A.J. Pierzynski
A.J. Pierzynski
42-Year-Old CatcherC
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for A.J. Pierzynski in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Agreed to a one-year contract with the Braves in November of 2015.
Will begin broadcasting career
CFree Agent  
Hamstring
March 28, 2017
FOX Sports officially announced Tuesday that Pierzynski would serve on its broadcast team on a full-time basis during the 2017 MLB season.
ANALYSIS
This likely spells the end of Pierzynski's playing career, which seemed to be a foregone conclusion after he failed to latch on with a team prior to spring training. The 40-year-old, a two-time All-Star, will end his 19-year career with 2,043 hits and 188 homers across stints with the Twins, Giants, White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, Red Sox and Braves.
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It looked like Pierzynski may have been headed for the broadcast booth permanently after a poor 2014 campaign, one which saw him post a career-worst .288 OBP while returning negative value behind the plate. After signing with Atlanta one a one-year deal, Pierzynski went on to have one of the best overall offensive seasons of his career, with his 114 OPS+ representing the third-best mark in his 18 MLB campaigns. He was not, however, all that impactful from a fantasy standpoint, as he failed to reach double-digit home runs and his playing time took a hit down the stretch with the Braves wanting to find out what Christian Bethancourt was made of. That he finished in the top-10 in returned 5x5 rotisserie value at catcher (10th) speaks far more to the lack of depth at the position than Pierzynski's effectiveness with the bat. He will likely see his playing time reduced in 2016, with Tyler Flowers warranting a larger share of the workload than Bethancourt did.
After Yadier Molina went down with an injury in August, the Cardinals picked up Pierzynski off the streets following his release from the Red Sox. Pierzynski served as the primary catcher in Molina's absence but was quickly relegated to pinch-hitting duties after his return. The 37-year-old has become something of a journeyman the last few years, and the Braves, with whom he signed in December, represent his fifth team in the last four seasons. Pierzynski was able to put up solid numbers playing baseball's most physically-demanding position for much longer than most, collecting at least 400 at-bats each year from 2002 to 2013, but his numbers have been quickly heading in the wrong direction the last several seasons, leading to an ugly .251/.288/.337 line in 2014. He's probably not going to be anything more than a primary backup for the remainder of his career.
Pierzynski saw the expected drop in power from his career-high 27 homers in 2012, but he still took advantage of his home park to deliver 17 long balls for the Rangers during his only season in Texas. The Red Sox signed him to take over as their primary catcher in 2014, where he'll likely see the larger share of the workload ahead of David Ross. Pierzynski rarely shows patience at the plate (.297 OBP, 2.1% walk rate), and it will be very interesting to see if he can remain a threat to maintain his 2013 power numbers in his new home park.
Who saw that coming? Pierzynski, the 35-year-old who failed to hit more than nine home runs in 2010 and 2011, proved to be one of the top fantasy backstops in 2012. He set career-highs in home runs (27), RBI (77) and slugging percentage (.501), and his .326 on-base percentage was his best in nearly a decade. But there were some worries as he hit 18 of his 27 home runs at the power-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, and he hit a paltry .237 over his final 100 plate appearances. He will likely assume the bulk of the catching duties from Geovany Soto after signing a one-year deal with the Rangers. The move to a hitter-friendly environment in Texas, could help continue his unexpected power burst.
Pierzynski rebounded in 2011 from his average 2010 campaign, but perhaps the most amazing stat of his season was that his trip to the disabled list in August for a wrist injury marked the first time in his career he was on the DL. That is fairly remarkable for a catcher with more than 12,000 innings on his knees. Offensively, he continued to cut down on his strikeouts, but he also continued to hit the ball on the ground regularly. He could be due for a drop in batting average should that percentage continue its trend upward. Keep in mind that an improving Tyler Flowers could eat into Pierzynski's playing time in 2012, but that might be better for the mid-30s catcher anyway.
Pierzynski had a down offensive year in 2010, as he missed the double-digit home run precipice for the first time since 2003. He only walked 15 times, which brought his OBP to a career-low .300. On the plus side, he posted his eighth straight season with at least 497 plate appearances, which is durability not often found at the catcher position. Tyler Flowers no longer appears to be an immediate threat, and Pierzynski should have the White Sox's starting catcher spot to himself for the next two seasons.
2009 was Pierzynski's first .300 season since leaving Minnesota in 2003. He finished the season hitting third in the Sox's lineup, but that spot produced his worst splits (.252/.277/.301 with 16 strikeouts in 123 at-bats). He doesn't walk much and doesn't strike out much, but that's nothing new. He probably won't stick in the No. 3 hole, but he could be a decent source of average in a catcher position that is devoid of many fantasy stars.
He's durable, swings at everything and is as consistent as they come when you consider the volatility of batting average. Pierzynski doesn't give you any upside, nor is he likely to implode and bat .215. He just has the same season over and over. That's pretty valuable in AL-only formats, where the catching is awful.
Pierzynski's slash stats (.263/.309/.403) were disappointing but he did manage to hit 14 homers and drive in 50. He was rewarded with a two-year, $12.5 million contract extension at the end of the season that will keep him in Chicago until 2010. A healthy Toby Hall should take away some of his at-bats against left-handers but he'll be back as the team's primary catcher this season.
Pierzynski used to be the type of player you only liked if he was on your team. He may still be that guy, but after earning his second All-Star nod and actually outshining MVP candidate Jermaine Dye for much of the season when he hit .318 with 18 doubles and eight home runs through July, Pierzynski is earning league-wide respect. That, in part, could be a reason he was plunked only eight times, including twice in one game, in 2006, compared to 11, 15, 15 and 12 the previous four seasons, respectively.
Pierzynski's 2005 campaign will mostly be remembered for his exploitation of Doug Eddings' indecision in Game 2 of the World Series, but his contributions to the White Sox's cause went beyond one head's-up bit of baserunning. The expected power spike after he traded SBC Park for US Cellular carried him to a career high in home runs, and the pitching staff mostly praised his work behind the plate. He was rewarded with a three-year deal in the offseason, and could end up as the best Sox backstop since Carlton Fisk when it's all said and done -- not that Ron Karkovice is that tough to dethrone for the honor.
Pierzynski didn't help his reptuation as volatile player after he got under his teammates' skin for much of his first season in San Francisco, but after a slow start he hit close to his career averages when you factor his home park. Moving back to the AL and away from SBC Park should help his numbers. He'll be the primary catcher for the White Sox.
Most left-handed hitters struggle in Pac Bell Park, but the stadium's big outfield should suit Pierzynski, a line-drive hitter without much power to lose. His average will likely take a hit, and even ten homers is optimistic. But he'll play a lot and bat behind Barry Bonds, so RBIs-a-poppin'.
Pierzynski made the All-Star team in 2002 with pretty much the same season as 2001. Will hit for a decent average with some power. However, his inability to take a walk (just 13 in 2002) makes him a candidate to drop off. Prospect Joe Mauer may compete for his job as early as 2004.
More Fantasy News
Transferred to 60-day DL
CAtlanta Braves  
Hamstring
September 17, 2016
Pierzynski (hamstring) was transferred to the 60-day DL on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
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Lands back on DL
CAtlanta Braves  
Hamstring
September 11, 2016
Pierzynski was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.
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Activated from DL
CAtlanta Braves  
September 1, 2016
Pierzynski (hamstring) was activated from the DL on Thursday, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
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Lands on disabled list
CAtlanta Braves  
Hamstring
August 17, 2016
The Braves placed Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained left hamstring.
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Out of Sunday's lineup
CAtlanta Braves  
August 14, 2016
Pierzynski is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Nationals.
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