Steve Pearce
Steve Pearce
35-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Boston Red Sox
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Injuries limited Pearce for the second straight season, as his recovery from elbow surgery impacted his workload during spring training, before calf, knee, and an eventual season-ending back injury all chipped away at his availability and effectiveness. Of the 95 games he played last season, 85 came in left field, which is the most likely path to a regular role for Pearce in 2018 as he plays out the final season of a two-year deal with the Jays. Turning 35 in April, the right-handed hitting Pearce has 20-plus homer pop if he's able to rack up enough playing time, but he's never reached 400 plate appearances as a big-league player. In addition to injury concerns, Pearce's career output against lefties (.837 OPS) still exceeds his output against righties (.735 OPS) despite near-even splits last season, leaving him likely to find himself on the short side of a platoon with newly-acquired lefty Curtis Granderson. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a two-year, $12.5 million contract with the Blue Jays in December of 2016. Traded to the Red Sox in June of 2018.
Smashes 10th homer
OFBoston Red Sox
August 12, 2018
Pearce went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk in Sunday's victory over the Orioles.
Pearce delivered with a solo home run over the fence in left field during the first inning of the series finale. After hitting .318 in July, Pearce is batting .273 with five home runs and nine RBI through just seven games in August, so he's off to a solid start. The 35-year-old should continue to see more playing time moving forward as long as he continues to swing a hot bat.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .931 303 38 16 42 0 .286 .383 .548
Since 2016vs Right .788 572 68 20 67 0 .271 .343 .445
2018vs Left 1.024 108 15 4 16 0 .333 .435 .589
2018vs Right .831 117 18 6 21 0 .265 .350 .480
2017vs Left .730 99 9 5 8 0 .207 .293 .437
2017vs Right .767 249 29 8 29 0 .270 .329 .438
2016vs Left 1.039 96 14 7 18 0 .317 .417 .622
2016vs Right .788 206 21 6 17 0 .275 .354 .434
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .809 408 45 17 54 0 .256 .336 .474
Since 2016Away .860 467 61 19 55 0 .293 .375 .485
2018Home .940 95 14 5 17 0 .280 .379 .561
2018Away .909 130 19 5 20 0 .309 .400 .509
2017Home .721 165 17 6 21 0 .233 .303 .418
2017Away .788 183 21 7 16 0 .269 .333 .455
2016Home .826 148 14 6 16 0 .267 .345 .481
2016Away .906 154 21 7 19 0 .308 .403 .504
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Stat Review
How does Steve Pearce compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Pearce silenced doubters with a productive, though injury-shortened, 2016 season. The Rays plugged the 33-year-old in at several different positions throughout the season, and he was slashing .309/.388/.520 with 10 home runs in 60 games when he was traded to the Orioles in early August. He saw inconsistent playing time in a utility role for the O's before being placed on the disabled list late in the year. He finished the year with a solid 136 wRC+ between the two clubs. Pearce had surgery in September to repair the flexor mass tendon in his elbow, and he should be ready for the start of the season. The Blue Jays signed Pearce to a two-year deal early in the offseason. It is possible that he opens the year as the everyday left fielder, but another acquisition could force him into the short side of a platoon (130 career wRC+ against LHP, 100 wRC+ against RHP).
Pearce seemed like a can't miss post-hype sleeper last year after his breakout 2014 season. The follow-up to that success was Pearce's dud of a 2015 season and he eventually fell back into a part-time role. There is a possibility that 2014 was a career year. Pearce still hit a healthy amount of home runs given his limited at-bats, but he took a major step backward in his hitting. He generated a 30.1 hard-hit percentage, indicating a step back in the quality of his contact. That same number was in the mid-30s in each of the three prior seasons, so it was no surprise that Pearce's .232 BABIP in 2015 was 90 points behind that of the previous season. Pearce entered free agency over the offseason, but there was no guarantee he would find every day at-bats wherever he lands. His power numbers are a safe bet, but his ceiling as a contact hitter is limited.
At age 31, Pearce finally received his first prolonged opportunity as a near-everyday player for the Orioles. Previously labeled as a Quad-A player, Pearce's raw power turned into 21 homers in just 383 plate appearances, and he posted steady numbers in the second half (.265/.362/.543) following a first half that was fueled by an excellent June (.361/.432/.667). There is enough swing and miss in Pearce's game (20.0% K%) to bank on an average much closer to his .255 career mark than the .293 he delivered last season, but he's always shown a good eye at the plate (9.8% BB%), and he wasn't overmatched by right-handed pitching. Playing time may be more difficult for Pearce to come by in 2015, depending on the Orioles' offseason acquisitions and the health of Chris Davis and Manny Machado as the team's primary corner infielders. At the very least, he should get regular starts against lefties, and similar power production is a reasonable expectation if he can approach 400 plate appearances again.
Pearce battled wrist issues for nearly half of the 2013 season, but he got chances at regular playing time and did not produce much despite the opportunity. Pearce's line drive rate is just over 17% over the last two seasons and his .160 ISO in 2013 shows he does not do enough against big league pitching despite a strong raw power tool. Nonetheless, the Orioles are bringing Pearce back to compete for a platoon or reserve role with at-bats in left field and at DH hanging in the balance if he shows signs of being a late bloomer.
Pearce bounced around in 2012, changing hands five times while the Orioles reacquired him at the very end of the season to give him a chance to compete for a role in 2013. While logging 28 games with the Orioles earlier in the season, it looked like Pearce was ready to grab the vacant left field job. Pearce's raw power has not been realized at the MLB level, disappointing with 13 home runs in 624 career at-bats. Pearce simply has not proven he can handle MLB pitching, though he did have a .318/.419/.568 line in Triple-A throughout 192 at-bats in 2012. He will have a difficult time making the Orioles unless injuries pave the way.
Pearce hit just .202/.260/.255 with Pittsburgh last year. He'll likely add depth at Triple-A, but he could contend for a utility role and could find playing time if Justin Morneau isn't able to return from concussion issues. He's never turned his strong on-base skills in the minors into production in the majors, but there's still time at age 29 for him to carve out a steady major league role.
It finally looked like Pearce belonged in a major league uniform in 2010, at least until he suffered a high ankle sprain in May. After coming back from that injury, Pearce hurt his knee and subsequently underwent season-ending surgery. He was added to the Pirates' 40-man roster in the offseason, but where he stands within the organization is anyone's guess. Pearce batted .326/.424/.535 in 129 Triple-A at-bats, though he's had success in the high minors before. Space at first base and in the outfield is becoming more and more limited these days in Pittsburgh, and the right-handed Pearce will have to hope for a platoon at first base to get another crack in the majors.
Pearce didn't look quite as overmatched in 2009 as he did in 2008, but that's about as good as it gets for the smallish first baseman. He finally got his first extended looks, with starter Adam LaRoche leaving and then supposed September callup, Jeff Clement, going out with an oblique injury. Things didn't go Pearce's way, however, as he hit just .206/.296/.370 in 165 at-bats. Breaking pitches continue to give Pearce problems and until he learns to lay off pitches outside of the strike zone, there's little reason to keep him on fantasy radars. His minor league player of the year campaign of 2007 seems like a long, long time ago.
Pearce's prospect bubble burst in 2008 and it took much of the season for him to find his bearings before recovering somewhat in September. The stout right-handed hitter probably wasn't quite as good as his 2007 minor league player of the year award suggested, but the .333 batting average and 33 homers were hard to ignore. Last year, after struggling to a .248/.294/.422 Triple-A line, Pearce made his way to the offensively-starved Pirates following the trade deadline. He failed to produce and was benched until Nyjer Morgan was injured. Pearce then took advantage of the last 10 days of the season, knocking three home runs to help salvage a disappointing campaign. The 26-year-old still has a window of opportunity until the Pirates recall Andrew McCutchen, but he'll have to have a strong spring training to regain some trust within the Pittsburgh organization.
Pearce proved to be the white knight in an otherwise barren farm system for the Pirates in 2007. Yes, he's old for an impact rookie at 25, but his numbers are oh-so-nice. Pearce was named Minor League Baseball's Player of the Year, batting a combined .330 between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. Pearce ranked third among all minor leaguers in total bases (303), fourth in RBI (113), fifth in extra-base hits (75), fifth in slugging percentage (.622) and tied for seventh in home runs (31). He also held his own after the Pirates called him up in September, posting a .294 average. The smallish power hitter (he's 5-foot-11, 205 pounds) also put up a decent BB:K ratio of 39:57 last year, another good sign. The outfield is crowded in Pittsburgh, but even the Pirates will likely find a way to fit the promising Pearce into their starting lineup on a regular basis. Watch him closely in spring training and be ready to pounce.
Pearce batted a combined .273 with 26 homers and 98 RBI between Low-A Hickory and High-A Lynchburg in 2006. The Pirates face a dearth of power-hitting prospects, which in and of itself elevates Pearce to a higher status within the organization. Pittsburgh's third-round draft pick in 2005, Pearce will need to produce some power numbers at Double-A in 2007 to maintain his track to the big leagues.
More Fantasy News
Homers again
OFBoston Red Sox
August 4, 2018
Pearce went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in Friday's 4-1 win over the Yankees.
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Clubs three homers in huge win
OFBoston Red Sox
August 2, 2018
Pearce went 3-for-5 with three home runs and six RBI in the 15-7 blowout win over the Yankees on Thursday.
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Playing time on upswing
OFBoston Red Sox
July 29, 2018
Pearce will start at first base and hit cleanup Sunday against the Twins, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
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Delivers lone run
OFBoston Red Sox
July 20, 2018
Pearce went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in Friday's 1-0 win over the Tigers.
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Returns to Sunday's lineup
OFBoston Red Sox
July 15, 2018
Pearce (shin) will serve as designated hitter and bat fifth against the Blue Jays on Sunday, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports.
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