Friday Fantasy Pickup: Steve Pearce, 2B, Rays

There was plenty of hype surrounding Pearce not long ago after a career-year in 2014 with Baltimore in which he slashed .293/.373/.556. However, he seemingly fell apart in a poor 2015 campaign that ended in a part-time gig. Now with his fifth team in six years, the 33-year-old is on pace to outperform the numbers that thrust him into the spotlight two seasons ago. Pearce has jumped around the Rays’ batting order a bit in the early going, but has found a home in the cleanup spot, hitting .328/.430/.657 over 67 at-bats there.

Now in his 10th season, the journeyman has shown great improvement in areas that had plagued him in the past. For example, in his three full seasons with the Orioles (2013-2015), he hit just .260 against left-handers, with his weakest output coming last year, when he averaged a pathetic .196 against them with just four homers in 112 at-bats. So far in his 2016 campaign, Pearce has crushed southpaws to the tune of .415/.489/.854 with five homers in 41 at-bats. His strikeout and contact rates are both better than ever before — 13.6 percent and 84 percent, respectively. Maybe the most appealing part of Pearce’s game is his positional eligibility. He’s already eligible at first, second and outfield in many leagues, and could become third-base eligible before this season is over.

The Tampa offense has picked it up as of late, too — this month, they are in the top five in the AL in runs, on-base and slugging percentage — and Pearce has locked himself in as a prime contributor and will continue to see an abundance of opportunities.