Prospect Countdown #63 : Michael Pierson

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #63 : Third Baseman, Michael Pierson (photo : Brian Philbrick)

Michael Pierson, Third Baseman

HT : 5'11
WT : 190
DOB : May 3, 1992 (23), in Coral Springs, Florida
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)
Acquired : Drafted in 21st Round of 2015 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked

There was no better player in Minor League Baseball last season than Los Angeles Angels draftee, Michael Pierson. He put up video game numbers, and it all came after being "just a 21st rounder." Pierson is set to show the Angels and baseball world that it's no fluke that he put those numbers up, and that he is the real deal.


Pierson's biggest upside was his preparation prior to his professional career. His father began prepping him for a career in pro ball long before he was drafted, in his early teen years, giving him more than the basics of baseball you see with prep players. Apparently, it all worked.

Pierson has a strong swing from the left-side, taking away a large part of the zone with his stance alone. He stays low, bending at the knees and dropping his barrel through the zone allowing for maximum contact points.

Pierson has around average power for a Minor League player, with most of his pop coming from his base. He begins his swing with a small kick, takes a hard step and drives the barrel of the bat through the zone allowing a translation of some power and a strong line drive swing.

There is no problem with Pierson and taking pitches. He has a slightly aggressive style, but has an ability to find his pitch and drive it when he does. Pierson should be a persistent problem for opposing pitchers in attaining outs, as he can draw a walk and make consistent contact.

Defensively, Pierson is about a sure thing as it comes. He has a strong and accurate arm from third base, along with a decent first step allowing him to range to both sides. He has played all over the infield through college, and have that versatility stick as a professional.

Pierson has good speed, and could be capable of putting up double-digit steals. Last year, Pierson's season ended with a broken hand suffered after being hit by a pitch, which could mean extended recovery into Spring Training next season.

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Pierson was a pure stud in high school, breaking 10 school records while playing for his father, Glen, including single-season and career batting average, single-season and career runs scored, career total bases, career pitching appearances and single-season and career assists. As a sophomore and junior, Pierson was named a honorable mention for All-County, with a .422 average with six home runs and 33 stolen bases as a junior. Pierson hit .551 with eight doubles, eight home runs, 27 RBI, 41 runs scored and a .667 on-base percentage as a senior, helping him be named to First-Team All-Broward honors, along with District Player of the Year honors.

Pierson was part of a historic season at Appalachian State during his freshman year, seeing limited time at the plate. Pierson highlighted a season where he went just 3-for-6 with two RBI in a game against Davidson where he came as a pinch-runner, and ended up going 2-for-2 collecting a walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning in a 5-4 victory.

As a sophomore, Pierson's time sparked in the latter half of the season. In the team's final 18 games, Pierson started 11, which included a spark plug Pierson in the SoCon Tournament where he hit .412. In the tournament, Pierson collected multiple hits in three of four games, including a 2-for-5 performance to eliminate regular-season champs, WCU. Pierson also hit his first collegiate home run his sophomore year, a grand slam off the bench against Gonzaga.

Pierson had a break out year during his junior campaign, hitting .343/.425/.537 with 41 runs scored, 16 doubles, and 26 walks, which all led Appalachian State that season. Pierson hit .397 with 14 doubles, four home runs and 21 RBI in his final 30 games of the season, where he reached in all, including hits in 26 of those 30, 18 of which went for multiple hits. Pierson slugged his way to an All-SoCon Tournament team as well as First-Team All-Conference honors after hitting .410/.492/.600 with nine doubles in conference play.

In his final collegiate year, Pierson put up similar numbers to his junior season with slight improvements, batting .346/.473/.534. Pierson collected 38 RBI helped by 13 doubles, a triple and seven home runs, while scoring 39 runs scored. Pierson hit .333 with a .959 OPS in conference play.

Pierson was easily one of the best players in all of Minor League Baseball upon being drafted. Pierson hit .395, tops in all of Minor League Baseball, with a .467, tops among 2015 draftees, and a .528 slugging percentage. Pierson reached base in 51 of his 52 games, including his first 42 straight. The entire season was a hihlight in itself, but maybe no better stretch was his 26-game hit-streak through all of July, where he hit .415 with a 1.082 OPS. Hard knocks come though as Pierson broke his hand after being hit by a pitch ending his season abruptly.

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Pierson was a year older than the majority of oldest players in the Pioneer League last season, which gave him a small advantage in putting up strong numbers. That's not to say it's his fault he was one of the oldest in the league or that his numbers didn't express his skill set, but it's very evident he's far and away above those in the Rookie Ball. With that said, he will start next season in Single-A.

It's more likely that Pierson will begin 2016 in High-A Inland Empire, due to his age and talents. Tougher pitching will be a strong challenge to show if Pierson's numbers were a fluke of his age or if he is the real deal, which it should. If Pierson excels at High-A, the sky could suddenly be the limit, leaving us with no ceiling or floor at the moment.

For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.

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