With just hours left before the unofficial end of the 2014 trade season, the Phillies and Blue Jays have agreed to a deal that will send Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to Toronto for Double-A third base prospect Gustavo Pierre.
Pierre, 22, had actually just been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire ten days before the trade was completed and has just five hits in 26 plate appearances at the level thus far. Prior to the call-up, Pierre, who shifted over from short to third base at the start of 2014, had posted .263/.286/.390 line in 407 plate appearances for Triple-A Dunedin. There’s some positive notes in his state line – the 8 home runs, the 24 doubles, the .124 Isolated Power, even the .263 average isn’t bad – but his strikeout to walk numbers, which are often used by front offices as one of the primary barometers of minor league success, leave more than a little room for improvement
This year (and with the minor league season ending tomorrow, Pierre’s year is all but over), Pierre has whiffed 113 times (26% K rate) and drawn just 13 free passes (3% walk rate). That’s only a nominal improvement over his 2013 performance, in which he walked four times and struck out 128 – a BB:K ratio .0313. Chris Johnson, the major’s worst hitter in that category, has posted a ratio (.13) over four times Pierre’s 2013 mark.
Pierre has never been much of a prospect, but as a 16 year old, he did receive a 700,000 dollar signing bonus from Toronto, the fourteenth most of any 2008 international free agent.
Four years later, in 2010, John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall wrote this:
“[Pierre] is an extreme long shot at this point. Still young enough to develop, but his skills seem to be getting worse, not better. I don’t see any particular reason for optimism.”
John Mayberry, son of the former Royals slugger of the same name, has failed to put a much of an offensive (or defensive) show since his breakout 2011, posting a .234/.296/.396 line over the last three seasons, during which time he has cost Philadelphia roughly half a win, according to baseball reference. Used properly, though, he can be an integral contributor on any team. Over the course of his career, the 30 year old outfielder and first-baseman, has mashed .272/.323/.533 with a ball-park adjusted weighted runs created (wRC+) of 130 (30% above MLB average, in the Carlos Gomez, Carlos Santana range) against lefties. This season has been no exception as Mayberry has slugged .582 and knocked out four of his six home runs off of southpaws. He will probably serve as a right-handed complement to first baseman Danny Valencia, while also providing a late-inning power bat off the bench.