Prospect Retrospective: Juan Pierre
Juan Pierre was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the 1998 draft, from the University of South Alabama. Assigned to Portland in the Northwest League after signing, he hit .352/.400/.402 in 64 games, stealing 38 bases, with 19 walks and only 11 strikeouts in 264 at-bats. I don't have a copy of my 1999 book with me right now (I'm writing this at Java Joe's Coffee House in Des Moines), so I'm not sure what grade I gave him or what my opinion about him was at the time. In retrospect, I think I would have given him something like a Grade C+ or B-. His speed and batting average would certainly look interesting, but could he repeat this at higher levels?
Pierre moved up to Asheville in the Sally League in '99, hitting .320/.365/.390 with 66 steals. Again, very impressive speed and batting average, with a low strikeout rate, but many guys like this fail to hit with authority at higher levels.
Promoted to Double-A Carolina in '00, Pierre hit .326/.377/.380 with 46 steals, virtually identical to his Class A numbers, in 107 games. He played 51 games for the Rockies in the second half, hitting.310/.353/.320 with 7 steals. He followed that up with a .327 mark for the Rocks in '01. The really interesting thing for Pierre is that he has continued to hit well since being traded to Florida. His numbers in Colorado were not the result of thin air, as his slap-and-scoot game has played just as well at lower altitudes.
Pierre's Major League numbers are very similar to what he did in the minors. Many similar speedsters find themselves overpowered at the Major League level, but Pierre has survived, even thrived. Part of this is likely due to his very low strikeout rates, which were certainly apparent in the minors. I remember being skeptical about his future at various times, but he's done quite well, and should continue to do so as long as his speed holds up.
Comparable Players to Juan Pierre, No Actives Included