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May 7, 2013

Skewed Left

Juan Pierre's Age-Inappropriate Basestealing

by Zachary Levine


On a Miami team that’s going to stand out on leaderboards for all the wrong reasons, Juan Pierre finished the weekend with 11 stolen bases, one ahead of Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte for the NL lead. The story of a 35-year-old with a .280 on-base percentage who might lead the league in steals isn’t bringing fans to the ballpark, but it is one of the most interesting stories on a Marlins team without many of them.

It’s been 12 years and six address changes since Pierre won his first stolen base crown. He was then a member of the Rockies, a team on which you wouldn’t expect to find a top basestealer, given the ease of hitting home runs in pre-humidor Coors.

But Pierre was 23 then, which is when you’re supposed to be an elite basestealer. Not at 35 and nearing 2000 games on his odometer. (He’ll hit that mark right around his 36th birthday in August, assuming consistent playing time.)

Stealing bases at an elite level is a young man’s game. If you look at the players responsible for the top 500 (plus ties) stolen-base seasons of the modern era, you’ll see that the average age of those players is more than a year younger than that of the top single-season home run hitters or hitters for average.

Also, there is less than half the representation on the steals list than the home run or batting average list from players Pierre’s age or older.

Statistic

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Related Content:  Juan Pierre,  Baserunning,  Basestealing

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