Carlos Peguero and Foul Balls

Yesterday Geoff Baker wrote

Peguero is indeed frustrating because he seems to strike out every time up. But on those few occasions when he actually makes contact, look out. Those foul balls of his are menacing — and I’m not saying that as a wisecrack. Talk to any scout who watches those foul ball line drives to right field and their eyes light up. Those aren’t the foul balls of just any scrub prospect being run out there to save the team a few bucks (which, let’s face it, is indeed a byproduct of running Peguero out there).

No, they are the foul balls of a potential 30-homer guy.

All the team has to do is find a way for Peguero to consistently put his bat on the ball and hit something into fair territory. Again, it sounds like I’m joking but I’m not. If you’re sitting there wondering why the team is bothering with Peguero, that’s the reason.

Somebody upstairs and probably a few folks down at field level truly believes Peguero is not too far away from hitting more fair balls than he currently does. And that, if the switch is flipped this year, he could be a starting left fielder come 2012.

I don’t entirely disagree with Baker’s article. While a lot of people use specific adjectives  such suck, awful, horrible, terrible, disgusting, blinding and more, I’m a little more inclined to say that he’s just over matched at this point. Sure it’s basically the same and I’ve been guilty of using one or more of those cruel adjectives to describe a particular at bat.

But Baker is right Peguero, much like Halman, has put together some decent at bats regardless of the actual results and while I completely laugh at the notion that you “don’t want to throw away another David Ortiz” the idea is in the right place.

Ortiz was a different situation and while he was apart of another failed trade (Dave Hollins), I’ve never held that trade with the same disdane or frustration of many others. It’s not like he was a key piece for the Twins. He certainly showed promise but they were quick too quick to send him to Boston.

Back to Peguero it’s easy to say well if he didn’t hit so many foul balls and he straighted them up he could be a 30+ home run guy and I understand that’s not entirely what Geoff was talking about in his article. But, we can all see that he hits the ball extremely hard and while he needs more playing time it should be in the minor leagues.

He just swings and misses a lot. In fact if you were to look at the leader boards for all hitters with a minimum of 100 PAs he is the leader with 20.1%. League average currently rests at 8.5%. This is a huge problem. Peguero is currently striking out over 36% of his at bats and as such it kills his overall production.

In an exercise to see what type of player Peguero would need to become here is a list of guys that have had over 2 WAR in a season while striking out over 35% in a given year. (min: 400 PA).

2010
Name WAR K%
Mark Reynolds 2.3 42.3%
Jack Cust 2.3 36.4%
Adam Dunn 3.5 35.7%
2009
Name WAR K%
Mark Reynolds 3.5 38.6%
2008
Name WAR K%
Kelly Shoppach 3.3 37.8%
2007
Name WAR K%
Jack Cust 2.5 41.5%
Ryan Howard 3.7 37.6%
2002
Name WAR K%
Jose Hernandez 4.9 35.8%
2001
Name WAR K%
Jim Thome 5.5 35.2%

Those are some interesting names. But they also provide something else besides just home runs. Walks. Each name up there walks above league average. They find other ways to get on base. Maybe part of that is because pitchers pitch around them.

Yet, when I look at guys in their rookies seasons over the last fifty years and sorting by strike out percentage we get the following.

Name Team PA BB% K% ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Dave Nicholson Orioles 202 13.4 % 43.9 % 0.191 0.239 0.292 78 -2 -0.1
Brad Eldred Pirates 208 6.3 % 40.5 % 0.237 0.291 0.313 88 -7.4 -0.6
Bo Jackson Royals 525 7.0 % 40.2 % 0.203 0.326 0.317 91 -14 -0.5
Gorman Thomas Brewers 172 8.1 % 39.4 % 0.097 0.293 0.242 45 3 -0.4
Dean Palmer Rangers 324 9.9 % 38.3 % 0.209 0.227 0.295 81 -14 -1
Jordan Schafer Braves 195 13.8 % 37.7 % 0.084 0.311 0.273 61 -4 -0.8
Mike Schmidt Phillies 483 13.9 % 37.7 % 0.17 0.255 0.323 96 5 2.6
Kyle Blanks Padres 172 10.5 % 37.2 % 0.264 0.325 0.372 135 -1.3 0.9
Carlos Peguero Mariners 148 4.7 % 36.5 % 0.182 0.244 0.262 64 -1.7 -0.4

Yeah, there are a few guys on that list that went on and had good careers such as Gorman Thomas and Dean Palmer. The jury is still out on Schafer and Blanks. Not to mention Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt is in the top-5 of best third basemens of all time on that list. But, all of these guys… ALL OF THEM, started off their career walking more often than Peguero.

If Carlos Peguero wants to be a major leaguer it’s not about the foul balls he has hit, it’s all about doing one of two things. Either start making more or start walking more. It’s just that simple.

 

Topics: Adam Dunn, Bo Jackson, Carlos Peguero, Dean Palmer, Gorman Thomas, Jack Cust, Jordan Schafer, Kelly Shoppach, Kyle Blanks, Mark Reynolds, Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard

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  • Coug1990

    I am not sure if Wedge values a walk at all. Almost every sentence I read of him, he speaks of wanting the hitter to be aggressive. I also think he goes by first impressions a lot. If a player starts out well, he will give them a longer rope than a player that starts slow and begins to pick it up.

  • Keith_12thMR

    @Coug1990 I read a lot of fans saying that recently, but I don’t think I agree. There are a lot of quotes where he talks about not swinging at pitches out of the zone. Wedge’s message seems to get misrepresented at times by the local papers, who tend to give small quotes from his long explanations. He talks a lot about hitting hitter’s pitches, and a lot of about making the pitcher give you a pitch you can hit and then hitting it hard.

  • maqman

    I’m sorry but I don’t see why he can’t learn hitting at a lower level. They sent Saunders down but not Peggy so there’s some personal opinions involved here. Halman has more potential and current value and is worth hanging on to for now, not Peguero. I like Wedgie but he seems to have a bit of an opinionated stubborn streak.

  • Harrison_Crow

    @MarinerMyers @Coug1990 I’m inclined to agree with Keith. I think what frustrates Wedge is the lack of contact at good pitches in the strike zone. Mariners hitters are the worst in the league at fastball pitches.

    They take an obscene amount of pitches that are strikes in 2-1 and 2-0 situations that should be hit hard.