The Baltimore Orioles have not made that big splash just yet before the Winter Meetings kick into high gear, but Baltimore added a young outfielder who could potentially fill the void left by Nate McLouth.
Francisco Peguero comes to Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants, where a large portion of his time was spent at their Triple-A affiliate in Fresno. The 25-year-old has had a cup of coffee in the MLB with just 35 games under his belt, but may see more time in the bigs given the Orioles’ current roster situation.
As a 17-year-old, the Dominican Republic native signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent and was regarded as the No. 2 prospect in San Francisco’s system in 2012 according to MLB.com. Baseball America declared him as having the best arm of any outfielder in San Francisco’s farm system in 2011. Scoutingbook.com says Peguero is more of a line drive hitter and his 6-foot, 190-pound frame doesn’t suggest power-hitting capabilities. His base-running needs work and his patience at the plate leaves more to be desired.
His numbers during his rise from Single-A to Triple-A have dipped as the competition improved, but a .762 OPS in 2013 warranted a return trip to “the show” to fill the voids left by injuries for San Francisco. Just 13 walks in 272 plate appearances is concerning, but a .316 average shows Peguero knows how to find the ball with his bat. Just 17 extra-base hits of his 86 in 2013 shows his in his .408 slugging percentage, so those who criticized Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis for hitting too many singles may be bothered by a guy like Peguero.
Peguero will be given an opportunity to try out at the MLB level, but it remains to be seen if he has any staying power. Much like Henry Urrutia‘s call-up last season, throwing Peguero into the fire because he has Major League experience is the wrong move. Urrutia’s problem was bat speed as he had trouble catching up to the fastballs of big league pitchers, hence why most of his hits went opposite field. Peguero must develop more patience and use his above average speed to set himself apart as the Orioles don’t possess a lot of base-stealing threats with McLouth on his way to D.C. to play with the Nationals.
In his 45 Major League at-bats, Peguero has just nine hits with one double, one home run and an RBI. However, he does have five stolen bases and has been praised by scouts for his abilities on the base paths. However, just three steals in 70 games at Triple-A doesn’t suggest that.
Peguero may be a fill-in guy if Nolan Reimold can’t stay healthy in left field for the Birds, but his ceiling is likely going to be a high-end Triple-A bat. With Baltimore looking to groom Urrutia and possibly adding another bat or two in the offseason, Peguero may see some service time briefly in 2014. He is arbitration eligible in 2017 and his current contract has him set to make $550,000 on a one-year pre-arbitration deal.
The Orioles are not breaking the bank with this addition and a guy with a .200 batting average and .506 OPS in his MLB career are nott numbers that will wow anybody, but this is what the Orioles do. They are riding on potential and Peguero has just that.