Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pierre's Base Stealing, Low SLG Draw Attention's Jerry Crasnick's latest "top nine" list names baseball's top base stealers, and Juan Pierre checks in at #7:

In 1998, Pierre and Chone Figgins were teammates for Colorado's Class A Northwest League club in Portland, Ore. They ate hot dogs by the box because they couldn't afford anything else, and talked wistfully of playing in the big leagues while watching "SportsCenter."

Ten years later, Pierre ranks first among active big leaguers with 407 steals, and Figgins is at 215 and counting. Not too shabby for a couple of dreamers.

Pierre, as you might expect, approaches base stealing from every conceivable angle. He spends hours studying video, knows which tracks are the quickest, and works to refine his jumps during batting practice. No detail is too trivial for his consideration.

That 45-for-69 effort in Florida four years ago doesn't look real good in hindsight, but Pierre has become more efficient with maturity and time.

Given his .373 career slugging percentage, he needs all the help he can get turning singles into doubles.

Wow, quite a back-handed compliment there at the end. And if it's indeed back-handed, wouldn't we call it a "slap hit"?