Giants talent makes mark in Futures Game
Peguero, Wheeler enjoy successful appearances Sunday
ANAHEIM -- Both of the Giants' prospects who participated in Sunday's XM All-Star Futures Game distinguished themselves in their brief exposure.Right-hander Zack Wheeler, who missed most of this season with a cracked fingernail, contributed a scoreless fourth inning to the United States' 9-1 victory over the World squad. Outfielder Francisco Peguero, assigned to be the World's designated hitter, singled in two at-bats. Wheeler, who's 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA for the Giants' low-Class A Augusta affiliate, looked comfortable despite making only his second appearance since he went on the disabled list on May 23 after injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand. He needed just 10 pitches -- nine fastballs and one changeup -- to complete his inning. Wheeler yielded Peguero's one-out double but escaped by retiring Wilkin Ramirez and Wilin Rosario on fly balls. "I'm just trying to throw strikes and let the batters get themselves out," Wheeler said. Wheeler, the Giants' No. 1 selection (sixth overall) in last June's First-Year Player Draft, tuned up for the Futures Game by pitching one inning Thursday against Kannapolis in his first outing since being sidelined. Wheeler yielded two hits and a run, but struck out the side. To avoid reinjuring his nail, which was lifting off his finger, Wheeler files it neatly and applies a hardening agent to it. The 20-year-old also has been avoiding touching the baseball's seams when he throws a pitch. Neither this inconvenience nor his inactivity has affected him much; his fastball traveled in the mid-90-mph range Sunday, just as it did before he hurt himself. Wheeler's Futures Game experience continued the education he has received in his first professional season. He attributed his increased savvy to former Major Leaguer Steve Kline, Augusta's pitching coach.
"He has helped me a lot with the little stuff," Wheeler said. "He tells me what he did to be successful in the Majors."Peguero, 22, is hitting .289 with four home runs and 44 RBIs for high-Class A San Jose, along with 29 stolen bases in 41 tries. His batting average has dropped from last year, when he batted a combined .353 for short-season Salem-Keizer and Augusta. Nevertheless, Peguero's profile remains high within the Giants organization.
"He's a five-tool player," said Triple-A Manager Steve Decker.Leading off the third inning, Peguero showed off one of those tools by lining a first-pitch changeup to right field off Baltimore left-hander Zach Britton. Peguero didn't need to apologize for breaking his bat on his swing, though he explained that he wasn't expecting an offspeed pitch.
"I was looking for a fastball," said Peguero, who grounded out in his other at-bat.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.