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Quote of the day: Juan Pierre on “cybergenics”

Jul 14, 2012, 12:23 PM EDT

Juan Pierre Getty Getty Images

Juan Pierre is well aware that he isn’t exactly a darling of those who use advanced statistics. He just has no idea who those people are.

The veteran outfielder was the subject of a feature by Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News, during which he unleashed this gem:

“With all the computers, the cybergenics [sabermetrics], whatever they do, I think I rate the lowest possible in those things. The things I do don’t show up in box scores. Sacrifice bunting doesn’t make any sense to do. They don’t look at the guy going first to third or taking that extra bag.”

Ah yes, cybergenics. Isn’t that how Mike Trout was created? Must be.
  1. Kevin S. - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Is anybody surprised that Juan Pierre would lash out against something that thoroughly destroys his professional worth?

    • ptfu - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      It’s because he’s simultaneously wearing two hats, thus squeezing his brain and his comprehension.

    • spencersteel - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      I’m not surprised, but Joe Morgan – a great, great player who sabermetrics has revealed to have been even better than people believed – makes the same derisive comments. Course, Juan’s grossed about $55M in salary, so I guess he gets the last laugh.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        Yeah, that’s always been one of the great ironies of Joe Morgan.

  2. illcomm - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Jaun is right. Stats are just stats. They don’t measure the intangibles, just the stuff that can be quantified. In the end stats are all most r measured on and remembered by.

  3. bleed4philly - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Runs are stats too, and ultimately they’re the only thing that matters.

    • spencersteel - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      Okay, let’s say runs are the only thing that matters. Juan Pierre, with his speed, sacrifice bunting, moving runners over, and coming to the plate 725 times a season, hasn’t managed to score 100 of them in a season since Bush 43’s first term. Alas, Juan’s most polished skill is making outs.

  4. florida76 - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Actually, intangibles can always be quantified in the end. People who play sports and understand what they are watching know this very well. Ask the 2011 Cards about the value of intangibles, or the current Red Sox.

    Folks, sports aren’t chemistry problems, no matter how many advanced stats are eventually developed. I would bet a million dollars the smartest stats guy around with no real baseball experience wouldn’t last two spring training games trying to be a manager.

    • paperlions - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      Assuming you were being serious (and not satirical), intangibles can not ever be quantified because they are intangible. If you can quantify them, by definition, they are not intangible.

      The 2011 Cardinals won because of tangibles, they hit the snot out of the ball, got great bullpen work for the last few months, and got tangible contributions from everyone on the roster (even Jake Westbrook).

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Thank you PaperLions….the Cards won because LaRussa got out of the way and let the guys play. They got great contributions from everybody on the roster and benefited greatly from the Rasmus trade. Furthermore, they benefited greatly from Nelson Cruz’s inability to play RF.

      • paperlions - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Love me some Nelli Cruz! He’s on the Christmas Card list.

    • spencersteel - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      I wonder if there are any world-class chess players who follow baseball with more than a passing interest. If so, they must crack up at the perceived level of sophistication the average fan thinks is required to manage a major-league baseball game.

  5. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    “Sacrifice bunting doesn’t make any sense to do.”

    Unwittingly, Juan Pierre makes a good point.

    • paperlions - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

      He’s also wrong, the only people that do “look at the guy going first to third or taking that extra bag” are the cybergenicists.

      • bleedgreen - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        Is going 1st to 3rd on a single even a stat that people keep? Or scoring from 1st on a base hit? I mean, it counts as a run, but the fact that the guy went 1st -> home on a single should mean SOMETHING, right?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        Yes, Bleedgreen people do keep track of that type of stuff. I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, some of the calculations of WAR take into account base running….not just stolen bases, but taking extra bases, etc.

      • paperlions - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        That is correct Dr. Monkey, base running is incorporated into WAR (and pretty much nothing else), and it keeps track of everything associated with base running, essentially comparing how a player advances on a given batted ball compared to the league average advancement on such plays, and it does so for every possible scenario….it also includes steals and caught stealing.

      • ptfu - Jul 14, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        Juan Pierre gets a lot of his WAR value from his baserunning*. This is especially amazing considering his 75% stolen base rate, which is widely considered to be break-even. In effect, that baserunning component of WAR is almost solely reflecting the so-called “intangibles.”

        *This is a damning indictment of his hitting, which compares even worse now that he’s a LF and not a CF.

  6. illcomm - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Florida you r pretty dumb sounding with that comment. the cards won last year cause they had the best nighttime batting avg. those r real stats. not intangibles.

  7. jake6881 - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Juan, you are a great player, great person and just a great example of how the game is sometimes played, and should be played. He lacks size, he makes it up with smarts, he lacks power, he makes it up with hard work. He bunts for hits, he moves runners with zero regard for his own stats, he makes an error, since then he has used both hands to catch the balls in LF. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. How can you not just respect this guy?!! He may not be a hll of famer but if a team wants to win a championship, then you need the Juan Pierre’s of the baseball world.

  8. NJgriffNC - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I’m very disappointed after reading most of the comments on this page. Sabermetrics are very useful statistics, but I am sad to see that they are dissuading this (my) generation from continuing to respect the intangibles and fundamentals that make baseball great. Juan Pierre is a very respectable player. Dropping a surprise bunt down, going 1st to 3rd, hitting the ball to the right side in order to advance a runner from 2nd to 3rd, etc etc are all extremely useful attributes that help teams win games. I love watching players like this.

    • paperlions - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Intangibles and such (e.g. being a good guy, working hard, fundamentals) are already incorporated into measurements of performance.

      IF having good fundamentals results in better fielding, hitting, or base running, then it is incorporated in the metrics that measure such things.

      IF hustling results in making a couple of extra defensive plays and beating out a few GBs and taking an extra base, such things are incorporated into the associated measures of performance.

      No one is saying that you don’t need to have those things, but those thing that do result in better (or worse) performances are already manifest in the performance itself.

      No reason to be disappointed.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 14, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      etc are all extremely useful attributes that help teams win games

      I’d feel a lot more comfortable about all of those if I wasn’t being force fed some ex post facto BS about how a team always plays the right way, doesn’t make mistakes, etc and see them boot routine grounders, drop pop ups, and throw the ball around the infield (aka last few years the Twins and Angels were in the playoffs).

      • DJ MC - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Over the past decade, I have the seen the Orioles go, several times, over the course of a season (not even from one to the next), from a close-knit club with amazing chemistry–when they played well–to an aloof, 25-cabs, horrible clubhouse kind of club–when they played poorly.

        I am pretty much to the point where anyone who starts talking up “chemistry” as the primary determiner of team success is filed in my mind in the same region as people who claim that the dinosaurs and other ancient creatures were wiped out in the Flood. They are taking a belief I am willing to respect and listen about and taking it to the worst possible extreme to only make themselves look like fools.

  9. DJ MC - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Ken Rosenthal put out a report claiming the Orioles are looking at Pierre, among others (like Joe Blanton, Jason Varges, Anthony Young, Hugh Mulcahy, etc.) as potential trade targets.

    Considering the Orioles already are forcing themselves to keep Endy Chavez on the roster over younger outfielders like Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes, I was set to be extremely unhappy if Pierre ended up in Baltimore. Now? If the O’s trade anything more than the rotting corpse of Stringer Bell for him, I am going to break something.

    Probably my laptop. I want a new one anyway, so at least that will alleviate some of the pain I will suffer over the next several months. I’ve got Carbonite, I’ll be fine.

    • brewcitybummer - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      Greinke for Slim Charles and some crab cakes?

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