The Giants need a right-handed fifth outfielder. In a fit of curious Cole Gillespie fascination, though, we've missed something. Maybe is because it's hard to believe, or maybe it's because we don't want to believe. One of the Giants' top-ten prospects is a right-handed outfielder. Let's see, he's #8 on Baseball America's list and #10 according to Baseball Prospectus, which is where FanGraphs has him as well.
The best part: This right-handed outfielder is in the upper minors. He was in Fresno last year, and he's on the 40-man roster. If you're looking for a final piece of the roster puzzle, that should be a perfect fit: an in-house option, just sitting there waiting for the Giants to notice.
You've probably figured out by now that we're talking about Francisco Peguero. Maybe the headline tipped you off. But you would be forgiven if you read that whole passage with a big ol' squint, wondering who in the heck this mystery player could possibly be. I probably would have. I've thought about Chris Heston more than Peguero this spring, and the same goes for Nick Noonan, Johnny Monell, and Ricky Oropesa. Peguero might as well have been Yamid Haad when it comes to how much attention I've paid to him.
But it should be noted that this site does not represent the views of the people in charge of the actual roster decisions. Because Peguero has a shot -- a good shot -- of making the roster. From Alex Pavlovic:
Peguero certainly has made an impression on manager Bruce Bochy, who is looking for a fifth outfielder. In a crowded field that includes Cole Gillespie, Roger Kieschnick, Juan Perez, Gary Brown and possibly even Brett Pill, Peguero has been an early standout. He has 11 hits in 21 at-bats, along with six RBIs and four runs.
If you're wondering why Peguero is under the radar for Internet derelicts looking for fifth outfielders, let's embed some stats and count the ways.
1. He had a .297 on-base percentage in the Pacific Coast League last year, which means that Brett Pill is right to take him aside and tell him, "Dude, calm down. Let the game come to you."
2. He's not especially young for his league or for a prospect in general.
3. That Baseball America scouting report up there was delayed for a week because Peguero wouldn't stop swinging at the punctuation.
4. He has never shown in-game power, maxing out at 10 home runs in a single season.
5. He has speed (note the triples), but he's never been an adept base stealer. He stole 40 bases for San Jose in 2010 (hooray!) but was caught 22 times (yeesh).
These are reasons why I don't think much of him as a prospect, but they'll do well as an explanation of why Peguero shouldn't be a fifth outfielder this year. He's raw. Raw isn't something will help the bench, and it isn't something that the bench will help. I can't think of a poorer fit than an all-tools player on the Giants bench
If you're wondering why Peguero's on all those prospect lists, there are two reasons: First, the Giants' system is kind of in a bad way, and second, the tools. All the tools. So many tools. Everything a baseball player should do, Peguero looks like he can do it. He runs, throws, hits for average, puts on displays in batting practice, and fields well. Smart people -- a lot of them -- still have some measure of confidence in Peguero.
Really, Peguero is what would happen if you carved out the pitch-recognition part of Fred Lewis's brain, and filled it with electrodes that made him take better routes. Nothing about that combination should appeal to the 2013 Giants. Maybe if they had Pat Burrell still out there, still fielding like he was in a barrel going over a waterfall, the Giants could use a glovey guy at the far end of the bench. As is, I can't take the Peguero idea seriously.
If Peguero really does have tools that can make him a useful player someday, he should play every game he possibly can. And the Giants should keep looking. If the Giants aren't sold on Cole Gillespie (who really isn't that inspiring), then they can look for another team's Conor Gillaspie -- a player out of options, who could be had for the fourth man in the High-A bullpen. There are a few options. I can't bring myself to believe that Peguero is one of them.