Pearce's Stock is Rising

Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce is exceeding the expectation. Lighting up scoreboards with one of the hottest bats throughout all of the minor leagues, Pearce's offensive production forced Pittsburgh's brass to promote the first baseman to Class AA Altoona after only 19 games with Class A Lynchburg.

"I didn't expect the promotion to come to soon," Pearce said. "But I think I'm ready for it, and I'm pumped."

In his second full season within Pittsburgh's farm system, the Pirates' eighth-round selection in 2005 batted .347 with three doubles, 11 home runs and 24 RBIs with the Hillcats. The right-handed hitting Pearce posted an .867 slugging percentage.

"The ball looks so big to me right now," he explained. "I'm seeing it so well and I'm getting good pitches to hit, and I'm not missing them."

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound first baseman's 11 long balls are also a minor league best.

"It's definitely good to start out hot," said Pearce before he left Bradenton and spring training. "It's also good to make a name for myself."

The 24-year-old right-handed hitter is staying on course with his offensive numbers.

Listed as the No. 8 Pittsburgh prospect by Scout.com this past winter, Pearce led all Pirates farmhands in home runs (26) and finished second in RBIs (98) in 2006. Splitting his season with Hickory and Lynchburg, Pearce batted .273 (133 for 488) between the two Class A ballclubs.

"You have to prove yourself at the plate and do it at the different levels," Pearce said. "I hope to take the same approach this year."

Although he started the season back with the Hillcats, he still understands the importance of every at-bat toward succeeding with his jump to Class AA.

"At every level the competition gets better as you move up," Pearce said. "You have to adapt to it day-in and day-out on a daily basis.

"It's all about consistency. Last year I considered myself a more streaky hitter. I need to do the same things and try to stay more consistent."

Pearce also knows his glove is just as important as his bat.

"Defense is definitely a part of my game," Pearce explained. "If you're not working well with the stick, you want your defense to keep you in the lineup.

"I take pride in my defense and continue to develop and work on it to this day."

As the organization has struggled to produce offensive-producing position players over the past few years, Pearce has seen firsthand what lies within Pittsburgh's farm system.

"There are a lot of good athletes down here," Pearce explained. "There is a lot of talent in this organization. The Pirates are all about development and piecing things together, and the Pirates do a good job.

"It's a work in progress. We're all going to continue to get better and the ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues. First, we have to develop down here."

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