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By request of commentator Adam, Seattle’s Carlos Peguero is going to be detailed, along with Houston’s Jordan Lyles. With June 1st just around the corner, be ready to jump on a few players bandwagons if there is any space left – I know my leagues have been pushing women and children off the cart since draft day. Better hurry before the the “putting the wagon before the horses” comments are made with 20/20 hindsight. Oh, and Hellickson just dominated the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, and Brett Wallace is starting to get pimped by writers, and Strasburg just had his “roughest” start giving up five hits, two runs – one earned – in five innings.

Jordan Lyles | RHP-SP | Houston Astros | DOB: 10-19-90 | 6′ 4” | 185 lbs | B/T: R/R | 2008 Supplemental pick H.S. | HOU #3 ranked prospect according to Baseball America 2010 | MiLB Player Page
The Cube: Control (76) | K-Rating (90) | Efficiency (84) | vs. Power (64)

I missed writing about Lyles in the winter during the Minor League Review series. However, I did post a rather detailed analysis about him in the comments section. Not too much has changed since then. Lyles was drafted out of a South Carolina high school in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft. Many didn’t think he would be swayed from his tentative commitment to play football for the Gamecocks. Needless to say, $930,000 sure makes a high school grad change their mind. With a lanky frame and plenty of room to fill into, scouts believe that he’ll add a couple more MPH onto his 89 to 94 mph fastball, which has late life. His changeup has the potential to be a plus pitch as it has great fade and excellent sink. Lyles’ breaking balls are a work in progress. His curveball is thrown in the mid-70’s during the early portion of an at-bat, and thrown between 77 to 80 mph when he is ahead in the count. This makes his first offering a show-me pitch and the latter an out-pitch. His arm action, pitching motion and delivery are all smooth, clean and can be defined as a classic pitching form. Here is how he’s performed during his minor league career:

2010 Stats: 7.4 K/9 | 2.1 BB/9 | 57 IP | 3.00 ERA | ~3.37 FIP | 1.09 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 7.7 H/9 | .286 BABIP | 46.5 GB% | 12.4 LD% | 40.0 FB% | 5.9 Hr/FB
Career Stats: 9.9 K/9 | 2.4 BB/9 | 257 IP | 3.40 ERA | ~3.03 FIP | 1.18 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8.2 H/9 | .328 BABIP | 44.3 GB% | 18.2 LD% | 35.2 FB%

I think John Sickels said it best, “Lyles is better than anyone expected, [especially] since everyone thought he’d go to South Carolina to play football.” Baseball America in 2009 was very cautious in his assessment, saying that his breaking ball has decent “rotation and shape,” he has trouble keeping his fastball down in the zone, and he removed a cutter from his selection of pitches. Good thing that 2009 was his breakout year. Baseball America 2010 sang his praises as he dominated the South Atlantic League with 167 strikeouts in 145 innings. The only negative was that his “breaking ball will determine his ceiling.” If you believe reports, he has a ceiling of a number two starter and a baseline of a number three starter. I’d say the Astros have a pretty good prospect on their hands.

A few things to denote when looking at his 2010 stats. He pitches in a park that is conducive to hitting home runs but suppresses other hitting stats. With that said, his Home ERA is 3.55 while allowing three home runs in 25 1/3 IP versus his 2.56 ERA on the Road and one home run in 31 2/3 IP. Furthermore, he has pitched fair better in night games this year (be wary of the small sample size). As with most pitchers, he pitches substantially better without runners on base. Lastly, he has been extremely tough on lefties to date. Lefties are hitting only .194 with no homers and a 1.91 ERA while righties are hitting .266 with four homers and a 4.01 ERA. In all dynasty leagues, he should be owned. In one year leagues, monitor towards the end of the year. The Astros have no reason to rush him through his development. They aren’t going to be winning for a long time.

Carlos Peguero | RF | DOB: 2-22-87 | 6′ 5” | 210 lbs | B/T: L/L | Signed from Dominican Republic-2005 | Not ranked in Baseball America 2010 | MiLB Player Page
The Cube: Power (89) | Batting (56) | Speed (69) | Contact (6) | Patience (21)

Who is that name below Mike Stanton on the minor league home run leader board? That would be Carlos Peguero (as of 5-22-10), right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. Interestingly, Baseball America (2010) chose not to rank him (this was prior to the Cliff Lee trade, and I would like to think he would be ranked in the low twenties for the Mariners after that trade), after ranking him 11th prior to the 2009 season. During this 2009 season, he hit .271/.335/.560 (491 AB) with 66 extra base hits of which 31 were home runs. Two things to note, his home field in 2009 was High Desert in the California League where his home field was the best hitters’ park in the league (followed by Lancaster – Houston’s affiliate). His Home/Away slash line you ask? Home: .302/.384/.671; Away: .233/.280/.439. It’s also important to note that he struck out 172 times (32.2 K%) with only 42 walks. On the plus side, the walks were the most he has ever had in a season.

All right, so I did this backwards. Peguero has a tremendous amount of power and strength. He was actually voted the most powerful hitter in the Mariners farm system prior to the 2009 season, even over Greg Halman. Defensively, his arm is about average and he is a “good runner” in both the field and on the bases – just not stealing bases. What he lacks is a patient hitting approach. He has a “swing-from-the-heels,” and a “first pitch swing” disease that he shares with Delmon Young. With an all-out approach, he has produced a 7:1 K:BB in his career prior to the 2010 season. How is his 2010 season faring?

2010 Stats: .313/.394/.572 | 166 AB | 19 XBH | 12 Hr | .259 ISO | 3/4 SB/CS | 48:18 K:BB | .377 BABIP | 39.0 GB% | 19.5 LD% | 41.5 FB%
Career Stats: .280/.331/.518 | 1552 AB | 88 2B | 31 3B | 73 Hr | .238 ISO | 18/19 SB/CS | 496:101 K:BB | .366 BABIP | 44.3 GB% | 14.2 LD% | 41.3 FB%

The power is still there, the poor stealing percentage is still rearing its ugly head, and the strikeout rate is still concerning but the walks are improving. When Sickels said, “Adapt or die [in Double-A].” Peguero is.  Slowly, like Mike Stanton, learning how to take a walk. It’s a process that takes time, and at least he’s showing improvement. His walk rate is roughly 10 percent, but his strikeout rate is roughly 28 to 29 percent. Better than last year, but nothing to write home about. However you want to dice Peguero’s stats this is for certain, the power is evident, but his slash line has been bolstered by a hitter friendly environment (he played in the California League for two season hitting 43 homers in total at that level) and a high BABIP (.366 for his career).

Like Stanton, I believe Peguero should probably play a few weeks at Triple-A to face more experienced pitching. Not necessarily better pitchers, but pitchers who know what they are doing and have been around the block a few times. Also, Seattle’s Triple-A home park is a pitchers’ haven but the PCL is not. If I was forced to make a play comparison, it would be a less powerful and patient Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, Mike Stanton or a Chris Davis look-a-like. To be honest, I don’t want to peg him as any of those guys until he plays a full season at Double-A or a partial at Double-A and Triple-A in the same season. In really deep dynasty leagues, he’s worth grabbing and stashing for a cheap price. Or if you’re savvy, ride the hype and trade him for a “better” prospect and by “better” I mean a prospect that is more of a lock for the majors.

  1. nmdunkel says:

    Thanks guys! Big fan of Lyles. His glove-side finish is sloppy (similar to 2009 Homer Bailey), but cleaning that up will help increase velocity. Beautiful delivery nonetheless.
    Video if anyone’s interested (2nd video on page):

  2. Adam says:

    Thanks for Peguero!! Great analysis. His current slump is a bit worrisome (.231, 17 SO, 2 BB in 39 at-bats in his last 10 games). It’s hard trying to figure this guy out. He definitely has some speed, since he hit 14 triples last year. So I think if he works at it, he’ll learn how to pick his spots and improve his base-stealing efficiency.

    What confuses me is the fact that he’s been leading off and batting second. Is this a strategy to force Peguero to be more patient (as the table setter, instead of the RBI man)? Also, are his numbers inflated hitting in front of the protection from Ackley and Liddi? Whatever’s happening, he clearly needs grooming, but his future could be interesting if he works out his flaws.

    As a side note, I couldn’t believe these numbers when I saw them: Jerry Sands (class-A, LAD) — .380, 15 hr, 36 rbi, 9 sb. I know he’s down low on the farm, but that production blew me away.

    Thanks again for Peguero!!

  3. Buge Hoobs says:

    Hey Grey,

    In my 10 man 5×5 right now I have:

    CI:Robot MI:Wiggy U:Luke Scott
    The injury to Scott and not so great weeks by Robot and Wiggy have me skimming over the FAs.

    Are any of these guys, “What? … I can’t believe he’s still out there?” material?

    Adam LaRoche, Headly, Willingham, Hart, Blake

    If so, who do you drop? I’m not attached to any of them.

    I’ve also got Granderson coming off the DL, so one of them will most likely be benched.

    I’m thinking LaRoche might be a good pick up, then bumping Wiggy to the MI (for another week at least before dropping his streaky ass).

  4. GopherDay says:

    Hey Stephen,

    Do you know of any speed prospects that might make a fantasy impact soon in SBs? Besides the obvious Desmond Jennings.


  5. adam says:

    I looked up Peguero’s game logs and found an interesting split:

    Batting in front of Ackley or Liddi — 40 AB, 6 HR
    Batting in front of anyone else — 126 AB, 6 HR

    It looks like he thrived with that protection when pitchers feared Ackley the most. Then once Ackley was moved down in the order because of his struggles, pitchers focused on Peguero and as a result, Peguero hasn’t been able to do anything.

  6. GopherDay says:

    Also, when do you think the Pirates will call up Alvarez? Is LaRoche’s DL a precursor to that?

  7. Stephen says:

    @nmdunkel: Thanks for the video.

    @Adam: Grady Sizemore hit lead off even with all of his power. As for hitting around Liddi and Ackley, I think that helps, but it doesn’t necessarily make him a better hitter. Heck, Ackley was struggling at one point and Liddi isn’t considered a great prospect. Nevertheless, Peguero may lose a few RBI and in return get a few more runs when he’s on base.

    The splits you provided are nice, but it’s an extremely small sample size. I mean, 40 AB is something between 9 and 10 games. One hot streak, or cold streak will greatly influence those homer totals (or if they were on the road at a hitters park, etc.). Either way though, it looks like he does better higher in the order.

    Jerry Sands is on my list too, if not for the power outburst, but also because Lambo (LAD) has been suspended for Marijuana use and Sands is surprising everyone. He’ll be around the end of the year though.

    @GopherDay: Speed: Jennings like you said; Dee Gordon (September at the earliest- LAD); Neil Walker had 10 at Triple-A this year; Jason Donald (CLE) has 10 too; if Oakland has a ton of injuries to their outfield, Corey Wimberly (OAK-OF) would be a candidate; Jason Bourgeois (HOU-OF), he may be 28, but with Lee possibly moving (if someone takes his contract), Houston may put a Michael Bourn clone in their line-up – probably a late season call up; Kasas City’s Derrick Robinson has 25 at Double-A, he’s probably not going to factor into a lot of playing time until late in the season if at all; Darin Mastroianni (TOR) has 20 at Double-A, but with the resurgence of Toronto’s outfielders, he’s going to need a lot of trades and injuries to get called up before September, if at all – Same with Ben Revere (MIN), but with Minnesota contending for a Pennant race, I double Revere will see major league action until 2011.

    Of all those names, you’ll want to watch Bourgeois, Robinson, Donald, and the recently called up Neil Walker. Alvarez is struggling to hit lefties, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays down. I want him to be up and he could if they want to platoon him to start, but that isn’t ideal in the long run. His current slash line stands at (according to Minor League Splits dot com) .255/.348/.516 which has a Major League Equivalent of .211/.289/.422. I wouldn’t expect him to perform this poorly. His power would translate the best, but he’d have to be put in position to utilize his strengths.


  8. uncdrew says:

    Apparently my Bonderman-Valverde 1-2 punch doesn’t work when you insert Perry in the middle.

    Damn, that 8th inning of Perry’s pisses me off. Lost the win and probably the save. Oh well.

  9. Troy says:

    As I plow through the crop of prospects this year, it seems like there’s more talent than ever and it’s a struggle resisting the temptation to pick up possible June call ups. I was wondering if there really is a wave of new talent about to take over… or does it just feel that way because information on prospects has become so readily available that even the mediocre prospects are becoming household names?

    For instance, I’m close to dropping Mike Napoli amidst his hot streak for Carlos Santana even if it means I don’t have a catcher for a few weeks. Curious what your thoughts are.

  10. bobbo says:

    @Grey: Drop Borbon for Rajai Davis (OBP instead of AVG)? At least he’s batting leadoff again. Thoughts?

  11. WBC says:

    Who are some never-been-in-the-majors prospects that could make an impact this summer?

    Besides Stanton/Stasburg/Santana I can’t think of any; it doesn’t seem as though guys like Hellickson and Alvarez will be called up until September.

  12. Stephen says:

    @Troy: The risk in dropping Napoli for Santana is that you’re assuming Santana is going to produce like an average major league catcher (or slightly above average). Remember Wieters last year? He wasn’t the hitting savior every fantasy baseball manager thought he’d be. However, he was sufficient for parts of the season. I’m rambling. Anyway, I don’t think it would be wise dropping Napoli, try dropping an expendable pitcher. That way if Santana doesn’t hit well, you can find another pitcher. If this is a deeper league, you might lose out on that pitcher, but you make that risk for a potential stud wavier wire.

    I agree with the assessment that ” is a wave of new talent about to take over… or does it just feel that way because information on prospects has become so readily available that even the mediocre prospects are becoming household names?” The feeling like there is an abundance of talent is probably true. You have guys with amazing power that are talked about throughout the nation (Mike Stanton) and arm that is of the ages (Strasburg – but people said this same thing about Mark Prior). Then again, Chris Carter (OAK-1B) is essentially ignored, Ike Davis wasn’t predicted to do this well (and I am one that didn’t think he’d stick around this year), Mike Leake was a surprise 25-Man roster addition. The names that aren’t talked about as much are the players that the “cutting edge” prospect ravens are looking for.

    @WBC: You have the names that I think would be making the largest difference.

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