Jay Michael Pecci
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 192 lb.
Pecci was a walk-on in college and hit .275/.373/.314 as a freshman bench player. He fell to .194/.270/.243 as a sophomore but then hit .320/.380/.416 as a junior, when Stanford made it to the 1997 College World Series. He was 10 for 17 combined in the 1995 College World Series and 1997 College World Series. Remaining a starter in 1998, he hit .294/.407/.402 with 49 runs in 57 games and made All-Pac-10 Conference. Jay was taken by the Oakland Athletics in the 11th round of the 1998 amateur draft.
He split the summer of '98 between the Southern Oregon Timberjacks (.292/.408/.308 in 39 G) and Modesto A's (.315/.359/.411 in 21 G). In 1999, he fielded .942 as the main shortstop for the Visalia Oaks, while producing at a .252/.342/.308 clip. The next season, he spent time with Visalia (.373/.458/.549 in 26 G) and was a regular at 2B for the Midland RockHounds (.246/.350/.323), who had Oscar Salazar at SS. During 2001, he was a utility infielder for Midland, mainly backing up Salazar at SS and Esteban German at 2B; he batted .260/.353/.375 with 31 doubles, 7 triples, 26 times hit by pitch, 72 runs and 16 steals in 23 tries over 125 games. He tied for 6th in the A's chain in doubles, tied for 4th in triples and was second to Jesus Basabe in times plunked. In the Texas League, he tied Robb Quinlan and Barry Wesson for third in three-baggers, led in hit-by-pitch (3 ahead of Joe Caruso) and had the third-lowest strikeout rate, right behind Willie Bloomquist and Bo Robinson.
Mariners and Giants systems
The Seattle Mariners took him in the AAA phase of the 2001 Rule V Draft. He backed up Antonio Perez at 2B for the 2002 San Antonio Missions and hit .277/.355/.339. He played 80 games between five different stops in 2003 - 10 games for the Inland Empire 66ers (11 for 37, 2B, 4 BB), 10 for San Antonio (12 for 40, 2B, 4 BB) and 14 for the Tacoma Rainiers (5 for 40, 3 BB) before Seattle let him go. Picked up by the San Francisco Giants, he got into 35 games for the Norwich Navigators (.236/.312/.282) and 11 for the Fresno Grizzlies (10 for 33, BB). With Norwich in 2004, he backed up Derin McMains at 2B and Mike Cervenak at 3B, hitting .242/.339/.284 in 66 games. He fractured his skull that year in a collision with RF Dan Ortmeier, nearly ending his career. His jaw had to be wired shut for a month following that incident. While it was his final season in Organized Baseball, he still had more than half of his career ahead of him.
In January 2005, Pecci tried out for the Italian national team in the leadup to the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Signing with the Gary SouthShore RailCats, he would become their shortstop for a number of years. He hit .275/.337/.330 the first year, fielding .953. He fielded .942 in 2006 and hit .277/.335/.348; he only struck out every 14.4 PA, the second-lowest rate in the Northern League behind John Lackaff. He was sharper for Gary in '07, batting .266/.341/.376 with 7 triples and fielding .966. He was the hardest batter to whiff in the Northern League (1 K/18.91 PA) and tied Fehlandt Lentini and Max Poulin for second in triples, one behind Joe Mathis.
Pecci took his game up a notch in 2008, when his batting line was .317/.367/.474 and his fielding percentage .974. He scored 70 runs in 85 games. He set the RailCats single-season hit record, was MVP of the Northern League All-Star Game (after hitting a game-winning 9th-inning homer off Scott Koerber. He was 5th in the league in runs, tied Tanner Townsend for 8th in doubles (26), was 6th with 115 hits and again was the hardest batter to strike out (21 K in 401 PA, beating out Cory Harris). He was named to the league's postseason All-Star team at SS, his first postseason All-Star nod of his 11-season career.
Jay again fielded .974 for Gary in 2009 though his offensive numbers fell off a bit (.292/.372/.369, 50 R, 48 RBI). By this time, he was Gary's all-time leader in hits (486) and at-bats (1,700). Returning to the club in 2010, he struggled at the plate (.216/.274/.317) while fielding .972. Moving to the Chico Outlaws in 2011, his offense returned (.332/.426/.418) though his defense fell (from 9 E to 21).
Pecci signed with Montepaschi Grosseto in the Italian Baseball League for 2012. He hit .269/.317/.314 and stole 12 bases in 14 tries, fielding .923 at SS. He was 4th in the IBL in swipes behind Juan Carlos Infante, Mario Chiarini and Brandon Chaves. He went to Germany for 2013, signing with the Heidenheim Heideköpfe and turning in a superb season (.404/.530/.615, 32 R, 26 BB, 11 SB, 4 CS in 28 G) offensively, fielding .891 as a 3B-SS. He was among the southern Bundesliga-1 leaders in average (3rd behind Evan LeBlanc and Sascha Lutz), hits (5th, between Max Boldt and Chris Beck), runs (5th, between Matt Vance and Ludwig Glaser), walks (1st), slugging (7th, between Beck and Lutz), OBP (1st, 15 points ahead of anyone else), steals (5th), errors (11, 5th) and assists (66, 6th).