Great American Ballpark.

Talk about a possible lead-off guy. Juan Pierre, since 2009, is batting .282. This guy is a hitting freak; he boasts a career BA of .296 and has never hit lower than .275 in any season– and he’s been around since people were signing into AOL with a 56k modem.

Reds landed Ryan Ludwick for $2.5 mil. Juan Pierre, who could even retire this season, I imagine would have cost a little more. There’s every bit of truth that his defense has diminished and his speed has slowed considerably. It’s worth noting that he was tied for the major league lead in errors by a left fielder, with 7 in ’11.  That year, Pierre led the major leagues in sacrifice hits with 19, was caught stealing a major-league-leading 17 times and stole 27 bases.  But I don’t think he needed to be a big time base-stealer for the Reds.

The Reds lacked clutch base-hitting last year (Reds ranked 25th in hitting with RISP and two outs in ’11).  Since 2009, Juan Pierre is batting .291 in that situation.  I thought he’d be a welcomed addition, but Jocketty does seems to have a knack for bringing in once successful Cardinals and making them useful.

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Tags: Baseball Batting Average Cincinnati Dusty Baker Free Agency Juan Pierre Left Field MLB Reds Ryan Ludwick

  • beeker

    I hold no more hope for this signing than I did when they signed Edgar Renteria. Or Jim Edmonds. Or Jason Isringhausen.

    (Darth Vader voice): “Now sign Ryan Theriot, and your transformation will be complete.” NOOOOOOO!!!!

  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    I would rather have Ludwick than Juan Pierre, because at least Ludwick can hit. It’s tough to hate on this deal, because the Reds gave a solid 1 WAR backup basically nothing. It was good value when looking at WAR/$ and is about fair market value. Not a great deal, but it was a decent one overall.

    http://www.calltothepen.com

  • beeker

    I hold no more hope for this signing than I did when they signed Edgar Renteria. Or Jim Edmonds. Or Jason Isringhausen.

    (Darth Vader voice): “Now sign Ryan Theriot, and your transformation will be complete.” NOOOOOOO!!!!

  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    I would rather have Ludwick than Juan Pierre, because at least Ludwick can hit. It’s tough to hate on this deal, because the Reds gave a solid 1 WAR backup basically nothing. It was good value when looking at WAR/$ and is about fair market value. Not a great deal, but it was a decent one overall.

    http://www.calltothepen.com

  • beeker

    I should put a caveat on my comment that having Ludwick as a backup LF is significantly better than having Fred Lewis to back up the position. So I shouldn’t be overly grumpy about the signing.

    That said, like you point out, Ludwick has the same flaws as Heisey. How does backing up a .254 BA, fastball-hitting righty who struggles to hit lefty pitching with a .261 lifetime BA, fastball-hitting righty who struggles to hit lefty pitching fill a hole?

    Then again, this makes a little more sense if Drew Stubbs begins to repeat his .243 BA, 205 K performance from last year…

  • beeker

    I should put a caveat on my comment that having Ludwick as a backup LF is significantly better than having Fred Lewis to back up the position. So I shouldn’t be overly grumpy about the signing.

    That said, like you point out, Ludwick has the same flaws as Heisey. How does backing up a .254 BA, fastball-hitting righty who struggles to hit lefty pitching with a .261 lifetime BA, fastball-hitting righty who struggles to hit lefty pitching fill a hole?

    Then again, this makes a little more sense if Drew Stubbs begins to repeat his .243 BA, 205 K performance from last year…

  • Steven Engbloom

    All depends on wants needed versus what’s wanted. The Reds need a leadoff hitter, but there also need a RHB to break up a potential Votto-Bruce tandem in the 3 and 4 slots. Ludwick can fill that void, the question will be can he.

    Pierre is a leadoff guy, no doubt. I think Walt was preferring power and this proves it. Plus, I’m thinking Pierre may have wanted a bit more than what the Red gave Ludwick.

  • beeker

    @Steven Engbloom I get that. To me, it’s like deciding that you want to give your dinner guests an option besides the spaghetti you made, so you serve up some ziti too. They are nearly the same thing.

    The one difference I see is that with Ludwick it’s a fairly safe bet that they’ll get roughly .250 out of him. But with Heisey you don’t. He might give them .290, and he might give them .215. Not having a proven Plan B to Heisey is a big risk to take in a year when they are all in. I just would have liked to see them get someone who brings something a little different to the table.

    I hope I’m just being overly pessimistic about this. And I may well be. I just can’t get excited about another guy from the 2004 Cardinals.

  • Steven Engbloom

    All depends on wants needed versus what’s wanted. The Reds need a leadoff hitter, but there also need a RHB to break up a potential Votto-Bruce tandem in the 3 and 4 slots. Ludwick can fill that void, the question will be can he.

    Pierre is a leadoff guy, no doubt. I think Walt was preferring power and this proves it. Plus, I’m thinking Pierre may have wanted a bit more than what the Red gave Ludwick.

  • beeker

    @Steven Engbloom I get that. To me, it’s like deciding that you want to give your dinner guests an option besides the spaghetti you made, so you serve up some ziti too. They are nearly the same thing.

    The one difference I see is that with Ludwick it’s a fairly safe bet that they’ll get roughly .250 out of him. But with Heisey you don’t. He might give them .290, and he might give them .215. Not having a proven Plan B to Heisey is a big risk to take in a year when they are all in. I just would have liked to see them get someone who brings something a little different to the table.

    I hope I’m just being overly pessimistic about this. And I may well be. I just can’t get excited about another guy from the 2004 Cardinals.