COREY HART, FIRST BASEMAN
|Born: March 24, 1982
Drafted: 11th Round, 321st Overall, 2000 (Brewers)
How Acquired: Free Agent
High School: Greenwood (KY) HS
Agents: CAA Sports
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Hart was a fixture in Milwaukee’s lineup for six and a half years, hitting for power and average, generally with marginal plate discipline. Coming up through the minors, he changed positions frequently, playing all the corners, including third, and some in center. With Prince Fielder at first, he played right in Milwaukee until his last year there. For much of his career, he had good speed, stealing a lot of bases until 2009. The defensive stats for him are variable, some portraying him as above-average and some below. That’s all moot now, as operations on both knees, have made it questionable whether he can play in the field effectively. Even before the knee surgeries, he had numerous minor injuries, some of them hamstring and oblique injuries. His offensive numbers were always buoyed by Miller Park; he has a career .891 OPS there, compared to .810 overall. He’s had a moderately large platoon split for a right-handed hitter, posting an OPS of .788 against RHPs and .866 against LHPs. The Pirates signed Hart as a free agent for the 2015 season for $2.5M plus another possible $2.5M in incentives.
Hart had a solid debut, especially for a high school draftee playing in advanced rookie ball. He played first exclusively.
The Brewers sent Hart back to the Pioneer League and he had a big season, playing mostly at first.
The Brewers jumped Hart up to high A and he had a huge season. He was probably helped a great deal, though, by the extreme high-offense environment at High Desert in the California League. Hart split his time between first and third, and also spent the last month in AA.
Hart had a solid season in AA, playing exclusively at third. Milwaukee added him to its 40-man roster after the season.
Hart spent the season in AAA, except for a brief callup in May in which he got one at-bat. He played only in the outfield apart from two games at first. His plate discipline improved noticeably over previous years.
Hart spent most of the season in AAA, still playing mainly in the outfield. He had a better season than the previous year, although that may have been partly attributable to the Brewers moving their AAA affiliate from the International League to the Pacific Coast League. The Brewers called Hart up in mid-August and he got into 23 games in the majors, playing only in the outfield, mostly in center.
Hart spent time in both AAA and the majors in the early season, but by mid-May the Brewers called him up for good. He played mostly in the outfield corners in the majors. Hart hit well for the Brewers, although he was helped by Miller Park, where his OPS was about 100 points higher than on the road.
Hart spent the season as the Brewers’ regular right fielder and had a strong year, even proving to be a very effective base stealer.
Hart had a big first half, posting an OPS of .831 and making the All-Star team. He fell off in the second half, dropping to .659. That left him with mediocre numbers, although playing 157 games helped him accumulate good counting stats.
Hart had his weakest season with Milwaukee. He missed August due to an appendectomy.
Hart bounced back with a strong season, setting a career high in HRs and posting his only 100-RBI season with 102.
Hart missed most of April with strained oblique, then went on to have a season very similar to the previous one.
Hart remained healthy and had another strong season, although his K rate was the highest it had ever been. With Fielder gone, he served as Milwaukee’s regular first baseman.
Hart had surgery on his right knee after the 2012 season and was rehabbing it when he began having discomfort in his left knee. He had surgery on that knee in January 2013 and missed the entire 2013 season.
The Mariners signed Hart as a free agent, but he had a miserable season with them. It also was interrupted by injuries, as he missed a month starting in late May with a hamstring injury and all of August with a bruised right knee. He served almost entirely as designated hitter. Seattle designated Hart for assignment as soon as the season ended.
The Pirates were taking an obvious risk with Hart, given his knee problems and his awful 2014 season. He probably also didn’t have the upside that some fans seemed to think, because even in his best years, his numbers were inflated by Miller Park. PNC Park, which is terrible for right-handed power, figured to have the opposite effect. There was also the fact that the Pirates’ track record with struggling veteran hitters is every bit as bad, if not more so, than their record with struggling veteran pitchers is good. Once the season got underway, Hart got some starts at first and three in right against LHPs, but mainly served as a pinch hitter. He didn’t hit at all and, in late June, went on the disabled list with back problems. While rehabbing from that, he started having knee problems again. He tried rehabbing again in August, but only played sporadically. At the beginning of September, the Pirates announced that Hart had gone home and would spend the rest of the season on the DL.
Hart’s career may be over. It’s possible he could try to mount a comeback, but he’ll likely have to do it on a minor league contract. There’s no reason the Pirates should be interested.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2000
MLB Debut: 5/25/2004
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2015
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: November 2, 2007
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2004, 2005, 2006)
MLB Service Time: 9.038
|June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th round, 321st overall pick; signed on June 12.
November 20, 2003: Contract purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers.
October 31, 2013: Became a free agent.
December 13, 2013: Signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners.
September 29, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners.
October 7, 2014: Elected to become a free agent.
December 19, 2014: Signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.