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Player Comments: Dan Paolini, Shawn Payne, Joc Pederson, Francisco Peguero

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Francisco Peguero
Francisco Peguero
Jason O. Watson

More draft player comments from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book for your enjoyment.

Dan Paolini, 1B-2B, Seattle Mariners
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 190 DOB: October 11, 1989

SLEEPER ALERT! Paolini was drafted in the 10th round in 2011, out of college at Siena, signed for a $125,000 bonus. He was extremely successful in college, but lasted until the 10th round due to concerns about his glove, plus a poor performance with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League. Wooden bats have not been a problem in pro ball, where he's been very productive at the lower levels, hitting for power with solid batting averages and good patience at the plate. He posted a strong +26 percent OPS last year. Scouting reports say his swing is too long, but this usually shows up in a high strikeout rate. Paolini does not strike out much, and his swing didn't look overly long to me when I saw him in person for Clinton. It is still uncertain where he fits on defense. He split the season between second base (28 games) and first base (58 games), which is not a normal combination and implies negative things about his future up the middle. Statistically, he's been error-prone at both positions, with mediocre range factors. I don't know exactly where Paolini will fit on a roster, but his bat is very intriguing and he should be tracked for the future. Grade C+.

Shawn Payne, OF, San Francisco Giants
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 190 DOB: July 13, 1989

Somehow, this guy lasted until the 35th round in 2011. A Georgia Southern University product, Payne was a successful leadoff man in college due to his speed and patience, but scouts weren't wild about his other tools and worried that he struck out too much. That hasn't been an issue in pro ball; indeed, his K-rate is much better than it was in college. He draws walks, and while he isn't going to hit for much home run power, that's not his game. Payne is a remarkably good basestealer, swiping 53 in 56 attempts last year. His arm limits him to left field and he's not an especially good defender. Double-A will provide a stern test of his bat, but he's already exceeded expectations and was a real find that late in the draft. Grade C but I like him.

Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-1 WT: 185 DOB: April 21, 1992

I'm a believer. Drafted in the 11th round in 2010 from high school in Palo Alto, California, Pederson ripped up the Pioneer League in 2011 (wRC+ 148) then stayed hot in the California League in 2012 (wRC+ 137). Note that he skipped a level, jumping past Low-A Great Lakes in the Dodgers system. He didn't miss a beat, thriving against High-A pitching at age 20. His campaign ended on a down note with a listless .096/.161/.154 mark in 15 games in the Arizona Fall League, but nobody is holding that against him. Pederson has average raw tools, not standing out as hugely good in any one area, but not having any real weak points either. He runs pretty well, throws well enough to handle right field, has average raw power. He gets the most out of his physicality by simply knowing how to play baseball. His swing is technically sound, he has a decent batting eye, he can pull the ball or go the opposite way. His biggest weakness at this point is baserunning, but that should be correctable, and nobody doubts his work ethic. Overall, he looks like a very solid prospect to me. Pederson might not project as a star, but I think he can be a regular. Strong Grade B.

Francisco Peguero, OF, San Francisco Giants
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 190 DOB: June 1, 1988

I've been very patient with Francisco Peguero's grades, holding him steady at B- despite serious problems with his strike zone judgment. Those problems finally caught up with him last year, as Pacific Coast League pitchers were able to exploit his tendency to swing at anything this side of Wolf 359. Peguero is a very interesting player to watch. The tools are obvious, particularly his strong throwing arm. He's a terrific defensive outfielder, but the bat, well the bat is frustrating. Although physically strong, he hasn't tapped into his natural power yet and is more of a gap guy at this stage. He sabotages himself with the overaggressive approach, leaving his OBP entirely dependent on his batting average. That's tolerable if he's hitting .330, but not when he's hitting .270, and he's a lot more likely to do the latter than the former against major league pitching. Although I am usually suspicious of guys with this profile, there is enough residual hope for me to go with a Grade C+.