Scratchin My Hat
I was originally going to title this article, “5 players who are surprising me in Mariners spring training.” The more I thought about it, though, the less surprised I was and the more annoyed I was getting.
I don’t think that I am alone in this. It seems that the radio announcers get all excited about Carlos Peguero every time he comes up to bat. So either he is a likable, strong kid with a lot of potential, or Rick Rizz simply has some sort of man crush on the guy—that thought is bringing up way too many mental pictures that I am not comfortable with.
The truth of the matter is that Peguero is surprising me, not because of how strong or likable he is. I know that he has a great swing and a lot of power. I would expect him to hit the ball into the stratosphere, so that’s not a surprise.
The surprising thing is his strike-out rate. As of this writing, Peguero is hitting .364 in 33 at bats. He has struck out 11 times and has 12 hits including three home runs, 2 doubles and a triple.
So far he is striking out a third of the time. That’s fairly normal for a guy with a power approach. They either hit the ball a long way or they don’t hit it at all. Last season, Peguero played in just 17 games with the M’s and he hit .179 in 57 at bats with 28 strike outs and 10 hits.
The surprising thing is that, so far, he doesn’t seem to be swinging at as many bad pitches.
Peguero actually did fairly well in the minors the last two seasons in AAA and he is always reported as being a star in the winter leagues. However, we all know that Carlos has trouble with breaking balls down in the zone.
If we all know it, the scouts all know it, and every pitcher will know it as well.
In spring ball, it isn’t about scouting—it’s a chance for pitchers to experiment with new pitches and zone control. It is a paradise for a guy like Carlos, which is annoying because with great numbers and a friendly face (not to mention that man crush thing), I want him to make the team.
The problem is that I don’t think he is worth the roster spot. I don’t think his “surprise” performance is based on reality, but I can’t help but feel like the Mariners are going to give him a chance, which means that Peguero will be taking away a spot from someone that could be a legitimate game changer early in the season.
How much playing time do you think he would get as a backup outfielder? Not enough to keep him fresh, that’s for sure.
Guess what? He will swing at bad pitches. And he isn’t the greatest choice as a backup anyway because he can’t play center, and although they use him in right, I don’t see the wisdom in that defensively.
Like I said—it is annoying.