We’re reviewing all 316 players to appear in Houston’s system in 2022.
Michael Papierski is a six-foot-three, 224 lb. switch-hitting catcher and first baseman from Palos Heights, IL. Born on February 26, 1996, he was a 16th-round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014. After instead attending LSU, Papierski was redrafted in 2017 by the Astros, in the ninth round. Taken 271st overall, he signed to a deal that included a $140,000 bonus. Papierski is the eighth player taken 271st to make the majors, led by Mark Ellis (33.5 WAR).
Papierski made his debut soon after the draft with the Tri-City ValleyCats, then appeared in 2018 with the Middle-A Quad Cities River Bandits and in 2019 with the then High-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers. In each of those three season, he ranked at or near the top of the walk percentage leaderboard, including a mark of 18.9 percent in 2017. In 2021, he played for the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters.
Papierski began his 2022 with the newly re-monikered Sugar Land Space Cowboys, and appeared in 26 games for the Triple-A affiliate. He collected multiple hits in five of them, including May 10, when he hit a double and a homer with three RBI in a 20-1 win against the Albuquerque Isotopes. While with the Cowboys, he slashed .211/.324/.278 with just that home run and 15 RBI. He also drew 14 walks and struck out only nine times in 108 plate appearances. On May 14, the Astros traded him to the San Francisco Giants for Mauricio Dubón.
Of course you’re familiar with Dubón’s contributions to the eventual World Champion Houston Astros, but Papierski had a few highlights of his own. After the trade, he eventually made his major league debut with the Giants, going 0-for-9 with one walk and four strikeouts. On June 25, the Cincinnati Reds claimed Papierski off waivers when the Giants were trying to send him down to Triple-A.
Papierski enjoyed a bit longer cup of coffee with Cincinnati, appearing in 34 major league contests and going 13-of-82 from the plate. As a major league catcher, he’s now thrown out five-of-35 runners trying to steal. Waived once more following the season, he was claimed by the Detroit Tigers, subsequently waived, then resigned by Detroit. He was assigned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on November 29, but should have a chance to make an impact during Detroit’s Spring Training. Thanks for reading.