06 December 2010
Baseball America is reporting that the Mariners signed shortstop Esteilon Peguero, widely regarded as one of the top position players on this year's international market, if not the top player. Peguero gets a signing bonus of $2.9 million, which ranks just behind Michael Ynoa, Miguel Sano, and Gary Sanchez on the all-time list. All of them are out of the Dominican Republic.
I've watched some videos on him, and his profile as one of the top bats available seems justified. He has a pretty level swing, with a little uppercut in the finish, but not many mechanical flaws. He'll swing at pitches low in the zone and lift them. Still, the scouting reports generally say that he has good pitching recognition for a Dominican kid, so he may be more disciplined in game situations, where the feed I saw of him was almost entirely in the cage. The bat stays in the zone, the contact is nice and crisp. Right now, you're looking at a probable line drive hitter, who you'll think will add more power later as he gets stronger.
On defense, I haven't seen quite as much of him, but it looks like for the most part he makes quick, clean transfers from glove to throwing arm and has at least an average arm if not more. I would guess that, as is usually the case, they're thinking of him as a second or third baseman because he looks like he could get a little thicker in the lower half, and with okay range at present, that doesn't lend well to him playing at short.
This is a pretty big coup for the Mariners, who already netted another top hitter in Castillo, a quality pitcher in Torres, and a second-tier hitter in Calderon. It's especially nice when one considers that there were enduring rumors that the Rangers were in him, having already signed the son of Peguero's trainer, Enrique Soto. Of course, the M's also had one of Soto's sons in system, George. Favoritism? Possibly, but the important point is that we've strengthened our own system significantly, making up a bit for a few of the draft shortcomings (we still need pitching), and in the process kept a rival from adding more to their own system. Peguero will probably turn up in either Pulaski or Everett next season.