Carlos Peguero and Historical Precedents
"Can you come back from an 0.11 EYE?"


Q. Can we call Peguero's spring "intriguing" yet?

A.  After today, I'm intrigued.  Bear in mind that Zduriencik and Wedge believe that Peguero could learn to hit.  They've had a good long look at him, and this is what they do for a living, and they can visualize a leap.


Q.  Would there be any precedent for a guy with an EYE like THAT?

A.  Peguero's EYE so far in the majors is 0.11, which is gasp-inducing.  You saw the strikeouts.  

Also very important is the fact that Peguero's EYE in the minors was 0.22.  We are not talking about a good hitter who was called up too early.  We're talking about a guy who has never been able to cover the strike zone, or else has never been able to see pitches correctly.


Q.  Still -- do players come back from EYES that are lower than 0.20?

A.  Lots of them.

Carlos Gonzalez, 2008, had an 13:81 EYE and an OPS+ of 71 ... Peguero's OPS+ in the bigs is 70.   Gonzalez' intro to the big leagues was comparable to Peguero's.

CarGo had a lousy minors EYE too, though not as lousy as Peguero's.  I doubt that the difference is fundamental; CarGo had serious issues in the minors.  Whether you can take a scalpel and find out why CarGo's minors EYE was real bad, vs Peguero's EYE terrible, I don't think you can make sense of that via stats.


Q.  Maybe Peguero is NOT Carlos Gonzalez?

A.  If you take 20 rookies who debuted with an EYE under 0.20, you're going to find 17 or 18 or 19 who just wound up being lousy.  

There are a whale of a lot of Brandon Woods, Alfredo Amezagas, and Adam Moores who were on the


Q.  Is CarGo the only precedent here?

A.  There are tons.  Guys do get blown away early, and come back to All-Star status.

Matt Kemp in 2006 had a 9:53 EYE with the Dodgers.  He had a little bit better result, 85 OPS+ ... not really because of the strike zone, but because nobody is as uncompromising in their attack as is Peguero.  You can't really say that Kemp had strike zone skills that exceeded Peguero's now; the variation in stats could be due to a hundred things.

Kemp was horrible in the minors, 109:325 and his ratios were pathetic even in the LOW minors.

Kemp's ratios have come up in the bigs, peaking at 74:159 at age 26.  Major league pitchers don't like to get jacked!


Mark Trumbo, Delmon Young, Carl Crawford, Aaron Rowand, and Howie Kendrick are all interesting precedents to look at.  Maybe one of you guys want to look at those.


Q.  Were these guys' stats AS bad as Peguero's?

A.  If you know what you mean by "as bad," yes.

Pudge Rodriguez, the HOF catcher, walked all of 16 times in a full season ... his fifth season.  He's not a great comp because he could hit that way.  

Still, Pudge had a 5:42 EYE as a rookie, a 75 OPS+, because he just wasn't ready.  This is why you can't split hairs on one terrible rookie season vs. another terrible rookie season.  Suppose the Mariners brought a 16-year-old up to the majors - what would his stats be?  If a guy's not ready, he's not ready, and his stats are going to blow chunks.

You'll see guys make the mistake of "analyzing" Peguero by comparing 0.12 EYES vs 0.18 EYE's, setting the bar at 0.15 EYEs and excluding those above, etc. etc.  You've got to group the players logically.  Logical here is simply "guys who were way overmatched."  Don't divide the major league player pool into 700 sections.


Q.  Others?

A.  Get a load of Jermaine Dye.  The Braves gave him a real good shot at age 22 ... he had a 8:67 EYE. 

Granted, he hit a little bit at age 22, but he didn't hit at all at ages 23 and 24.  His OPS+ was 69 as a second-year player, and it fell all the way to 54 (!) as a third-year player.

But starting in year four, he was a legit cleanup hitter ... at age 32 he had an MVP-candidate season, a .622 SLG for the White Sox.  

His whole career, he ran 40:120 type EYEs and racked up his RBI's that way.  (In the minors?  Yes, he was a hacker, 119:271 EYE, not as bad as Peguero, but again not necessarily due to a plate-coverage issue.)


Q.  Conclusion?

A.  It's a fair question to ask, does anybody EVER come back from whiff-a-matic displays like Peguero's shown to date.

But the basic answer is, Yeah.  There are a good number of super-aggressive ML All-Stars who overswung themselves back to the bench as young players.  Peguero's attack is dialed up to 11, and he looks a tad more extreme that way than other players.


Q.  Would YOU stick with Peguero?

A.  I'd wait as long as possible, yes.  Pretty painful to let Mike Carp go ahead of him, but then again, the Mariners have other guys who are Mike Carp.  The idea with Peguero is that the upside is different from Carp, Wells, Saunders et al.

"I have devoted most of my life to forgetting what my teachers aid, and since doing that, I have acquired a certain ease and good cheer that I should never again like to be without" - Emanuel Lasker, world chess champion 1894-1921

Peguero strikes out and it doesn't bother him.  It's actually pretty smile-inducing to watch him do it.  Whiff, bemused look, confident stride back to the bench again.  He's got an unsinkable ease and good cheer.  His sheer buoyancy lifts your own spirits.

Does it affect a competitor's future, that he is not fazed by setbacks?  Axed and answered.  

As Jim Lefebvre told Jay Buhner, you wanna hang your head, kid, you can hang it at AAA.  Managers find sour dispositions to be annoying.  Peguero's sunny attitude (1) gets him extra time in the bigs, as well as (2) increasing his resiliency.


That's one thing about Peguero that is VERY DIFFERENT.  Here's a second thing.  When Frank Howard used to play, the third baseman would back wayyyyy up because he could have been killed.  Richie Sexson, in his prime, caused almost this reaction.  David Ortiz has been sort of like that.  Those are really the only three guys where you thought, man, the infielders actually have to be careful not to be terminated out there.

Carlos Peguero is every inch of Frank Howard when it comes to freakish strength.  I've seen him hit line shots at 1B that had the defender literally scrambling out of the way.

The word "freak" is tossed around a lot.  If there are ten freaks in baseball right now, Peguero's one of them, and the only one I know of in the strength category.  You can see why the Mariners want to give him a Randy Johnson-type window of opportunity.


Q.  Where does he play?

A.  You tell me.  He slugs .700 in ST and he keeps his SLG over .550 in the first two weeks of April.  What is the Mariners' lineup then?  

Bring it.






Peguero is actually a better AAA hitter than he was AA or A. He's walked nearly 70 pts in AAA. Hits almost .300
So, we either have the definative AAAA guy....or a guy who's getting better.
If he's getting better, then a jump to .240-.300-.440 is pretty reasonable. He would play at that level.
The big jump is .255-.310-.460. He would be a weapon at that level.
I don't care if he strikes out 200 times, if he hits 35 taters. He's got that automatic 25 homer look right now...giver a season of AB's.
But who goes? Wells? Raul? Bay homered again today....
Stuff's happening...


on the radio last year and he relayed a conversation he had with Z. Blowers asked which of the Mariners youngsters had the most upside (pitching and hitting) and to Blowers surprise Z said Peguero. He didn't say anything about what his floor was but if he hits then the M's might have something special. Big "if".


That's who I thought Peguero was when I first saw him, and he hasn't changed my mind. Wily had a .26 eye in the minors and a .20 eye in the bigs.
Pena, minors: .278/.342/.484, 210 BB / 809 Ks in ~2700 plate appearances
Peguero, minors: .277/.336/.512, 183 BB / 811 Ks in ~2600 plate appearances
They're about as close as you're gonna get. How long you gonna wait to see if Wily Mo can figure it out? Granted, Peguero is Pena with extra power (he really IS a freak in that dept) so maybe he gets a longer leash.
But at 26, it sort of needs to happen now, otherwise it's gonna be like the Legend of Bucky Jacobsen part II.
"Man, I saw this home run from Peguero once that went higher than it went far... and it went 470 feet from home plate..."
...But you saw it in the minors. Betting on Peguero is like betting on 27 in roulette: yes, you might hit, but your odds aren't great so maybe you shouldn't put all your money on it.
We haven't, though - Peguero only makes the traveling 25 if we drop a 1-year-vet-flier to the curb, and there are worse things. His approach is improving. "Improving" and "successful" aren't synonyms, but it's worth exploring for a while longer. Most pitchers haven't found their breaking ball release points yet, though, so this is where I'd expect to see things from Peguero.
Let's see what happens if we're still seeing them in a couple of weeks.


I personally can't see any way Peguero makes the 25 man roster on opening day, as he still can be optioned to the minors. If he did make the 25 man, the M's would have to get rid of 2 of: Wells/Raul/Bay, which is extremely unlikely if Bay continues to hit well in ST. If Bay keeps hitting and GMZ lets Wells go in order to keep Bay, the M's will have 3 poor defensive OFers - Morse, Raul, & Bay. Nail biting time late in games with a 1-2 run lead.


Bye Bye had a 6/34 Eye his first go-around. Grew into a guy who went .243-.307-.477 with 36 homers in '85. 52/166 that year.
Something to hope for.

ghost's picture

Point well taken about some guys being atrociously bad at first and then growing. But..........
...I'd wager none of those other guys had a fatal swing flaw that was easy to identify and pitch to. Peguero does. He sinks his weight and swings the bat at about a 50 degree angle from the ground. It's the most extreme uppercut swing I've EVER seen. Unless I see photo evidence that he's stopped doing this...I will bet the low on any projection.


So he was optioned to the minors in 2011 and 2012, which leaves him one option. Wells really needs to make this team, but that's gonna be an interesting squeeze. Anybody think we're gonna have someone on the 15-day DL to start the year so we can carry an extra bullpenner for a coupla weeks until the starters are all stretched out?
I'm not gonna be shocked if Wells "pulls a hamstring" at the end of camp.

Brent's picture

Tacoma, because he still has the available option. If he reverts to what he's been in the past, then that's where he stays. BUT... if for some reason the light has turned on for him, and he starts to hit in the .250-.260 range with a lot of homers and doubles, then he's up here as the DH after the trade deadline when Morales gets sent somewhere else. Even if works out to 600 AB's with 150 strikeouts, a stat line of .260/.350/.550 with 35+ bombs, driving in 100+ runs and you have Jay Buhner in his heyday. I'm not predicting this at all, because I think it's fair to say that most of us had given up on him ever getting a clue. But I think we'd take that if it were to happen.


If the M's are still in contention for a wild card spot at mid-year, and if Morales is thumping (OPS>.850), it's not a given that GMZ would trade Morales. He could keep Morales for the full year and offer a large qualifying contract to earn a draft pick if Morales signs elsewhere. MOTO thumpers who can switch hit and play a defensive position don't grow on trees.

ghost's picture

Besides...what is it about Mariners fans that makes them want to trade their only good players as soon as they see them?


All this excitement about Peguero is fine and dandy, but Morales is a proven MLB slugger. His OPS at age 25 was .924. He's still only 29 and finally fully recovered from his broken leg. In my opinion, GMZ has re-tooled the offense to win this year with Morales the heart of it.


The year before he got hurt, Morales hit .306 with 34 homers and 43 doubles.  Finished #5 in the MVP.  He's only 30 years old this season.
If that's what he's going to do, I'd love to have him hit 3rd going into the future.  He's a guy with a 70 HIT tool, and power into the bargain -- a Will Clark, Don Mattingly style hitter.
What's the story on that Scott Boras guy again?

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