JOSH FIELDS
THIRD BASEMAN
Age: 28
Born: December 14, 1982
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 240
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st Round, 18th Overall, 2004
How Acquired: Minor League FA
College: Oklahoma State University
Agent: Jeff Berry, Casey Close

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates signed Fields to a minor league deal for 2011 and invited him to spring training. He reached the majors with the White Sox as a top prospect, but never got established there, in part because he got supplanted by other players. He also lost some critical time to injuries. Fields has shown good power and is willing to draw a walk, but he’s had trouble making contact. As a major leaguer, he’s had a huge platoon split, posting an OPS of .957 against LHPs and .623 against RHPs, with Ks in 34% of his ABs against the latter. Defense was not considered his strong suit as a prospect and UZR sees him as below average during his major league time, although the sample size is still small. Fields has played 22 games in left and 17 at first in the majors, but has played third almost exclusively in the minors. His only appearances in the middle infield were four games at shortstop in AAA in 2007.

2004-05: Played quarterback as well as baseball in college. Drafted 18th overall by White Sox. Hit only moderately well in first two pro seasons, with very high K rates.

2006: Had first really strong pro season, although he continued to fan in nearly a third of his ABs. For some reason, stole exactly half of his career total of bases, including major and minors, in this one season.

2007: Took over White Sox’ thirdbase job in June when Joe Crede got hurt. Hit for very good power, but fanned in a third of ABs.

2008: Was expected to continue at third for Sox, but they couldn’t get a trade offer they liked for Crede, who proved to be healthy and returned to the position. Fields struggled with injuries in AAA and eventually went had knee surgery.

2009: Opened season as starter at third, but didn’t hit and lost job to Gordon Beckham. It’s conceivable knee wasn’t fully healthy.

2010: Traded to Royals for Mark Teahen, but missed nearly entire season due to hip surgery, making only brief appearance in September. Surgery was to repair labrum, which is the same surgery Alex Rodriguez had. Royals non-tendered him rather than risk arbitration.

Depending on how fully recovered his knee was in 2009, it’s possible Fields hasn’t really gotten a shot in the majors as a healthy player since 2007. He probably still has some upside left as a power hitter, although he’s unlikely ever to hit for average. His defensive play, which was never very good, isn’t likely to be helped by the surgery. The Pirates invited Fields to spring training, where he competed with Garrett Atkins, Andy Marte and Steve Pearce for a backup corner spot, but he didn’t hit well and was assigned to minor league camp.  He’ll serve as AAA depth instead.  He could still prove useful if he gets his bat going.  He’s mauled left-handed pitching so far in the majors and the Pirates will have left-handed hitters at first and third.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference
Baseball Reference
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2011: $750,000 (minor league contract) 

  • Can receive incentives based on plate appearances: $25,000 each for 350 and 380: $50,000 each for 410, 440, 470 and 500.

2010: $422,000
2009: $410,000

PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $1,550,000
MiLB Debut: 2004
MLB Debut: 9/13/2006
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2007, 2008, 2009)
MLB Service Time: 2.159
TRANSACTIONS
June 7, 2004: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 1st round, 18th overall.
June 18, 2004: Signed by the Chicago White Sox to a minor league contract with a $1,550,000 bonus.
September 10, 2006: Contract purchased by the Chicago White Sox.
November 6, 2009: Acquired by the Kansas City Royals from the Chicago White Sox along with Chris Getz in exchange for Mark Teahen.
December 20, 2010: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
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