February 19, 2019

Brad Peacock, Selig Man with Upside Heart

May 11, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Brad Peacock was taken in the 41st round of the 2006 draft as a “draft and follow” pick by the Washington Nationals. For Washington the 2006 draft was a disaster. Conducted when the team was still under management by Bud Selig and MLB, Inc., it might serve as a tutorial on all of the things not to do in building a team from the amateur draft.

There are only 50 rounds in the draft so Peacock was not exactly a name on the lips of every scout in 2006. Tim Lincecum and Evan Longoria were two of the top players to come out of that draft. Peacock may yet join those who are just now arriving, first round talent like Hank Conger, the Angels rookie catcher who debuted in April.

Washington has only a handful of players from that 2006 draft still remaining in the organization. None of them has had even a cup of coffee in the majors. Yet as we enter May 2011, Brad Peacock is emerging as the only player not named Bryce Harper to generate any buzz for the Nationals minor league affiliates.

Peacock sits atop many of the Eastern League pitching boards this season.  He has a record of 4-1 in five starts and an ERA of 2.29. But the real eye-popping numbers are the strikeout to walk ratio. In 35 innings he has struck out 42 and walked only six. Command is as important as velocity for minor league pitchers and Peacock seems to have both now.

Baseball America (BA) actually rated Peacock ahead of Bryce Harper in its weekly “Prospect Hot Sheet,” for last week’s performance when he shutout Bowie for seven plus innings.  He followed it up with a disappointing outing against Reading, but his numbers are still noteworthy.

BA points to Peacock’s fastball that has gained in velocity since he signed out of high school. “Projectability” is the watch word for high school picks like Peacock and he has filled out well from the kid who pitched in the high-80’s when he was drafted.  He now tops out in the mid-90’s with a plus curve as well. The only question is whether he has enough of a repertoire to survive in the majors as a starter.  BA rates him as having middle of the rotation starter stuff now largely on the basis of his command of his two plus offerings.

There is a long way from Harrisburg to Washington, but Peacock has covered a lot more ground than almost any other 2006 pick for the Nationals.

One other player is showing similar promise.  Cole Kimball is the closer in waiting for the Nationals, racking up saves in Syracuse which in baseball terms is actually closer to Washington than Harrisburg. Kimball is downright scary. He throws a 100 mph fastball, but has spotty command that strikes fear in the heart of batters.

I saw Kimball pitch against the Houston Astros in Kissimee, Florida during Spring Training. He hit a batter and buzzed another. Even Kimball himself seemed shaken and a little worried about what his big heater might do. Writing from a safe distance it appears he has gained at least a modicum of control as the season has progressed. In 14 innings he has only walked eight and has yet to be scored upon with five saves. Kimball will need to improve on those numbers, but he is not far removed from pitching in the majors.

So as Bryce Harper burns his way through the Nationals organizational ladder, there are others working their way as well. Eighteen-year olds with once-in-a-lifetime power and skill warrant the attention, but it is encouraging to the dedicated fan to see those who have to work a little harder at the game succeeding as well.

Kimball and Peacock may not think of themselves as Selig men, drafted when the owners were putting only peanuts into an organization that they were really hoping would just go away. They are proof that even the worst intentions can sometimes have an upside when players with heart are concerned.

Comments

3 Responses to “Brad Peacock, Selig Man with Upside Heart”
  1. ken voytek says:

    That is a cool article. I have peacocks roaming my weekend place acres that I find so fascinating. I sometimes think I am in a Tarzan movie. I watched the peacocks a few weeks ago attack my wife’s car and they now come over to see me every weekend. I think that is an omen. I look forward to a day in Frederick next week to take in the young prospects that the O’s and Nats have playing at high-A.

  2. BaseballinDC says:

    Ted,

    On a different subject, do you know when Potomac plans to release your Griffith bio? It had been May 3rd, but it’s still not available on Amazon.

  3. It should be out by the end of the month or the first week of June. I sent the final proofs back to McFarland a little more than a week ago. They have done a good job with the book.

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