Thursday, February 20, 2014

40 Home Run Tree

The Royals pulled off quite the steal the other day when they reached up to the 40 home run a season tree and pulled off a big piece of Carlos Peguero. Fox Sports' Jeffrey Flanagan was able to sit down with one Royals scout who isn't afraid to veer into the hyperbole. (You can read the full article here.)
"He has the power to be a 40-home guy, maybe more. He just has never had the chance to show it. He's also been through too many hitting coaches and everyone has tried to change him. Some team will let him be himself and be rewarded with a special talent."
The author of the article, doesn't just stop at the 40 home run a year upside, just take a look at the title of the article "Royals Outfielder Carlos Peguero, the next Jose Bautisita? Could be." Wow, there really is no time like Spring Training. Let's take a second to entertain these Peguero - Bautista comparisons.

Here's a look at Peguero's numbers heading into his age 27 season:

  • Minors: 3133 plate appearances, .274/.334/.504
  • Majors: 219 plate appearances, .195/.242/.380 worth -.05 bWAR
And Baustista entering his age 27 season:
  • Minors: 1711 plate appearances, .285/.376/.470
  • Majors: 120 plate appearances, .240/.329/.395 worth -3 bWAR
On the surface the primary difference between the two players is that Bautista logged a much higher percentage of his plate appearances at the Major League level than did Peguero. Of course, there is one other enormous difference that we don't see in the numbers above. Bautista during his time in the minors struck out 19.8% of the time and walked 11.5%, while Peguero has struck out in a whopping 30.9% of his at bats, and walked in just 7.6% of those. 

During Peguero's brief Major League career those numbers have been even worse and he has struck out in 38.4% of his plate appearances and walked in just 4.6% of them. In fact, of players with at least 200 plate appearances over the last three seasons, Carlos Peguero holds the third worst K%. Oh, I guess I should mention that the top two are pitchers. In that same time frame, Peguero's BB% ranks 507th among the 564 qualifying players. 

It's great that the Royals are excited about a waiver claim, but let's not get crazy and make this guy out to be something that he is not. He has power. I don't deny that but even in his best Minor League season he only hit 31 home runs. Peguero's thorn has always been and will always be his awful strikeout and walk rate stats. Best case for him is that he somehow can improve his walk rate a little and become a poor man's Chris Carter, but even that would be a major victory on a waiver claim.

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