I posted this for a few minutes on driveline mechanics but I figure it would make more sense on the Orioles blog. I'm going to look at Felix Pie originally of the Cubs and currently of the Baltimore Orioles. Most people know Pie as a player who dominated the minor leagues as a centerfielder. He then failed to live up to that billing with the Cubs and ended up in Pineilla's doghouse. He then was traded to Baltimore and used as a leftfielder. While making the transition to a full-time leftfielder Pie has struggled at the plate hitting .203 hitting almost with little power. According to Peter Schmuck, he hit
two extra-base hits in two at-bats after managing just four (three doubles and a a homer) in his first 108 plate appearances of the season
Presumably that includes spring training, as season statistics show him with 5 total extra-base hits. The knock on Pie has been that he hasn't been able to hit or field as well as expected.
What's interesting is that Pie has begun hitting after taking over for Jones in center. Now it might be a coincidence, especially with small sample size but Pie may hit better in his natural position. It's not unprecedented, especially learning a new position. Teahen who has played 3B, 1B and both left and right field hits best as a third baseman. He also hits much worse at first base. I think the same thing may be happening with Pie.
Defensively he hasn't been all that bad producing a 3.1 UZR in left. He's probably still learning the transition but he seems to be making more headway then he was in spring training when there were a few stories about defensive miscues. This really reminds me of Johnny Damon's transition to left a few years back. The angle of balls in left and center seem to differ significantly enough to cause defensive miscues.
If Pie takes over in center while Jones comes back from his hamstring injury he may be able to hit and field at a strong enough pace to be useful. If he doesn't start hitting soon the Orioles will either try to sneak him through waivers or trade him. When he moves I see him being traded to the White Sox. Why? Two reasons: a) the White Sox need a center fielder and b) Kenny Williams likes reclamation projects. Knowing that I wouldn't be surprised if Pie immediately started hitting as soon as he gets to the White Sox.
Actually it would probably be best to trade Pie to the White Sox. The White Sox still need a centerfielder and they've been looking for speed. Pie should be about as good as their current centerfielder. If Pie starts hitting at all he could be a good pick-up for the White Sox.
The Orioles aren't really using Pie at this point and don't really need him. They currently have several left fielders in Luke Scott, Nolan Reimold, and Lou Montanez. They don't really need Pie as a left fielder. The only advantage the Orioles have in keeping him is having another player who can play center. However they traded Freel for a centerfielder so there's no need for Pie. He should be traded very soon to an organization that can use him. The White Sox are the most prominent team but there are others