Change is good in this case, but the Mariners’ on-field product isn’t likely to be improved by the decision Monday to cut Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans and add Carlos Peguero and Michael Wilson.
The 24-year-old Peguero is big, strong and surprisingly fast, but he also struck out more than 170 times in high-A ball in 2009 and again in Double-A last year. He had a 34/9 K/BB ratio to go along with his .282 average and four homers in 103 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma this season. During his brief major league stint last month, he went 2-for-11 with five strikeouts.
And while Peguero has the speed to play center, he’d be quite a downgrade from Michael Saunders defensively either there or in left after Franklin Gutierrez returns. He’s also a very poor basestealer, having gotten thrown out on 13 of his 28 attempts since the beginning of 2009.
Wilson has a knack for hitting homers in bunches, as he showed by clobbering eight in the Cactus League for the Mariners in 2009, but he’s 28 and he’s another player with contact issues. While it’s nice to see him getting rewarded with a callup in his 10th season in the Mariners’ minor league system, his only chance of sticking for the long haul is as a platoon starter against lefties. In three seasons in the PCL, he’s hit a modest .255/.341/.463 with 26 homers and a 133/58 K/BB ratio in 566 at-bats.
My guess is that Peguero returns to Triple-A when Gutierrez comes off the DL, with Wilson staying and forming a platoon with Saunders in left field. Peguero isn’t completely hopeless as a possible long-term regular, but he’s not ready to take on major league breaking balls right now.
Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”
Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”
“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”
Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.
After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.
Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.
This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.
Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.
You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.