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Miami Marlins: Is Juan Pierre a Platoon Player Now?


May 6, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder

Juan Pierre

(9) prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Recently manager Mike Redmond has started to use left fielder Juan Pierre in a platoon role, sitting the left handed hitter against left handed pitchers. Pierre for his career has hit well against both righties and lefties, but with father time catching up to him, he may not be more than a platoon player in 2013.

Has Redmond been correct to use Pierre in a platoon role in 2013? Lets take a look at Pierre’s numbers and make a determination.

Here is a quick look at Pierre’s splits against lefties and righties in 2013:

[table id=18 /]

As the table illustrates, Pierre is hitting almost 100 points better against right handed pitchers as opposed to lefties. He is also getting on base at a higher clip and slugging better. This could be attributed to his batting average with balls in play (BABIP) being over 100 points higher against right handers, but it also indicates Pierre makes better contact against righties.

Here is a look at Pierre’s underlying peripherals:

[table id=20 /]

Pierre is striking out and more against righties, but is able to make up with by walking more. Pierre is also hitting the ball into the ground more against lefties, as his groundball rate is at an alarmingly high 74%. Pierre has a career 60% groundball rate against lefties and a career 21.7% line drive rate. His line drive rate is sitting at just 11.1% early on.

Pierre’s ratio of groundballs to flyballs of 5 to 1. That is way up from his career numbers of hitting just over three groundballs to one flyball.

Early in the season, Pierre was in the lineup against both righties and lefties, but recently, Redmond decided that he would platoon Pierre in left. When Austin Kearns was with the team, he was an option in left to spell Pierre. The team has gone recently with Matt Diaz, with Kearns on the bereavement list.

Take a look at how Pierre’s numbers have looked since he has been utilized as a platoon player at the beginning of the month:

[table id=19 /]

For most of his career, Pierre was about even against righties and lefties, but with age and his eroding skills, Pierre seems to be effective only as a platoon player at this point for the Marlins.

Pierre is no longer the player that he was in 2003 when he was a catalyst for the World Series Championship team. He however can make a great impact if manager Redmond continues to use Pierre properly. I would expect he and Justin Ruggiano to platoon in left field once Stanton returns from his hamstring injury, if (and that’s a big if)  Marcell Ozuna can keep up his hot hitting.

Christian Yelich is also not far behind in being major league ready and moving into left field permanently.

What do you guys think? Can Juan Pierre still be a full-time starter in the league?