Contrasting Gary Brown and Francisco Peguero

Gary Brown and Francisco Peguero are both 24-year old Fresno Grizzlies outfielders and San Francisco Giants top-10 prospects.

That’s about where their similarities end.

One is from Southern California, the other is from the Dominican Republic. One has four years of pro ball under his belt, the other has eight. One steals bags, the other does not.

But the most striking dissimilarity is their recent offensive play, and the one struggling might be the most surprising.

The center fielder Brown — San Francisco’s No. 2 ranked prospect according to MLB.com — hasn’t had the greatest success in the minors in his four-year trek. Aside from his award-winning 2011 season with Class-A Advanced San Jose (.336/.407/.519, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 53 SB), in which he won California League Rookie of the Year honors, Brown has been very mediocre, including a dreadful start to the 2013 season — his first with Triple-A Fresno.

In 25 games, Brown has just 18 hits, eight RBIs and one home run. His .180 batting average is the lowest qualifying average on a Fresno Grizzlies team that has five starters batting over .300.

Brown’s 2012 campaign with Class-AA Richmond was nearly a bust until a hot summer. He batted .279 in a pitcher-friendly Eastern League with 7 HR and 42 RBI, but only thanks to a .348 June and a .354 July. Without those hot months, Brown would’ve dropped to .222.

Mark Gormus / Richmond Times-Dispatch

Brown was at one point considered a high-ceiling, talented defensive center fielder with elite speed and a bit of offensive upside. While the stellar defensive is still there, scouts wonder why he is neither hitting in a batting average-boosting Pacific Coast League, nor stealing any bases. After 53 with San Jose and 33 with Richmond, Brown has just one stolen base in 24 games.

Then there’s Peguero; now in his eighth year with the organization, and second with Fresno. Playing at practically every minor league level, the Giants’ No. 6-ranked prospect has batted over .270 in all of his previous seven years, including three times over .300.

The year before Brown’s breakout season in San Jose, Peguero had an (almost) equally great year. Let’s compare their seasons with San Jose:

AVG/OBP: Brown: .336/.407, Peguero: .329/.358

Home runs: Brown: 14, Peguero: 10

RBIs: Brown: 80, Peguero: 77

Doubles/Triples: Brown: 34/13, Peguero: 19/16

Brown did play nine more games in 2011 for San Jose than Peguero did for them in 2010, so other than the higher on-base and significantly higher amount of doubles, the two had very similar seasons at the Class-A Advanced level.

Peguero batted .309 in 285 at-bats in the Eastern League, including five home runs, 12 doubles, six triples and 37 RBIs. In almost twice as many chances, Brown hit just two more home runs, five more RBIs and three less triples. Brown did, however, hit 20 more doubles than Peguero and have a higher on-base percentage (.347 to .318).

2013 has been good thus far to the Dominican. Aside from missing 10 days on the DL with a bruise on his non-throwing shoulder, Peguero has been red hot for the Grizzlies. With 27 hits in 60 at-bats, Peguero’s .443 batting average (though it doesn’t yet qualify) leads an already hot-hitting Fresno team.

Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Peguero’s DL stint isn’t slowing him down, either. Since returning on April 25, Peguero is 12-for-23 with two home runs, four doubles and six RBis.

Brown is 2-for-15 with a double, one RBI and four strikeouts in that same span.

The one consistent plus for Brown (aside from base stealing) is his on-base percentage. In any given season when both players’ batting averages are similar, Brown’s OBP is always higher. That’s due in part to the fact that Brown draws more walks than Peguero. Brown drew 86 walks from 2011-2012 in two full seasons (1097 at-bats), while Peguero has drawn just 96 in his entire career (2,473 at-bats).

It’s still April, but if these trends cease to reverse, Peguero could be much more relevant in September than Brown.

And maybe one final difference is the key: one doesn’t have a ring, the other does.

It just might be the other that ends up a significant Giant.

Follow on Twitter: @giant_potential

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