Peyton on Eugene hitting prospects

Former Eugene Emeralds hitting coach Eric Peyton talks about the challenge of switch-hitting for Jason Hagerty, the improvement of Emmanuel Quiles, the talent of Edinson Rincon, the future for Matt Vern, the athleticism of Everett Williams, as we discuses the hitters in the San Diego Padres short-season affiliate.

You have Jason Hagerty – a switch-hitter. Is it tough to keep Jason in line when he might have two different swings?

Eric Peyton: It was fun for me. It was a challenge because he's not getting enough work from either side, so I was trying to talk to him about that. He was a catcher, and he did a lot of bullpens and all that. He's a very busy man, but he does hit from both sides.

He has two different stances. One's a lot more centered on the right side than the left-hand side, but he's got pop on both sides. I think what he needs to learn is what kind of hitter is he? They pitched him pretty tough. He hung in there, but he's lost a little confidence here for a while. Even (manager Greg) Riddoch was telling me he was a little patient from the left-hand side, with pitch selection.

You want to work on one side and switch to the other side. That's a lot of work, a switch-hitter, surprisingly much. Once again, he's a good ball player, athletic for his size. He can run and play first also. He's got a good arm. He needs to work on his accuracy, but he come to play everyday. Like I said, I like him a lot. I thought he had some talent.

What did you see in the progression of Emmanuel Quiles from last year to this year since you had him a season ago as well?

Eric Peyton: The most important thing I saw was he got stronger, and he was driving the ball better. I thought he was starting to understand the whole game. It kind of goes up and down a little too much for me, but he's still so young. I can't really put a finger on other than I know he improved. He will get better. It's going to take time, but he does have the tools.

Last year, I couldn't tell, this year I've seen him be stronger, especially with his arm and all that behind the plate. He's a ballplayer, and the more he works hard and learns, he can go far.

Everyone seems to have the same feeling regarding Edinson Rincon. Is this kid a potential superstar?

Eric Peyton: For me, I can never put that word on him because I haven't been around it. I know that this kid has a lot of talent.

What I like is he's learning to be a student of the game, even his English. He's gotten 10 times better with his English. He comes to play everyday.

They pitch to him tough. I know he learned a lot. But as far as ‘superstar', I know he's going to be very good. I think he'll be a big leaguer, and the sky's the limit, it really is the limit for his age. I was so happy that he was able to get to the .300 mark. He got two hits his last two at-bats to hit .300, and that just goes to show you. He hung in there the whole year. I was proud of him.

Matt Vern is a guy that seemed to take to the approach of hitting to keep his hands inside the ball. It may not have translated but is this a guy that can make the transition?

Eric Peyton: That's a great question because I look at the Darnell's and the Dykstra's, bigger guys that are strong with rotational swings. I think they can. I just don't know what it's going to take. He understands it, but as far as getting there, it seems like he's the kind of guy that takes time.

Darnell's come out of it a little bit from last year, a lot better. It seems like the bigger guys have a lot of rotation in their swing. It's just going to take time to get into that linear and lateral movement. So, once again, another great kid. We talked about it more, started watching other hitters a lot more. So he sees it, and that was one of the most important things I wanted to him to know. So he sees it, but, big upper body. Big, strong upper body that just rotates and then I told him that continued exposure to it would help him. For guys to see it, for them having a lot more experience, it probably helped him a lot more as far as him trying to clean up his hands a little bit.

You only had Everett Williams for six games. What did you see during that time?

Eric Peyton: I saw an athletic high school kid with very quick hands. Just with six games, I was impressed. I think he's a leadoff hitter. He was mature for what I saw, already had clean mechanics. He just needed to see more pitching, but he handled himself well. He battled, there were older guys who were pitching him tough. As far as the skill level and the talent, they were way above average. Honestly, the quickest hands on our team once he came up; very fast hands.

Just a strong young man, and he listens. I was just trying to tell him little things that he might have to go through, and he made the adjustments pretty fast. He stayed up the middle a few times more when they were throwing tough sliders and cutters. He was patient at the plate, and he seemed to get a good pitch to a hit and I was impressed with that.

The last guy is Ty Wright. He is immensely strong but he is a kid that I am not sure if I ever have seen him hit with two feet on the ground.

Eric Peyton: A project and you are absolutely right. Sometimes, he looks so bad you don't know what he's doing out there.

But I'll give him credit, he was trying to make the changes. Every once in a while he would make the simple swing, and he would hit the ball and he has some pop in his bat, but it is just going to take time. He's out there with coaches there, and it's too bad he's not in the Instructional League.

As far as his strength – he's athletic. They said he was raw and that was true. Very raw, but I like him. I like what he had to offer, and I was hoping he would just keep working with what he had. I think he will. Once again, a little bit of the rotational, big strong guy with rotational swing and it's going to take some time for him to make the adjustments. But like I said, I feel he will if he just keeps working on it.

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

Join on Twitter at

MadFriars Top Stories