If too much talent is the worst thing the Baltimore Orioles have to worry about this Spring Training then they should consider themselves fortunate. Many teams like the New York Yankees have lost players like Curtis Granderson to start the 2013 season.
Steve Pearce is the latest Oriole to tear up the Grapefruit league in 2013. As he tries to make the 25-man roster, every game is essential for guys like Pearce. One thing Pearce has to his advantage perhaps, are his stints with the Orioles last season.
Pearce’s situation last season is unique to say the least. It is not uncommon for a player to play for a team one season leave and then come back later in their career to play for that same team. However, Pearce has had two stints with the Orioles in the same season.
Pearce was initially signed by Baltimore on June 2, but was later designated for assignment on July 21. From there he was then picked up by the Houston Astros on July 29 and played 21 games there. Pearce had his contract purchased by the Yankees who later dropped him and ultimately led Pearce to be picked back up by the Orioles in late September
Following the first time the Orioles had to designate Pearce, it was reported that he intended to stay with the organization, and in the long run he stood by his word.
At age 29 Pearce is similar to fellow non-roster invitee, Conor Jackson. They are both at a crossroad at this point in their careers. Through six games played Pearce has a monstrous .545 batting average. But the most impressive stat early on is his three home runs.
To put things into perspective Pearce has just 13 HR’s in 246 games in his six year career. The inflated numbers may point to the quality of pitching in Spring Training as teams mess around and showcase their younger pitchers. However, according to Baseball-Reference.com, his “OppQual” (Quality of Opposing Pitchers) is 8.5. That is on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being major league level and 1.5 representing rookie level. So basically he is facing on average AAA level pitchers.
With Pearce having the capability to play outfield and first base, the Orioles may be encouraged to hold onto the Florida native a little bit longer this season.