|Born: February 8, 1985
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2001 (Cubs)
How acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Pie was regarded as a potential five-tool outfielder while he was with the Cubs, but he never developed sufficient baseball skills. He did start to show good power starting in AA, but it never appeared in the majors. His plate discipline has always been marginal, but not terrible. He had very good speed and a good arm, and played center while he was working his way up through the Cubs’ system. In the majors, though, he’s played mostly in the corners, although he’s been used often as a pinch runner, too. His base stealing technique never developed in the minors and he’s seldom been called upon to steal in the majors. He’s usually been platooned and has just a .513 career OPS against LHPs, compared to .706 against RHPs.
Pie had a strong debut, playing center at age 17 in rookie ball.
Pie successfully made the jump to full season ball. He didn’t hit for much power, but at 18 that wouldn’t have been a concern. His plate discipline at this point was marginal but, again, considering his age it wasn’t disturbing at all.
At high A, Pie had about the same season, except his power and K rate both increased.
In AA, Pie had a breakout season, hitting for impressive power, although with plate discipline that continued to decline. He suffered an ankle injury halfway through the season and was unable to return. After the season, Baseball America rated Pie the 27th best prospect in baseball, his highest ranking in five straight seasons on BA’s top 100 list.
Pie didn’t have quite the same season in AAA, but he hit well, especially considering that he was just 21. He had 18 outfield assists.
The Cubs called Pie up in mid-April and he played for them the rest of the year except for one-month stretches covering much of May and July. Although he got into 87 games with the Cubs, for the last two months of the season he was used mostly as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, so he didn’t bat all that much. When he was in AAA he dominated.
The Cubs continued to be reluctant to commit to Pie. He opened the season with them, but struggled at the plate and was sent down in mid-May. He wasn’t called back up until September. Chicago traded him to Baltimore after the season. At that point he’d gotten only 287 plate appearances in the majors.
Pie spent the season in the majors, playing left and center for the Orioles. He also served frequently as a pinch runner. He had his best showing at the plate in the majors.
Pie got hurt in mid-April and missed about six weeks. Following a minor league rehab, he spent the rest of the season with the Orioles, serving as their primary left fielder against RHPs. He hit marginally less well than in 2009.
Pie again spent the season with the Orioles, but struggled badly at the plate and played only sporadically. The team finally designated him for assignment in late August.
The Indians signed Pie to a minor league deal after the 2011 season, but he failed to make the major league roster and Cleveland released him in early April. He played independent ball for a few weeks, then signed with the Braves in mid-May. He spent the rest of the year with their AAA affiliate, playing in right field and putting up solid but not outstanding offensive numbers.
The Pirates signed Pie to a minor league deal, with an invitation to spring training. He should provide a cautionary note about Starling Marte, a very similar player in the sense that he’s extremely toolsy with shaky skills. Pie actually was a better hitter with better plate discipline in the minors, and was younger relative to his levels than Marte. Pie competed for a backup outfield spot and had a good spring, but got cut at the end. He opened the season in the Indianapolis outfield, alternating in center with Alex Presley. He got off to a miserable start, posting a .435 OPS in April, then got hot in May, with a 1.009 OPS. After that he settled in at a mediocre level. He played more or less every day against RHPs but generally didn’t play against LHPs. The Pirates called Pie up in late August. At the time, Marte was day-to-day with an injury, and Presley and Andrew Lambo were unavailable because they’d recently been optioned to AAA. He stayed with the Pirates until the end of the season, serving mainly as a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner and defensive replacement. He obviously didn’t hit at all.
Pie filled an immediate need for the Pirates, but there’s no reason to expect them to keep him on the roster, especially since he’s eligible for arbitration. He’ll probably move on after the season, unless he re-signs with the Pirates on a minor league deal.
2013: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2002
MLB Debut: 4/17/2007
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: 2015
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: November 18, 2005
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2006, 2007, 2008)
MLB Service Time: 4.028
|July 3, 2001: Signed by the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent.
November 18, 2005: Contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
January 18, 2009: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Baltimore Orioles for Hank Williamson and Garrett Olson.
August 23, 2011: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles.
September 29, 2011: Became a free agent.
December 12, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians.
April 4, 2012: Released by the Cleveland Indians.
May 11, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Atlanta Braves.
November 3, 2012: Became a free agent.
November 19, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
August 21, 2013: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.