Steve Pearce is the Orioles’ best hitter and they got him for nothing

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During his 1990s run as Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was known for turning career minor leaguers and waiver wire finds into useful big leaguers and now his success running the Orioles is helped by similar scrap-heap finds.

This year’s biggest find is Steve Pearce, a one-time Pirates top prospect who hit just .234 with a .677 OPS in 246 games for four different teams through age 29.

Duquette and the Orioles claimed Pearce off waivers from the Yankees in late 2012, got some solid work out of him in a part-time role last season, and have watched him turn into an offensive force this year. Pearce homered twice last night as the Orioles clinched their first AL East title in 17 years and he’s now hitting .297 with 20 homers, 25 doubles, and a .936 OPS in 97 games overall.

Among all American League hitters with at least 350 plate appearances this season Pearce ranks ranks fourth in OPS, behind only Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, and Victor Martinez.