The 2012 World Series champion San Francisco Giants are looking pretty solid as they get ready to try and defend their title. One question remains on the very strong opening day 25-man roster. Who will be the fifth outfielder? Will it be Cole Gillespie or hot prospect Francisco Peguero? This comes down to a question that a lot of managers have to ask around Major League Baseball right now. Is it better to have the good young prospect on the bench at the major league level or have him playing every day at the minor league level?
The answer varies with each player. Some guys benefit more from exposure to the big leagues than they do from everyday at-bats and some guys require the daily playing time to continue to develop their skills. Gillespie has done the bench player thing before and faired pretty well. I think he can do a pretty good job in the bench role as the fifth outfielder and still be ready if he was needed to play every day.
Peguero has been on the list of top 100 MLB prospects in recent years and is a promising talent in the Giants organization. That led to him being called up at the end of last season. His at-bats were mainly of pinch-hit variety and he didn’t even bat .200. This spring he has shown what he has always shown in the minor leagues which is that he can hit a ton for average and some power.
To me, it becomes pretty clear that Peguero does much better with daily play than he does with bench play. If I were making the decision I would preserve Peguero’s daily at-bats and plan to bring him to a starting position in a year or two and give the bench spot to Gillespie. It makes the most sense for both players and likely for the present and future of the Giants ballclub.