With Andy LaRoche on the shelf for a couple of months, and seeing that I'm constantly talking about the 5th rotation spot battle, I'll shift my focus back to the battle for left field. I'm still under the assumption that Matt Kemp is a lock in right, but sometimes I read something stating otherwise. But, I know he'll get the majority, if not all, of the starts there anyway. By my calculations, that leaves Juan Pierre vs. Andre Ethier for left.
16 games into Spring Training, here are the important stats for each man:
Juan Pierre - 39 AB, .205 AVG, .298 OBP, 6 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 BB, 5 SB
Andre Ethier - 36 AB, .250 AVG, .400 OBP, 8 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 1 SB
It does take a good ol' Rocket Scientist to figure out that Ethier is playing better right now. Not surprisingly, his power numbers are much better (not that Pierre is expected to his homers). Projected over a full season, he's at 30 HR and 60 RBI, which would be great. His AVG isn't good, but his OBP is. So far, he's been willing to take a walk and wait for a pitch to hit out, which is a mark of a good power hitter. Not a bad start.
Pierre, on the other hand, has done what you'd expect him to do: not get on base much, but run a lot with success when he does. A .298 OBP is pretty pathetic for a guy who hits at the top of the order. Let's face reality - he is who he is, and it's not like he'll drastically change his game at this point. His work ethic can never be disputed, but his results are still not want Dodger fans are looking for from a leadoff man. And that's just the truth.
Seeing that Matt Kemp is slugging .615 to go along with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, and 9 RBI's, that should further support his case for being a starting right fielder. Andruw Jones hasn't done too much yet, but you know his power numbers will be there when it's all said and done. If Ethier continues to be a decent power threat, it would be hard to keep him out of the lineup. Ethier, Jones, and Kemp looks like a solid, young trio that us fans would be excited to see everyday.
As for Pierre, well... he can always pinch-run in the 8th!