I guess the title isn't entirely true. Hunter Pence is great for entertainment value. He is kind of goofy, he seems like a good guy who other players enjoy having around, he melts faces, and he does odd things with his limbs in the midst of playing baseball. That's fun, and fun is good.
But in terms of making a difference for the Philadelphia Phillies? Well, Hunter Pence hasn't. Not one bit.
Through last night's game, Hunter Pence has been with the Phillies for 49 games. Here's a simple comparison of the basic team metrics for the 49 games with Pence and the immediately preceding 49 games without Pence.
Trust me, there's no funny math here, no Bernie Madoff accounting, no wishful thinking from those of us who thought the Pence trade was unnecessary. The simple cold truth is that Hunter Pence's addition to the Phillies' lineup hasn't changed its offensive production one lick. His addition to the outfield hasn't changed the Phillies' run prevention in any significant way either. And his overall addition has not improved the team's record at all.
Sure, he's put up better numbers than the previous right-fielders. Here's a basic comparison of the Phillies' right-field production in the 49 games before Pence and the 49 games with Pence.
But, as much as that is definite individual improvement, it clearly hasn't translated to any difference for the team. Which was exactly the point that those of us who were skeptical of trading for Pence were making - this is a great team, and it was great before Pence joined it.
We feared the trade would be unnecessary. The team's performance since Pence's trade backs that up.