Blue Jays: Pearce has been better than we realize

TORONTO, ON - JULY 30: Steve Pearce
TORONTO, ON - JULY 30: Steve Pearce /

teve Pearce was signed to a two year deal this past offseason, and for awhile many were questioning the move. Lately, he’s felt like a steal for the front office, and when you look at the big picture, he’s been even better.

In an offseason filled with big questions for the Blue Jays, having Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce as the answers was a little dissatisfying for many folks in the fan base. Watching Edwin Encarnacion leave town (and for the team that eliminated the Jays from the ALCS) was a bitter pill to swallow, and both Morales and Pearce had an uphill climb to win over the fans, fair or not.

To make things more difficult to Pearce, the first baseman/outfielder was coming off a significant forearm injury, and didn’t really have the time he needed to get his body in game shape before the season began. During an interview with The Fan 590 the other day, he talked about the beginning of the season and explained, “time just wasn’t a luxury I had”. As a result, he started slowly out of the gate, and many were quick to question his role with the team, especially with the emergence of Justin Smoak at first base.

With Smoak tearing the cover off the ball, Pearce was pushed to left field on a full time basis. While he’s capable, he’s far from being an elite defender in the outfield, and not being at 100% with the arm didn’t help either.

"“Time just wasn’t a luxury I had”- Steve Pearce, re: Trying to prepare for the season opener"

To make matters worse, he’s had to spend time in the DL, and missed several stretches of games with multiple injuries. In a lot of ways, it’s been a comedy of errors for the 34 year old, and not exactly the way he, or the club, had drawn it up.

And yet, here is Pearce’s stat line so far this season:


11 HR

32 RBI

9 doubles

Not bad, but nothing to write home about, right? Until you think about the fact that Peace has put up these numbers in 205 at bats, and just 63 games played.

More from Jays Journal

A typical “full season” of at bats for a big leaguer will fall somewhere between 550-650, depending on where they hit in the order, and other variables of course. For the sake of easy math, let’s say that Peace ends up with 615 at bats in a full season, or three times what he’s had this year. If we simply triple the numbers we’re looking at:

33 home runs

96 RBI

27 doubles


Pearce signed a two year deal for 12.5 million during the offseason, so he’s making just over six million per season. He obviously hasn’t put up these kind of numbers, but how different would the conversation be if he had been healthy all year?

As amazing as it’s been to have Smoak turn into a literal All-Star in front of our eyes, who saw that coming? As soon as Pearce was signed, I half expected Smoak to end up traded or designated for assignment, but fortunately that’s not how things played out.

For what it’s worth, Pearce has earned +0.7 bWAR with the bat (0.0 total when you factor in his defence in left field), so he has continued to show value at the plate, even through a injury-riddled campaign. If he had become the regular first baseman, as many of expected he would, we’re probably talking about a guy who has earned 1.0-1.5 WAR, and that’s still factoring his injuries into the equation.

He won’t be moving to first any time soon, but as he’s heated up at the plate and finally gotten healthy he’s been proving to Blue Jays’ fans why the front office brought him in to begin with. Now, just imagine if the cards had been dealt his way?

Next: How division rivals should affect the future for the Jays