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4/13/1983 (33 y, 10 m, 12 d)
2005 June Amateur Draft - Round: 8, Pick: 11, Overall: 241, Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
$12.5M / 2 Years (2017 - 2018)
Pearce, who was previously presumed to be in line for a platoon role at first base, is the Jays' preferred everyday left fielder, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. (2/19/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
The South Carolina product turned in a yawn-inducing Triple-A season in 2008, batting .251/.312/.417, but he did his best in 2009 to stay on the organization's radar screen. Pearce opened the year back at Indianapolis, where he pieced together a .286/.373/.502 triple-slash. He popped 13 home runs with a .216 ISO in 317 plate appearances while drawing a walk in more than 11% of his trips to the plate. Called up to the Majors in late June, Pearce failed to crack a .300 wOBA in another stint with the Pirates. On the positive side, he showed decent pop by compiling a .164 ISO, and he maintained an 11% walk rate. Pearce's BABIP was just .254, suggesting he had some tough bounces go against him. The 5’11’’, 200 pound righty played some outfield in 2008 in an attempt to increase his versatility, but he stuck to first base in 2009.
The Year Ahead:
27 years old in April, Pearce is basically a Chris Shelton clone. He has a decent batting eye and possesses some power, as his career .227 minor league ISO attests. But Pearce's offensive output ultimately falls short of what one looks for in an everyday first baseman. First base is the pre-eminent power position on the diamond. Mashing isn't a bonus at that spot: it's a job requirement. In 2009, the average MLB first baseman crushed to the tune of .277/.362/.483. It's hard to envision Pearce reaching those heights, and he's pretty much glued to that spot on the field. The Pirates tried to make him a right fielder in 2008, but he played the position like Adam Dunn's little brother. Short of an unexpected breakthrough, Pearce doesn't project to be a fantasy asset. (David Golebiewski)
The long-time minor-league slugger face-planted during his first meaningful big-league playing time since 2009, and then fell victim to injuries that virtually wiped out his season for the second straight year. Pearce hit just .202/.260/.255 in 105 plate appearances, and he had two DL stints for a torn calf muscle and a broken finger after losing nearly all of 2010 to knee surgery. The Pirates designated him for assignment after the season and Pearce elected free agency after clearing waivers. He’ll turn 29 in April, has a .232/.302/.366 line in a little over 500 major league PA and his 5-foot-11, 210 pound frame makes him a less-than-versatile utility man. That’s the profile of a guy hanging on by a thread. (David Golebiewski)
The Quick Opinion:
If absolutely positively everything goes right, Steve Pearce could be Ty Wigginton. But even that would require actually staying on the field and finding an opportunity to crack a 25-man roster, and both of those are dubious propositions.
How should Steve Pearce be categorized? Is he more of a Quad-A slugger or plain ol' replacement-level player? It is a question for the ages, even if both answers work. Most likely, he is the classic Quadruple-A slugger -- ambiguously flitting between corner outfield spots and first base (a sign of having no position), destroying the ball for years in the high minors, and then flopping whenever he briefly makes an appearance in the majors. His strikeout and walk rates in the majors are okay, he simply has never hit for power when he gets his shot. Pearce is going to be 30 in April, this might be his last chance to have any sort of fantasy write-up. Let's all share a moment of silence. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Steve Pearce is the classic Quadruple-A-slugger -- he mashes in the minors, fails in the majors. He is going to be 30, and does not warrant your consideration other than as a paradigm example of a certain type of player.
Steve Pearce worked around two separate disabled list stints for left wrist inflammation to appear in 44 games for Baltimore, doing enough that the Orioles kept him on the 40-man roster and gave him a whopping $700,000. At age 30, Pearce isn’t going to surprise anyone, but his ability to play first and both outfield corners while drawing a walk and hitting the occasional bomb makes him a valuable bench player. If Baltimore doesn’t shore up their outfield depth, Pearce only needs to wait for the inevitable Nolan Reimold injury to grab more playing time. He’s not going to win you a championship, but with consistent run he could hit a few home runs and hit just well enough to matter in AL-only leagues. With that said, the walks and flexibility make it such that he’s more valuable to Baltimore than to your fantasy team. (
The Quick Opinion:
Steve Pearce can draw a walk, hit a home run and play three positions. That has value for the Orioles, but probably not for your fantasy team, considering he's unlikely to hit for average or steal many bases.
Steve Pearce has always hit left-handed pitching pretty well. In 2014, almost no one hit lefties better than Pearce, and absolutely no one hit them with more power. Pearce's slugging (.704) and isolated slugging (.378) vs. lefties were tops in the league among players with 100 or more plate appearances, and his weighted offense numbers (.472 wOBA and 209 wRC+) were second only to Victor Martinez. Pearce also hit right-handers very well for the first time in his career. His final 5x5 numbers — a .293 average, 21 home runs, 51 runs, 49 runs batted, and even five steals in as many attempts in a half season's worth of at-bats — were a revelation to fantasy owners who bought in early on the 31-year-old's breakout. Should you buy in for 2015? Pearce stands to receive more playing time, so that's one thing. He doesn't appear to have been crazy lucky on balls in play in 2014. There's the fact that he has
closed up his batting stance
and brought his hands closer to his chest, quickening his swing and allowing him to adjust to different pitch types, which is backed up by his
pitch type values
. He hit more line drives and fly balls in 2014. These all bode well. The one cause for concern is the drastic jump in his home run per fly ball rate, but he also increased his fly ball and home run distance by a significant amount (275 ft average from 2011-2013; 288 ft in 2014), so he hit the ball with more authority and wasn't just getting lucky. He also avoids swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and, by extension, takes walks at a very good clip. It's probably not possible for Pearce to repeat the excellent season he just had, but his breakout season passes the luck test and is corroborated anecdotally by a change in his batting stance and swing. Given more playing time in 2015, I would count on nice increases in all the counting stats (I'll actually take the over on Steamer's home run, run, and RBI projections), with a pedestrian but not bad batting average. (
Robert J. Baumann
The Quick Opinion:
Pearce's breakout 2014 appears to be more than luck. Even if we can't expect him to repeat his rate stats, a bigger role with the Orioles will produce significant counting stats. Calling him a top-30 outfielder is not a stretch.
The 32-year-old right-handed-hitting Pearce was a huge disappointment in 2015 after a breakout in 2014 when he hit .293 with 21 home runs. The biggest issue with Pearce in 2015 was his batting average, which dropped to .218. His batting average true talent level is probably between the two values (career .247). If he can get 600 plate appearances, he is probably looking at 25 home runs with the .250 AVG. Though Pearce does have the ability to play multiple positions -- he is eligible at first, in the outfield, and maybe even second base in your league (18 games) -- the Rays are more likely to use him in a platoon at designated hitter with Logan Morrison with some time at first base. That means decent work against lefties, but not volume. He may hit .260 with 25-homer type power -- in 300 plate appearances. That's about the best we can hope for him. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Steve Pearce won't quite be a regular, but now with Tampa, he should get at least short-side platoon work. That might be interesting in your deep league with daily lineups.
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Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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