Today on Covefficient, outfielder Francisco Peguero.
Frankie Pegs has been taunting Giants prospect mavens since his signing as an international free agent in 2005, at the tender age of 17. That bat speed! That athleticism! That gradually improving strikeout rate! THOSE TOOLS! Of course, the annals of every minor-league system are full of Toolsy Prospects who just could never put it together, and at the age of 25, Peguero is approaching his sell-by date.
He’s retained that bat speed, and while he doesn’t have true home run power, the ability to get around on a major-league fastball is sometimes enough to distinguish a hitting prospect. Unfortunately, in a year that might’ve seen Peguero log some noticeable major-league time thanks to Pagan’s injury and the inconsistency of the Blorres platoon, a concussion and a shoulder bruise limited his playing time, and he ended up with only 30 MLB PAs to go with less than 300 in Fresno.
Frankie didn’t look completely overmatched in the majors, swatting his first home run in the final game of the season (off a tough righty, even!) and limiting himself to two strikeouts with capable corner defense in his few chances. But he also displayed the limitations of how far tools can take you; most of his PAs resulted in groundout and he didn’t distinguish himself on the basepaths. In AAA, he had a .316 batting average but not much else, striking out four times as often as he walked and not posting any power numbers to speak of, a dangerous sign in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Verdict: As a right-handed hitter with the athleticism to fill in at center field, Peguero has an outside shot at filling the Giants’ 5th outfield spot in 2014; then again, he had the same shot in 2013 and lost it with a poor showing in spring training. (We’ll save discussion on the Giants’ tendency to evaluate players by their ST performances for some other time.) With Juan Perez as competition for the right-handed backup OF spot, Peguero could also end up as trade bait for a team hoping to capitalize on his tools. He turns 26 halfway through next season, and while he’s not over the hill yet, after eight professional season what you see with Frankie Pegs – high contact, reasonable defense, some stolen bases, and not much else – is probably what you’re going to get.