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12/30/1976 (40 y, 2 m, 1 d)
1994 June Amateur Draft - Round: 3, Pick: 8, Overall: 71, Team: Minnesota Twins
$3M / 1 Years (2016)
Pierzynski (hamstring) was transferred to the 60-day DL on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. (9/17/2016)
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A.J. Pierzynski Beholds the Nothing That Is Not Th»
Carson Cistulli (NotGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Despite posting the lowest ISO mark(.125) in his career as a starter, it was another solid season for Pierzynski. His wOBA of .326 ranked 13th among all catchers with 350 PA. He traded fly balls for grounders and line drives. He set a career-best with a 47.3 GB%, which led to a .314 BABIP and a .300 AVG. And while his FB% was down more than 5%, Pierzynski still matched 2008’s home-run output of 13, as he rebounded to an 8.7% HR/FB mark. He still does not walk very much, although he improved from a dreadful 3.4 BB% in 2008 to a poor 4.5% last year. However, Pierzynski also cut down his strikeouts last season, with his 10.3 K% his lowest mark since 2004. He finished with a WAR value of $11.2, the ninth-best mark for a catcher.
The Year Ahead:
This will be Pierzynski’s final year of a three-year contract, one that has been a great value to the White Sox. However, Chicago has top prospect Tyler Flowers, who excelled at both Double- and Triple-A last season, waiting in the wings, so it could be Pierzynski’s last season on the South Side. He will be 34 during the 2010 season, which is normally an age to worry about catchers declining. But there is nothing in his offensive numbers, outside of his ISO (which dropped for the fourth straight season) to indicate either decaying skills or over-valued performance. Pierzynski should still be one of the top catchers for average in either league. His home-run output will continue to be below-average, but he should contribute enough in both runs and RBIs to be a nice late-round pick if you do not get one of the top catchers on the board. (Brian Joura)
For a while it seemed like Pierzynski would be leaving Chicago for good, but at the last minute the Sox brought him back. He's been in decline seemingly forever, and doesn't really offer anything on offense other than being a decent hitter for a catcher... which is something, to be fair. He doesn't walk or hit for power (even in the White Sox' launching pad), and when his BABIP drops, there goes the average. Still, at catcher, his likely .270/.300/.400 2011 with 50-60 RBI and 40-50 runs is valuable, and he stays healthy enough. He's a starter if you need one, just don't overpay. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Pierzynski's seemingly endless run with the White Sox will continue for at least one more year. He isn't really good at anything at the plate until you remember he's a catcher.
Pierzynski has never been a top-class talent behind the plate, but in sufficiently deep AL-only leagues, owners have typically gotten okay value for their small investment in him. His days of double-digit home runs, a key to whatever value he had, seem to be largely behind him. Yes, he still plays in one of baseball’s most hitter-friendly parks, but he’s going to start seeing his playing time diminished assuming Tyler Flowers can stay healthy. Better to grab Flowers on draft day, then pick up Pierzynski as a handcuff as needed, than to expect 150+ games out of the aging backstop. (Dan Wade)
The Quick Opinion:
Love him or hate him, Pierzynski has certainly made a name for himself. He’s past his fantasy usefulness, though, so best to let him ride off into the sunset gracefully than try to bleed just one more year out of him.
Even though Pierzynski landed in one of the few places in baseball that will be as hitter-friendly as his previous home in Chicago, regression is a virtual certainty given his age and previous year's level of success. He is going into one of the best possible situations for a hit-first catcher of his ilk, since Geovany Soto isn't anyone the Rangers have sunk much money into or expect all that much out of. Even if he ends up hitting at the designated hitter spot in the lineup the way Mike Napoli did, his catcher eligibility makes him an attractive option in AL-only leagues or any two-catcher leagues. He probably won't platoon at first, since he's a lefty just like Mitch Moreland. And don't expect him to duplicate last year's power output again. (Dan Wade)
The Quick Opinion:
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Pierzynski had to suffer through steroid rumors last season, after all, in this post-Barry Bonds world, 35-year-olds who hit a career high number of home runs are almost certainly going to come under suspicion. This is a patently ridiculous state of affairs.
Pierzynski has been one of the lower-risk catchers for his career as he has provided 500+ plate appearances in ten of the previous eleven seasons while hitting for a solid average. More recently, he has become a run producer as he has sacrificed contact for power. From 2009 to 2011, Pierzynski hit .286/.318/.406 with a 8.1 strikeout rate and hit 112 extra base hits (30 homers) in 1538 plate appearances. Over the past two seasons, both contract years, he has hit .275/.311/.462 with a 14.7 K% and has 91 extra base hits (44 homers) in 1049 plate appearances. Nearly all of his home runs are pull shots, so the move to Fenway does not necessarily enhance his chances to continue hitting for power as he recently has. The other issue is that he is 37 years old and catchers do not age well. Just
37 years or older have had seasons with an OPS+ >100 (minimum 400 PA), with Jorge Posada's 2009 season being the most recent example. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk owns four of those nine seasons. When catchers fall off, they fall off hard. Caveat emptor. (Jason Collette)
The Quick Opinion:
37 years or older have had seasons with an OPS+ >100 (min 400 PA), with Jorge Posada's 2009 season being the most recent example. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk owns four of those nine seasons. When catchers fall off, they fall off hard. Caveat emptor.
Pierzynski's run with the Red Sox went about as poorly as one could imagine. It wasn't just that he hit only .254/.286/.348 and had thrown out just 19% of opposing base thieves. Once again, work ethic and attitude issues plagued him as his handling of the Red Sox staff came under fire. With the Red Sox a sinking ship for most of the season, Pierzynski found himself out of a job at midseason. Eventually, a St. Louis Cardinals squad missing Yadier Molina came calling, and handed a broken-down Pierzynski 88 more essentially fruitless plate appearances. The Braves gave him a one-year deal this offseason for $2 million, and he'll likely serve as some sort of mentor for young Christian Bethancourt -- if he lasts the whole season. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Pierzynski's narrow margin for error ran out in Boston, and at 38 he looks completely cooked.
A.J. Pierzynski signed a one year deal with the Braves last offseason and was expected to back up and mentor prospect Christian Bethancourt. Things did not go exactly as planned, as Pierzynski outhit the youngster and ended up running away with the starting role with his hot bat. In 436 plate appearances spanning 113 games, Pierzynski hit .300 for the first time since 2009, and his 114 park and league adjusted OPS was his second-best mark since '03. The veteran's nine long balls were low by his standards, but there were no complaints when he posted rate numbers considerably higher than his career marks in what was his 18th campaign. The key to Pierzynski's success was drastically cutting down on strikeouts, as his 8.5% strikeout rate was well below his lifetime rate of 11.5%. In fact, Pierzynski's strikeout rate was lower than all but three batters who made more than 400 trips to the plate last year (Daniel Murphy, Andrelton Simmons, Buster Posey). Pierzynski's strong debut with Atlanta resonated with the club, as he signed another one year deal with the Braves this past winter. The 39-year-old will enter the season just like he did last year: intended to mentor and support the Braves' catcher of the future, whoever it may be. That said, it is obvious that Pierzynski could not only potentially play his way into a more significant role, but that he could produce enough with the bat to once again be a fantasy asset in deeper or two-catcher leagues. (Dylan Higgins)
The Quick Opinion:
Pierzynski was supposed to play backup and mentor last season, but he instead hit his way into a starting role and a bounceback campaign. The veteran finds himself back in the same spot this time around, and fantasy owners have to expect that he could certainly contribute at the plate in the same way once again.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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