Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune wrote yesterday about Juan Pierre’s ability as a leadoff hitter. The White Sox say they like him best hitting at the top of the order, and he’s their best option to lead off.
Given his somewhat low career OBP of .347, I wanted so badly to disagree with the idea of Pierre leading off. Ideally, your #1 hitter should be taking a lot of walks and posting an OBP of at least .370–something Pierre simply is not capable of. But if you took a look at the the rest of the Sox lineup, Pierre truly is the best option.
It’s best to have your top OBP guy leading off, but at season’s end that guy will likely be Adam Dunn (career .381 OBP) or Paul Konerko (.393 OBP last year), and you can’t waste their power at the top of the lineup. You want them where they are, driving in runs. You have to give Ozzie Guillen some credit, he’s constructed the best possible lineup with the players he has been given.
Pierre might not walk enough, and he gets caught stealing more than you would like, but he’s the best possible option Chicago has at that spot in the lineup.