As we hit the middle of the 30s, we head back to the international prospect route with none other than….
#35: Gustavo Antonio Pierre
Short Stop / 19 years old / 6’2″ 185 lbs
Born:Dec 29th 1991, in La Romana, Dominican Republic
Bats Right Throws Right
High School Team: NA
Signed:As an international FA for $700,000 in July of 2008 by Miguel Bernard and Hilario Soriano
Wore: #2 for the Auburn Doubledays
- Had TJ surgery after signing with the Jays in 2008, which explains his slower than expected progression through the minors.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America (BA) noted in the 2009 handbook (where Pierre ranked 18th amongst Jays prospects) that the ball came off of his bat very well, but that “international scouts dinged him for inconsistent hitting mechanics.”
- In the 2010 version of the BA handbook, Nathan Rode ranked Pierre 29th and noted that while Carlos Perez ranked higher in his rankings, “Pierre may have a higher ceiling.” I certainly hope he’s right, because that would propel Pierre to a star caliber player. He also noted Pierre’s “long and lean with fast-twitch muscles” build that should allow him to add power to his stroke as adds a little girth to his build.
- 1st in ABs with 250
- 5th in Runs with 29
- 3rd in hits with 59
- 3rd in doubles with 12
- 5th in RBI with 22
- 3rd in SO with 64
- 3rd in SB with 8
- 1st in errors with 29
Extra Information and previous experience:
If I were to simply ask everyone to look at the stats listed above, nobody would see the true potential that exists in Gustavo Pierre‘s bat. However, when I add the fact that he missed his opportunity to play and develop in 2008 due to TJ surgery, and that he did what I am about to list below during the 2010 season (take notice of the better second half stats), the opinions start to shift to the positive – I would hope:
That, my friends, is why we can expect some tremendous things to happen for Mr. Pierre in 2011. It will be a true test, as he will be 19, playing in LoA for his first full season of baseball as a pro (we hope), and will take his post all-star stats to the test. The fact that he improved his BB/SO ratio, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS numbers so much after the break is the first credible breakthrough we can provide from Pierre’s performance.
Although he still isn’t showing the power numbers that many people expect out of him, he is making much better contact and is finally going to the plate with a plan in mind and is getting the results. Once he has that, it’s just a matter of waiting for the power to come. He still did show more power after the all-star break, as he was able to get an extra base hit in over 11% of his ABs after the break, whereas he only had an extra base hit in 5% of his ABs before the break. Just to project the numbers he put up after the all-star break in a full season (500 ABs), he would have had 51 doubles and 7 HRs, so it indicates just how consistently hard he was hitting the ball during that span of time.
Pierre will have to adjust to better pitching in Lansing, assuming that it’s where he begins the year which is where Jesse Goldberg-Strassler predicts Pierre will begin the year, and will have to deal with the pressure to continue his progression. The defensive part of his game is where he will have to spend the majority of his time in 2011, as he committed a whopping 29 errors in 2010 as a short stop, more than double the next highest total on the Auburn squad. I would imagine that if Jesse’s lineup card is correct as he lists in terms of players included, Andy Fermin may very well wind up playing SS while Pierre could shift to 3B.
That brings me to my last point, the position change predictions for Gustavo Pierre. Having had surgery on his elbow at such a young age, I’m not so certain that a move to the hot corner is the best thing for the young Dominican. My theory is that if he’s having issues making throws from the SS position, it isn’t going to get much easier when his throws need to be longer and harder as they come from 3B. I have no idea whether the majority of Pierre’s issues at SS came from double play opportunities, throws/flicks to 2B, or playing hard hit ground balls, but none of these will become much easier at 3B. So, I believe that Pierre will eventually shift to 1B, 2B, 3B, or LF. Pierre should be able to develop enough power for any of those positions, and is athletic enough to man those positions without any major issues. It’s not really a bold prediction, as most scouts have said that it is unlikely he would remain at SS, but few are listing 2B as a possibility. I would say that the most likely position for Pierre to play full time in The Show will likely be 1B or LF at this point, with a small possibility that he’ll learn 3B well enough.
Another weak point to Pierre’s game at this point is hitting versus LHP. He only had a .172 average vs LHP with only 2 extra base hits in 64 ABs against them. It’s natural for young RHB to have a hard time against LHP while developing, but how well he does in improving his performance against them will go a long way to deciding whether or not Pierre will be an everyday player one day. It may not be the “make or break” point, but he could sit a lot more if he truly can’t handle lefties well enough to start against them. It’s something to monitor in 2011 and beyond.
We’ll have to wait and see where he winds up playing in Lansing, what position he mans, and whether or not he hits cleanup, but I expect that Pierre will be ranked well within the top 15 Jays prospects after the 2011 season is over. His maturing process and pitch selection process are set to take him to the next level as he dials the aggression he brings to the plate down a little bit. We’ve ranked him here at #35 because like it or not, he needs to show what he can do over a full season and that he can also play well enough defensively to find himself a spot in the lineup. A full season in Lansing, hitting in the 3-5 holes, and manning 3B/1B/LF should be what propels Pierre to a new level this season.
Enjoy his progression, as it should be a whole lot of fun to watch!
Expected 2011 Team: Lansing Lugnuts
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Starting 3B, 1B, or LF with power