2011 Prospect Watching: Lambo, Chalk, and Pearce

Brad Chalk —  L/L,  6′ 1″,  180 lb
Chulk was the Padres’ 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft, and he came to the Pirates in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft last December.  The 25-year-old South Carolina native had reached the A+ level (Lake Elsinore) in 2009 and had his best hitting season:  .301 average with 21 doubles, 12 triples, 2 homers, and 63 RBI.  He also stole 33 bases.  Chulk split 2010 between three levels, mostly with low averages —  he hit .191 in 26 games for Lake Elsinore, then .214 in 65 games for AA San Antonio.  But with AAA Portland, he rocketed up to a .312 average in 27 games, though with just 5 RBI.  Unfortunately, Chalk suddenly stopped stealing bases in 2010, with just 5 steals over the course of the season.  Chalk has good speed in the outfield, and has played in all three outfield positions.  He seems to be targeted for AAA Indianapolis in 2011, where he will likely be in one of the outfield corners.  

Steve Pearce  —  R/R,  5′ 11″,  200 lb
This is cheating a little, since Pearce has already spent part of four seasons with the Pirates.  Drafted as a first-baseman, Pearce began playing just a few games in the outfield in 2007.  His outfield time increased over the next three seasons, and in 2010 he also played 5 games at third base for the AAA Indians.  Now Pearce is making a bid for a bench position with the Pirates, and is moving all around the field in hopes of making himself as useful as possible.  Pearce began the 2010 season in Indianapolis, where he started the season on fire — .367 with 11 doubles, 2 homers, and 7 RBI in April.  He was called up to the Pirates, but got into only 15 games.  He hit .276 with two doubles, a triple, and 5 RBI in those 15 games.  Pearce sprained his ankle and landed on the Disabled List.  That led to a trip back to Indianapolis for rehab.  Just as he was getting about ready to come off the DL, after hitting .279 in a dozen games for the Indians, Pearce injured his knee, or rather re-injured a knee that was already having some trouble.  Knee surgery ended his season early.  Due to the injuries, MLB granted Pearce and the Pirates an additional option year, so if he does not get that Pirates’ bench position out of spring training, he’ll be returning to Indianapolis, where he may be the 2011 version of Neil Walker — playing in a different fielding position every night.  

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