Improvement is a key aspect for minor leaguers and no player has improved more in Lansing than that of third baseman Gustavo Pierre. Pierre, who was slated by Lugnuts Manager John Tamargo Jr. as a player to watch in 2013, thoroughly impressed throughout the season batting .292 with 15 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 33 RBIs in 233 at bats with the Lugnuts. “I’m glad to have [had] a great year,” he said. “I worked on waiting for a good pitch to hit.”
The solid year in Lansing earned Gustavo a spot on the Midwest League All Star Team and a mid-season promotion to the Blue Jays Advanced-A team in Florida.
In Dunedin, Gustavo batted .210 with 10 doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 15 RBIs in 195 at-bats.
His best game, however, came on August 8th where he helped his team defeat Brevard County by hitting for the cycle. After getting a single, double and a triple in his first three at-bats, Pierre homered in the ninth to complete the cycle and tie the game, a feat he was quite happy to complete.
“I’ve never been pied before! It feels great, it was amazing,” he said. “It was my best game that I’ve ever had, I can definitely say that.”
Joining the Blue Jays organization in 2008 as a 16-year old free agent out of La Romana Dominican Republic, Pierre came into the system as a player with great ability, but his talent was raw and would need great coaching. Pierre found just that and more in Tamargo and Lugnuts Hitting Coach Kenny Graham – both of whom have worked with Pierre the past three seasons, “I have a really good relationship with Graham. We talk a lot about baseball and life outside of the game. He has helped me a lot and I like working with him.” he said.
“I like working with Tamargo too. He’s a good guy and he does his best to help everybody on the team.”
The Lugnuts’ coaching staff are pleased with what they have seen from Pierre this season and feel there is more to come.
“Pierre has improved a lot and we look for him to continue improving,” stated Tamargo. “Pierre has shown a lot of maturity this season. As a younger guy he really struggled hitting the breaking ball and now he’s driving it and doing damage with it. He really likes the breaking ball now so it’s getting him to wait on the pitch and staying in the zone. Gustavo is showing signs that he has never shown before and it’s exciting to watch,” added Graham.
On top of his improved batting eye, Graham also spoke on the prospect’s work ethic, “Gustavo is a kid who shows up at the park every day and he works hard. It’ll be interesting watching him the rest of the year.”
In 2012, Pierre batted .252 with 14 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, and 28 RBIs in 278 at bats in L:ansing, “I had a good year in Lansing last season. In the offseason I went back to the Dominican Republic and worked on my swing to have a better 2013. I’m hoping to help my teammates any way I can.”
Another aspect Pierre is improving on is his fielding. After spending three seasons at shortstop and having trouble making throws to first base. The organization decided to move Gustavo to third in 2012 which saw his errors drop from 44 in 2011 to 16 in 2012. Although Pierre has found comfort at third his defense is a spot he admits needs some more work, “The defensive side of the game is tough. I’m working on routine plays and making good throws to first base.” he said “I have been working on my defense with the coaches and in the off-season. It’s getting a little better, but I still have a lot of work to do.”
With such success and improvement in 2013, here’s looking forward to what 2014 can bring for Gustavo Pierre.