By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Delmarva Shorebirds (Class-A Low) first baseman Preston Palmeiro struggled in 2016 and is continuing to struggle at the professional level in 2017.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
I first took a look at Palmeiro, the Baltimore Orioles 2016 seventh round draft pick, during the off-season on the heels of a season at Aberdeen (Class-A Short) in which he slashed .258/ .301/ .320 with 18 RBI and seven extra base hits.
Through Tuesday’s games, Palmeiro is slashing .202/ .292/ .307 with 13 RBI and eight extra base hits. He does have two home runs this season compared to none last year. Palmeiro seems to be an all or nothing hitter as he has struck out 42 times in 127 plate appearances (33%).
The season has not been all doom and gloom for Palmeiro, however. During a six-game stretch from April 8th through the 14th he produced a six-game hitting streak that had him slashing .240/ .321/ .400 with 5 RBI and one home run. Since that streak the best he could produce was a three-game streak (May 8th through May 11th).
Palmeiro is not doing well against any pitcher as he is hitting .207 against right-handers and .185 against left-handers. Most telling to me is his .109/ .109/ .109 slash line when behind in the count. It would seem that he lacks the confidence in himself when falling behind in the count. I think he presses once the pitcher has the advantage over him as his .273/ .468/ .455 slash line when ahead in the count shows. Further evidence of his pressing is his .111 batting average with runners in scoring position and 2 outs. He is hitting .290 with runners in scoring position overall so he can produce; it’s in pressure situations where he struggles.
Despite not wanting to be known solely as Rafael Palmeiro’s son, he could simply be trying too hard to show he belongs in professional baseball on his own merits. He has the pedigree and I hope he can reboot and live up to his potential in 2017. You hate to see good kids and players struggle at any level but in a game where success 30% of the time immortalizes one reality can be cruel indeed.