The Quiet Leader

AJP
Much was made about the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski as the primary catcher for this season. There were questions of his health, his strength, and his attitude; I, myself, wondered if he’d fit in here in Texas, even though I was on board with his arrival. 6 months after his acquisition, he’s fitting in just fine and is assuming a role as a quiet leader for the club during this weird stretch of baseball. It may not seem like it, but he’s been one of the consistent guys in the lineup as of late.
He’s quietly racking up some good offensive numbers and it was almost a stealth-like quiet until the last 2 weeks. Upon his return from a DL stint, he started slowly racking up a hit a game. By the time the June series in Boston rolled around, he was having multi-hit games and his average was starting to inflate and get noticed. I had a couple of friends say, “Oh, when did AJP start hitting? Have I been missing something?” His exploits continued on Monday when he hit a very power line drive that hit the foul pole and netted the Rangers their first lead in 6 games. His slash for the last calendar month is .354/.388/.532; his season-to-date is .305/.339/.463. For him to be a consistent this whole time is amazing and it will still be needed going forward.

It’s easy to go back and look at examples of “bad attitude” exhibited by AJP. I even remember being supremely upset with him during the 2011 ALCS, in which he constantly referred to his rival Detroit Tigers as “we” and disparaged the Rangers. To his credit, he has displayed an attitude for the game, but has remained amicable and generally friendly here in Texas off the field. He lets his actions speak instead of mouthing off, as evidenced in his first 2013 appearance in Anaheim. He could have said a whole manner of things, but he simply hit the winning home run, gave a pleasant interview afterwards/said some generic, nice things about Anaheim. I like seeing the Rangers have that kind of leadership to follow, even more so after hearing CJ Wilson say everything about Oakland sucks or Josh Hamilton’s odd, Biblically inspired comments about DFW after the last game of 2012.

For someone who has been labeled as a “loud guy” by everyone, he is now quietly leading with intensity and passion on the field and amicable niceness off the field. He’s the guy we’ve grown to love, as some people said we would, and it’s been worth it thus far.

Note: I’m not glossing over his defense by any means, as I feel it is his weak point. Instead, I will defer that to our own Jeff Johnson, who will probably have many ties to the pitching and AJP in his “Rosin Bag” series on the site. 

Sarah Powers is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. She can be reached at sarah.powers@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @Power_Play86.
Sarah Powers

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