Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 9/22/12
Philadelphia_phillies_charlie_e3d7

Charlie Manuel has put Pierre in the right spots to succeed in 2012. Could Pierre lead them into the playoffs? Photo: AP

In playing blackjack, there is a way to decrease the house advantage. This way of playing, basic strategy, limits the house advantage from somewhere around 0.64% for a six deck game to nearly even. The plays feel a little funny sometimes (hitting a hard 16 against a dealer’s seven up-card or a hard 12 against a dealer’s two) but there is a mathematical advantage to doing so, often used not to improve winnings but to mitigate the risk of losing. Juan Pierre, and his basic strategy skill set, has helped the Phillies to a 14-5 record in September, and has kept their playoff hopes on life support for the greater part of the month.

Like in blackjack, baseball has expected outcomes. Much like the cards “have a memory”, previous plays in baseball create outcomes that, by mathematical computation, have certain odds of occurring. For instance, Ryan Howard, in back-to-back games no less, hit two home runs off of left-handed relievers. Yet, even including those home runs, Howard, for his career, is only hitting .127 against them, with a home run in about 1 in 100 at bats. The home runs were certainly unexpected outcomes. Yet, Pierre in the second half, and the entire month of September, has been predictable as a clock, which is exactly what the Phillies have needed.

Pierre has had an excellent season, one by which FanGraphs puts him at 1.8 WAR, or an $8 million player. In a true bounce-back year, Pierre is 35 for 42 in stolen base attempts, with a triple-slash line (.318/.360/.385) that exceeds his career marks. Yet, credit must go to the Phillies, and in particular Charlie Manuel, for putting Pierre in situations where his expected outcomes are the most beneficial for the team. Take for instance Pierre’s splits. Against righties, Pierre is hitting .340/.383/.418 in 2012 while he’s hitting just .203/.230/.203 against lefties, a sharp contrast from his career lines, where Pierre actually has a true near-even split (.296/.342/.372 versus righties, .302/.359/.340 against lefties).

In September, it really has not mattered who Pierre is facing: .465/.500/.558 with only two strikeouts. Pierre is not only getting on base but he’s making productive outs and scoring runs (13). As part of a September platoon with Ty Wigginton, Pierre has been all anyone could have asked for and more. One thing is for sure: Pierre will have plenty of offers to choose from this off-season instead of just an invitation to minor league camp and the Phillies probably cannot and will not sign him.

A couple weeks back, my friend and former blog-mate here at PN, Michael Baumann, very astutely and intelligently laid out the case for trading Pierre to anyone who would take him for any reasonable return. I respected every argument Baumann put forth and for the most part agreed, except for that little piece of fan inside of me who is maddeningly entertaining the idea that the Phillies can still make the playoffs. As a writer, I wanted to write this to recognize what Pierre has done: very good production from an aging, slowed former speedster who was a disaster as a starter this year but has turned his game back around. While it is incredibly improbable that the Phillies make the playoffs in 2012, Pierre needs to hit against righties and would be a weapon in the postseason in the unlikely event the Phillies get there.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Andrew Desjardins eats cereal out of Stanley Cup

Stephen Curry posts priceless David Lee farewell on Twitter

Michigan AD: Nike deal is largest in the country

Randy Moss beats Antonio Brown in sprints during workout

LeBron James believes his ‘legacy will speak for itself’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Crash at Tour de France sidelines riders

Buehrle drank beer during World Series game he pitched

Redick gives Clippers ‘F-minus’ grade for losing Jordan

Report: PGA pulls Grand Slam event from Trump course

Three things to watch for on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Phillies GM: Chase Utley not a starter at 2B when he returns

T.O. has advice for Donovan McNabb after latest DUI

Sonnen: McGregor is 27 pounds over his weight limit

WATCH: Connor McDavid turns heads in Oilers scrimmage

Member of Pirates grounds crew swallowed by tarp

Video allegedly shows BYU RB recruit being shot

Vin Scully teaching the history of the American flag is a national treasure

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

How the Pacers' new identity will look

Matt Bonner blames iPhone 6 for elbow injury, shooting woes

Evaluating Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60M contract

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Five RBs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Watch to watch on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.