The late-season trade that sent Jesse Crain to the Tampa Bay Rays was completed Tuesday with news that minor league pitcher Sean Bierman was sent to the White Sox to complete the deal.
As you’ll recall, the player the White Sox were to receive for Crain was contingent on how much, and how well, the injured reliever pitched for the Rays down the stretch. Seeing as how Crain didn’t throw a single pitch in a Tampa Bay uniform, the return wasn’t expected to be much. Some relevant and not-so-relevant bullet points on the new acquisition:
Reincarnated as a lefty org arm. // Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
- 6-foot-1 lefty.
- Drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Was also taken in the 42nd round in 2007 by the Cincinnati Reds, but did not sign.
- Started his collegiate career at Vanderbilt. Transferred to Division-II Tampa after his sophomore season.
- Had Tommy John Surgery in 2010.
- Is Jewish.
- Is the first guy in University of Tampa history to get drafted.
- Had a DUI arrest in 2011.
- Has a Twitter handle that is a little questionable, considering the above bullet (@Beerman973)
- Prior to the 2012 draft, baseballdraftreport.com wrote this about Bierman: “no true out pitch, but diverse enough repertoire that he could continue to start professionally.”
There isn’t a whole lot to go on as far as a scouting report on Bierman, but Robbie Knopf of Rays Colored Glasses had this to say about him toward the end of the 2012 season:
"“Bierman was talented enough to be a 42nd round pick by the Reds back in 2007 despite a strong commitment to Vanderbilt as his fastball hit 91 MPH. Bierman doesn’t throw that hard anymore after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. But the rest of his arsenal has come together quite well. Bierman throws in just the high-80′s with his sinker but locates it extremely well for strikes down in the zone. He has very arm good action on his changeup to go along with great sink. His 1-to-7 curveball doesn’t feature sharp break, but Bierman throws it for strikes and uses it to get a lot of groundballs.”"
And more, per the 2012 draft recap at draysbay.com:
"Value: He is a “reach” at this spot. Still, players like him help the Rays to have room to sign higher ranked players.Scouting Report: There are few reports on him, but he throws a variety of pitches and mixes them well to get good results. None of his pitches stand out.Best Case Scenario: He could develop into a 4/5 starter or middle reliever, but that is really stretching it.ETA: 2015"
Since joining Tampa Bay’s farm system, Bierman has thrown 150 innings and registered a 3.00 ERA. Most impressively, he has registered 113 strikeouts and just 23 walks.
The downside: He turns 25 in less than a week and hasn’t pitched above A-ball, splitting last season between Low-A Bowling Green and High-A Charlotte.
Again, since Crain didn’t throw a pitch for the Rays this year, the return wasn’t likely to be more than an organizational arm, and that appears to be what we’re looking at here.. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Bierman could contribute at the Major League level at some point in the future, but there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot there.
Follow Collin on Twitter @cowhitchurch