I’ve only been here since Thursday and have watched a grand total of five games, but it’s hard not to notice 24-year-old Francisco Peguero. Several San Francisco Giants — Brandon Belt, Brock Bond and Pablo Sandoval, to name a few — are putting up good numbers early on in Cactus League play, but Peguero is doing it differently than those guys.
On the minus side, he doesn’t have a home run yet. But everything else from this tools-y player is plus, plus, plus. He also runs out routine grounders with the intensity of a guy who knows he can continue a big league career that started on Aug. 25 of last season. It helps that he’s pretty fast.
Peguero went 2-for-4 today in the Giants’ 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians to drop his average to .550 (yeah, it’s still ridiculously early). However, even though he’s clearly faster than the other guys on the Giants who are hovering around the .500 range, that doesn’t mean he isn’t hitting the ball hard.
“He’s making solid contact. Even that ninth inning, he smoked that ball (lineout) to second. We got a game if that ball gets in there,” Bruce Bochy said.
That’s all well and good, but it’s early March and Peguero is playing against a lot of minor leaguers … right?
“That’s a position we’re going to be looking at, left field. He’s doing what you want these kids to do. He’s playing well,” Bochy said. “I like his approach right now. This thing, as always, it’s going to be a tough decision. But he’s doing what he needs to do, and that’s play well.”
But there’s no way Peguero (or “Pegs,” as Bochy has been heard calling him) would ever start anytime soon … right?
“We’re looking for help out there, along with Blanco and Torres. A right-handed bat could come into play. That’s what (Peguero) is,” said Bochy.
Peguero missed the first couple months of the 2011 season after undergoing knee surgery, and his knee kept him out of action last spring. He doesn’t look hindered by anything these days, and with the fifth outfield spot up for grabs the timing is perfect.
“That’s what you come and play for, to make a case for yourself,” Peguero said through an interpreter. “I feel ready, I think I’m playing very well. I think I’m making a good impression.”
His top competition, at least early on, seems to be 28-year-old Cole Gillespie (who came off the bench and hit two singles in two plate appearances today). Peguero had never played left field until his late-season callup in 2012, and he said that his hitting is ahead of his defense at this point. His arm is strong, however, and he could fill in for Angel Pagan or Hunter Pence at their respective outfield spots if needed. It all adds up to a great opportunity for a guy who went from the minors to riding in a convertible down Market Street last November.