One of the newcomers to the St. Louis Cardinals this season has had an excellent start to Spring Training. Whether or not he has a shot at any point in this season in an interesting dilemma.
We all know that the St. Louis Cardinals have been starved for power. This was not necessarily addressed in the offseason, as the team believes they have the offense in house to compete. However, the team did add someone with power, and that would be Carlos Peguero, who has impressed so far this spring.
At first glance, Peguero’s numbers can easily be tossed aside as Spring Training luck. However, what we have seen from Peguero is about what we can expect. He has absolute big game power, in 289 career major league at-bats the slugger has 13 homers, meaning he is good for a homer every 22 at-bats. That’s not a bad rate for a guy, who the Cardinals picked up for a small chunk of change.
Not only that, Peguero will be under team control for the next five seasons. Sounds like a great pickup right? Well, that’s where the intrigue with Peguero lies, with that pure power comes strikeouts and a lot of them.
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At the major league level, Peguero has struck out 126 times, giving him a strikeout for every 2.3 at-bats. So, historically he is good for a strikeout about every other at-bat. His minors numbers don’t offer much relief here either, as he has struck out in every 2.9 at-bats in his 10 year minor league career.
Intriguingly enough he holds a lifetime .271/.335/.511 clip in the minors and 400 career extra base-hits (182 doubles, 174 homers, 44 triples) to go along with his 31% strikeout rate.
In the enormously small sample size of 18 plate appearances in Spring Training thus far, Peguero does have two homers and three doubles, while just tallying four strikeouts. This puts him at an extra base-hit rate of every 3.6 at-bats and a strikeout rate of every four at-bats.
Those numbers seem pretty good, but Cardinals’ fans must beware that Peguero is putting these numbers up in Spring Training, and in 18 plate appearances anything can happen.
While Spring Training can give you a good gauge on how a guy is performing, the numbers can’t actually relate to what a guy will provide in the regular season. For example, the much detested and offensively challenged Pete Kozma has a .798 OPS in 174 Spring Training at-bats, and that is including his 1-12 start with the New York Yankees.
Understanding that the team will likely start the season with an outfield rotation of Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, and Brandon Moss — there simply seems to be no room for a guy like Peguero.
Yes he has shown that he has for real power and that he could be a player on this team at some point this season, but there is simply no reason to suggest he can all of a sudden become even a regular MLB backup.
The guy has had numerous chances with teams that have needed offense just as much if not more than the Cardinals do right now, and he may even get a shot to do so later this season in St. Louis, but he has got to prove it in Memphis first.
As far as depth chart goes, I would have him on equal pegging with Anthony Garcia, who was sent down to minor league camp with AAA Memphis just yesterday. If and when an injury occurs one of these two guys (whichever is hottest) will get the call to the big leagues, and it will be their time to shine.
I like power as much as the next guy, but without consistent contact that power turns into far too many zeros. Regardless, I am sure that Peguero will be a fun player to watch this season for those who consistently watch Memphis Redbirds games. Hopefully, he will contribute for the major league club and give us at least a long monster shot or two to gaze at.