Take ’em to Church

Thumbnail image for catholic-church.jpgWhich MLB player attends religious services every Sunday?

Well I’m sure many do, but one player stands out as one of the holiest players in the league.


Now I am not totally sure of Church’s religious background, it was just a lame attempt at a joke.

Anyway, getting back on track here, the Pirates have reportedly signed outfielder Ryan Church to a one year, 1.5million dollar deal.

The former 14th round pick of the Indians really made a name for himself when he was a National. During his four years with the organization, his numbers really never stood out.

His highest batting average was .287 in 2005. His
Church1.jpg highest home run total was 15 in 2007. His OPS numbers range from the upper .700s to mid .800s. Nothing to brag about there, but Church is widely regarded as a reliable, yet solid player.


 Church spent brief and injury prone years in New York and Atlanta. He gained national attention in a bigger market playing for the Mets. His power numbers digressed after leaving Washington and so did his playing time. He was used in 4th outfielder capacity for both teams but still did his best to strive in the position he was in.



RyanChurch.jpgChurch, now 31 and a seasoned league vet has always been a favorite player of mine. I have literally had the privelege of following him from the very beginning of his professional career.

ryan-church.jpgChurch was drafted by Cleveland in 2000. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers, short season A ball, usually recieve the top draft picks of the organization literally days after they are signed. It has been great watching former Indians stars such as C.C. Sabathia and Victor Martinez has been a real treat back in my hometown.

Church arrived on the scene in that summer and was a hot player destined for greatness right away. He was named New York Penn player of the week muliple times, a legaue leader in home runs and RBIs and just an exciting player to watch.

It is not very often a player in short season A ball makes a name for himself right out of the gate. Not only is there high turnover rates this low, the fans really do not look that much into these very young players.

As a pre-teen boy I was in awe of Church. Every Scrappers game I went to I would bug Ryan for his autograph. I never did get it though. The crowds were hyped full of tee-ball league players getting autographs as well. I was always too late. Now that he is a Pirate, I plan on earning his signature and explaining to him how he snubbed me some ten years ago.

Church’s role on the Pirates will be unique. He will probably be th 4th outfielder for Pittsburgh, a role he is already used to. With Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen inked into the left and center field positions the right field spot is definitely up for grabs. Brandon Moss and Church will be in the running for the starting spot, however, more than likely Garrett Jones will be the guy the Pirates are most comfortable with manning the outfield grass.

I would rather put Jones at first to give Church the starting position in right. But Jeff Clement looks to be the starting first baseman. Clement came to the Bucs via the Mariners and is considered quite the hot prospect. He does not have very good game experience in the big show, but he is a minor league prodigy. I am skeptical though because I honestly have to see it to believe it.

With the addition of Church the Pirates have just one more bench spot to fill. Brandon Moss and Delwyn Young will be competing for that final spot. This is a tough spot for me personally. I enjoy the potential of Moss, but he has never came through or lived up to any expectations. I hate to give up on him seamingly quickly considering he was part of the Jason Bay deal.

Delwyn Young on the other hand has exceeded expectations, my personal ones and that of Pirate fans. In what was really his first full big league season Young was a clutch hitter who had a knack for finding the holes to get the ball through. He ran out of gas at the end of the year and was really in a deep funk. Delwyn is one of my favorite players. He is likeable and brings a “fresh” feeling to the club.

It’ll be an interesting race and a great storyline heading into Spring Training.

photo credits: homeruncards.com, lompoclockerroom.blogspot.com, wfan.com, brotherpeacemaker.com




Interesting that you followed Church way back when he was just starting out and now he’s a Pirate! Some things are just meant to be. I hope he performs well in Pittsburgh.


Ryan Church is a great addition to the Pirates. The losing season streak ends here, hopefully


I like this move for the Pirates. I think Church will probably play quite a bit in platoon roles to utilize his skills without jeopardizing his health. He seems to be the 2010 incarnation of Eric Hinske for the Bucs this year, at least in my mind.

~ Will

Ah, more head scratching… Ryan Church? Really? This is the guy who was full of promise and never really ever filled that promise. I feel like the Pirates keep taking swings but they keep missing and don’t swing at the best pitch — proverbially speaking of course (though a literal interpretation could be handled here just as easily).

I Remember this Vin Scully quote “”Strike three, and an angry Ryan Church saying things you cannot say in church”. Let’s hope that he does not have many of those strike three.

Church seems to be one of those guys that has been given a few bad apples over his young career.
Just when he seems to have his hitting square and his baserunning is improving, a simple injury has derailed the guy.
But he a more than able guy to have in your outfield. I actually had him on my MLBloggers Fantasy team becuase he can go on a bit of a streak and get some great hits and needed RBIs.
I think this might be another under the radar pick-up by the Pirates that also might bring them back a nice haul at the Trade Deadline if he has a great year.

Rays Renegade


LINK: The Pirates are close to getting Dotel.
It seems the Pirates are getting everyone they want this winter. Good work by NH getting Church. Id take him over Ankiel any day.


I like it. The Pirates are filling out their bench. This is a sign that they are getting better…they are getting established mlbers to fill out their bench.



Ahhhh, Delwyn Young is also one of my favorite players. I was so sad to see him leave the Dodgers but it was a good move. He now can play rather than sit and watch everyone else. Before last season started I was able to get a picture taken with him. I’ll post it on my blog when I get a chance. He is such a nice guy. The Pirates are lucky to have him.

Definitely right to be skeptical about young, unproven guys (see Brandon Allen). Poor Church…the Mets really mishandled his head injury.

I saw Ryan Church play as an Expo back in 2004, he was a top prospect then. Hope Pittsburgh can play him full time, just gotta hope he stays healthy.


Ryan Church had alot of potential, and I think still does have a lot of potential. He could have a breakout year anytime, although the window is quickly closing.

We got Bay …you got Church…MLB keeps spinning. I was a CHURCH follower. I was on his side. Manuel stabbed him in the back here and sent him floating down river. You got yourself a good player. I hope his head is clear.

I think that this was a good signing for the Pirates. I feel like he’ll do well in Pittsburgh. And we both miss Jason Bay now, right? haha

Hi Matt, how are you doing?? Thanks for all the support. Congrats for making #44 in 2009 mlblogs!!

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