Playing Pie

I heard on the radio yesterday – and apparently some fans are taking about it as well – that there’s support for giving Felix Pie more playing time in left-field in favor of Luke Scott due to defensive considerations. This leaves me with a couple reactions:

(1) You should not make decisions based on a game or two worth of stats, and you shouldn’t judge a player’s defensive talents based on a couple plays in a single game (in this case, Pie’s two nice running grabs in the home opener, even though he really is a good outfielder). In this case, both are being done.

(2) This is amusing, since it’s almost the exact argument I made against signing Vlad Guerrero, even though Vlad doesn’t get mentioned here (except tangentially, when Luke is put onto the bench since there’s no other spot for him).

“Basically, team’s offense would be better (Vlad > Pie, perhaps a 10+ run gap), but the defense would be worse (Pie > Scott, by upwards of 10 runs).”

Except this is worse, since Luke is at least as good a hitter as Vlad (so the gap offensively is larger).

Last year:

Luke: .284/.368/.535, (.387 wOBA)
Vlad: .300/.345/.496, (.360 wOBA)

Last three years:

Luke: .266/.348/.497, (.361 wOBA)
Vlad: .300/.350/.496, (.361 wOBA)

Projected:

Luke: .264/.345/.479
Vlad: .291/.336/.467

(3) If all of the players are to be utilized somewhat often, there are a couple of reasonable platoons available.

There’s the lefty/righty platoon at DH with Luke and Vlad, and there’s the offense/defense platoon in left-field with Luke and Pie.

So against right-handed pitchers you have:

If the O’s are starting a groundball pitcher (need less outfield defense): Luke in LF, Vlad at DH
If the O’s are starting a flyball pitcher (need more outfield defense): Pie in LF, Luke at DH

So against left-handed pitchers you have:

If the O’s are starting a groundball pitcher (need less outfield defense): Luke in LF, Vlad at DH
If the O’s are starting a flyball pitcher (need more outfield defense): Pie in LF, Vlad at DH

Scott always plays against righties and Guerrero always plays against lefties. Scott plays the field when there’s a groundball pitcher, and Felix plays the field when there’s a flyball pitcher.

Just playing Pie and benching Luke just makes the team (a) worse than they could be given their current personnel, and (b) worse than they’d be if they hadn’t signed Vlad.


Stats: wOBA