The Orioles have a problem in the outfield. With Nelson Cruz settling into the designated hitter role, the Orioles have a void to fill in left field. Although David Lough has made many “SportsCenter-worthy” plays in the field, his hitting just is not coming around like Buck Showalter and the Orioles hoped it would earlier in the season. Lough is currently batting .171 with a .236 on-base percentage.
The Orioles cannot have that sort of offensive liability in their batting order. The question is: Who do they get to replace Lough? Many are saying the Orioles should bring up Steve Lombardozzi from Norfolk and put him in left field. Lombardozzi was with the O’s earlier in the season where he batted .292 in 72 plate appearances.
Lombardozzi does have some experience in left field. In Norfolk this year, he has played five games in left field if Baltimore wants to go down that road and play him in left field when they bring him up to the Majors. I think people are overlooking a very viable option in the Orioles’ #11 prospect, Francisco Peguero.
Peguero was originally signed by the Giants back in 2005. Knee injuries back in 2011 slowed down his progress. Despite making his Major League debut in 2012 with the Giants, he was never able to become a regular in their outfield. The Baltimore Orioles signed Peguero after being non-tendered in 2013.
This 25-year-old has a good combination of speed and power. He gets by on a quick release in the field which allows him to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Currently, Peguero is on a rehab assignment in Norfolk. Although he has only played in 13 games and has had less than sixty at-bats (55), Peguero has shown all signs of a player who is ready for the big leagues.
After going 2-3 in Norfolk’s win over Gwinnett on Friday, Peguero’s batting average in Triple-A Norfolk is up to .345 on the year. He also is posting a .403 on-base percentage coupled with a .418 slugging percentage. In his time with the Tides, Peguero has batted six runs in along with four doubles.
He has yet to hit a home run this year, but he does do something that Lough struggled with Thursday night against the Indians… hitting with runners in scoring position. Peguero has a .350 batting average when runners are on second and/or third.
Another great aspect of Peguero’s game is his arm. On the Orioles official website, scouting reports gave his throwing arm a “60″ which means it is “above average.”
Peguero has played three games with Norfolk as a left fielder. In those games, he posted a 1.000 fielding percentage converting all six fly balls hit in his direction into outs.
When with the Giants he played 21 games in left field; there he also posted a 1.000 fielding percentage. I recently watched a video when he was with the Giants in 2012 where he was playing in left field, scaled the wall, and snagged what would have been a home run, similar to Lough’s catch on Thursday.
Peguero may not have much experience in left field, but his hitting is something the Orioles desperately need at the bottom of their line up right now. And looking at Lough’s plate appearances, anyone batting better than .200 is an improvement so Peguero appears like a godsend to Baltimore.