SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz is one of the best power hitters in the game. But he didn't earn that distinction until after he turned 28. Born July 1, 1980, his breakout season came in 2009, when Cruz hit 33 home runs.
Now the Rangers have outfielder Carlos Peguero in camp on a Minor League contract. Peguero, who turned 28 on Feb. 22, was once a big-time power prospect for the Mariners who has yet to establish himself in the big leagues. Adrian Beltre was with the Mariners when Peguero was still in the lower Minor League levels and remembers him.
"From what I heard, he was a big power guy with a good arm and hit a bunch of home runs in the Minors," Beltre said. "It seemed like he had the talent to be in the Major Leagues. But it's not easy to come up and get acclimated right away. Sometimes it takes time to adjust. That might be the case here."
Peguero has played in parts of the last four seasons with the Mariners and Royals. In 69 games and 214 at-bats, he has a .196 average with nine home runs, 89 strikeouts and a .379 slugging percentage.
Peguero has played in 900 Minor League games, averaging 29 home runs, 104 RBIs and a staggering 195 strikeouts for every 150 games. He led the Dominican Winter League with eight home runs in 31 games this offseason and a .428 on-base percentage as he drew 30 walks. But he also struck out 51 times.
"I was trying to be [short with his swing], try to be patient at the plate and try to get my pitch," Peguero said. "Everything worked out."
Peguero is not the only Mariners power prodigy who did not live up to expectations. Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero also fall into that category and it may have something to do with playing in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
"I'm not worried about the stadium," Peguero said. "If you have power, you don't worry about that."
Peguero is in the left field mix. He is not one of the leading candidates, but he may have the most sheer power of any of them. Only Joey Gallo may have as much power as Peguero in camp. The Rangers once put Nelson Cruz on waivers and no team claimed him. They are forever relieved.
"Somebody told me about Nelson," Peguero said. "Nothing is impossible."
• Manager Jeff Banister on what he wants to see from his players in the Cactus League: "Intent and conviction with their approach and their confidence. With intent comes preparation and if you have preparation, you have focus and understand game awareness."
• Banister on second baseman Rougned Odor: "He shows up early every day and he has a routine he goes through that he is pretty strict with. That's above average for 21 years old."
• The Rangers are hoping Derek Holland can pitch in a Cactus League game on Sunday. The club has a scheduled split-squad doubleheader, hosting the Indians and playing at the Cubs. Ross Ohlendorf is also expected to pitch that day.