A Plea for Reasonable Discourse

I got my haircut the other day. There is no earthly reason anybody but me should care about this, but I need to introduce this somehow.

I had a conversation with my barber. Since I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me, we defaulted to talking about the Pirates. I mentioned that I liked the acquisition of Travis Snider. His response was that he thought Snider would never be more than a fourth outfielder because he was “slow.”

I almost shut my mouth right then. Really. But I didn’t. I said that at least he was an upgrade over Alex Presley. He then replied that Presley was “better with guys on base.”

This struck me as an odd argument for two reasons. The first reason is that Presley almost always hit in the number one or number two spot. In that spot he would hit behind: 8) Clint Barmes, .242 on base percentage; 9) the pitcher, I’m not bothering to do the math; 1) Jose Tabata: .295 on base percentage. This lineup configuration would probably have Presley hitting with runners on base less than anybody in the Major Leagues.  If his value is in getting runners in, as my barber suggested, then it was being wasted and bringing in someone whose skills would be used would be an upgrade by default. Whether the Pirates should have sent him down in such circumstances or moved him to a different spot in the order would therefore have been a reasonable conversation.

The second reason that I thought this argument was odd, however, makes the argument for moving Presley into an RBI slot in the lineup void. I don’t need to say much to explain it. Here goes:

Alex Presley with no one on: .258, 7 doubles, 4 triples, 8 home runs, 208 plate appearances

Alex Presley with men on: .169, 2 doubles, 0 triples, 0 home runs, 79 plate appearances

Alex Presley with runners in scoring position: .170, 1 double, 0 triples, 0 home runs, 53 plate appearances.

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