And that's how you chop down legends.
Despite never truly being one of the best hitting catchers of his era, there is no denying that A.J. Pierzynski has been one of the more well-known backstops of this past generation. Infamous is probably the most appropriate word for it. But one does have to wonder what the narrative would be on our beloved rascal if he hadn't run with the whole villain angle.
Grant Brisbee wrote a wonderful article about Pierzynski over at the mothership this morning. And yeah, it's fair to say that A.J.'s current legacy is that of the upstart troublemaker. If we were casting the team as old world gods, depending on what region we chose to go with A.J. would be Hermes, Loki, or Anansi. If we chose fables instead (as I did last year and obviously went back to that well today) he would be Jack, bane of giants.
But very quietly (unless you follow me on Twitter during the games), A.J. has been climbing up the franchise rankings in most meaningful offensive categories. You probably haven't realized it, but going by counting stats A.J. Pierzynski will end his career as one of the top twenty hitters in White Sox franchise history.I enjoy spending free time on B--R, farting around with almost every franchise's top 50 lists. I'm not even sure how many times I've been to the White Sox page. It's a lot. But I started focusing on it more heavily at the start of June when A.J. launched his 100th homerun with the team., making him only the 19th player to do so. Where can we expect him to finish in the standings in what may be his final season on the south side?
- Games played: Right now, he's sitting in 25th place with 1,003 games played. If he plays 60 more games (which would put him on his usual pace for around 130), he'll finish tied with Bibb Falk for 22nd place.
- At bats: 23rd with 3,671. If he gets 214 more this season (puts him at the 460ish he's managed the past two years), he'll finish with 3,885. This will move him past Lee Tannehill, Magglio Ordonez, and Bibb Falk, putting him at 20th.
- Plate appearances: 29th with 3,933. With an estimated 224 more, he'll have 4,157. That will put him in 25th place, just behind Carlos May.
- Runs: 37th with 422. This one is a little harder to project. He's already matched last year's number. I'm going to give him 27 more on the year, bringing him up to 449 which is good enough to inch just ahead of Bill Melton for 30th.
- Hits: 23rd with 1,027. Another tough one to fudge, but I think he'll finish with around 140 hits this season. If that happens, we're looking at 1,094 total. That places him strongly at 21st, behind fellow catcher Sherm Lollar.
- Total bases: 21st with 1,546. Should finish around 215 on the season, which would give him 1,628. He'd finish 19th, just ahead of Carlos Lee but just behind Ray Schalk.
- Doubles: 22nd with 189. A byproduct of hitting more homeruns this season has been a noticeable decline in doubles for A.J. I think we'll all happily accept that tradeoff. I don't see him hitting more than 20 on the year, which would let him finish with a nice and clean 200. He'd finish 19th, behind Earl Sheely.
- Homeruns: 18th with 106. As much fun as believing he could hit 30 homeruns this year, 25 seems far more likely, so we'll call it 116. This would allow him to jump over Carlos Quentin and humorously enough former hitting coach Greg Walker to finish 16th.
- RBI: 29th with 431. 75 RBI on the season sound about right to you? Works for me. End total of 458, putting him in 24th just behind Jermaine Dye.
Yeah, if you want to be a jerk about it and look at the rate-adjusted stats he doesn't stand up nearly as well as if you just accept counting stats as gospel. Is he one of the best hitters to ever play for the White Sox? No. But he's been better than quite a few and it's been fun watching him climb that beanstalk.