07/11/10 11:20 PM ET
Mariners' Peguero solid during Futures Game
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Peguero, who is from the Dominican Republic, was one of three players in the World lineup who were in there for nine innings in a 9-1 loss to the United States at Angel Stadium. Peguero, starting in left field, had two hits in four at-bats, scoring the World's only run after a second-inning single and delivering their only extra-base hit with a fourth-inning double."I loved it," Peguero said. "It was exciting to get out there because I love baseball and love playing." The double off Giants prospect Zack Wheeler in the fourth was a brief reminder of Peguero's power potential. A sixth-inning strikeout against Jordan Lyles, a right-hander from the Astros organization, was a reminder of the biggest concern with Peguero as the Mariners' top power-hitting prospect. Peguero, 23, is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds and can be all-or-nothing at the plate with a big swing that can drive the ball out of the ballpark but also can rack up high strikeout totals. Peguero, playing at Double-A West Tennessee, leads the Southern League with 106 strikeouts. Still he is hitting .272 and is second in the league with 15 home runs and eighth with 46 RBIs. His .835 OPS ranks seventh. Most significant though is his .367 on-base percentage. While Peguero is still striking out at an excessive rate, he is drawing more walks. He has 40 walks in 360 plate appearances after drawing a career-high 42 walks in 544 plate appearances at Class A High Desert last season. The Mariners also like the way he is taking every at-bat seriously and not giving as many away as he has in the past. "I have been working on being patient," Peguero said. "I've been trying to cut down my swing and my strikeouts, working hard on that and focusing more on that." The Mariners have been focusing on trying to upgrade their offense. Their top priority in trading All-Star pitcher Cliff Lee was acquiring a big bat and they were able to get first baseman Justin Smoak from the Rangers. This is a franchise that needs more offense and in a couple of years they could be looking for a big bat in the lineup at designated hitter. Milton Bradley is signed through 2011 and if Peguero can continue to make progress at the plate, he could figure prominently in the Mariners' lineup by '11 or '12. He still needs work on his defense and he is only hitting .190 against left-handed pitchers. His ceiling might be a left-handed platoon at designated hitter. But he had a breakout season in 2009 when he hit .271 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs at High Desert and he is building on that with West Tennessee. He is a player on the rise for the Mariners. The Futures Game identifies stars of the future, and Peguero was a player who stood out with the best on Sunday at Angel Stadium. "I just have to be consistent and just have patient," Peguero said. "It feels good when you see there is an opportunity in the organization and there is a chance to get to the big leagues. You just have to trust yourself, don't try to do too much but just play baseball and just play hard."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.