Reggie Von Bartles
Prospect Press: Brad Peacock, Oakland Athletics
Sunday January 29th, 2012
From young minor league prospects to rookie big-league talent, Prospect Press will be providing an inside look at baseball's best talent for years to come. Today's Prospect Press focuses on Oakland Athletics prospect Brad Peacock.
The Oakland A's were very active in the 2011 off-season, trading away key players, and building a deep minor league system. Perhaps the biggest trade they made (besides Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey) was the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals in return for a group of prospects. One of the key prospects in the trade was 23-year-old Brad Peacock. Baseball America currently ranks him as the No. 2 overall prospect in the Oakland organization.
Peacock began the 2011 season with Double-A Harrisburg, before receiving a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Between the two minor league stops in 2011, he went 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). His 2011 minor league success earned him a big-league call up in September, where he made his major league debut on September 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching 1 1/3 inning of relief. The Florida native made his first big-league start on September 14 against the New York Mets and didn't disappoint, allowing just two hits over five innings, earning his first big-league win. Overall, Peacock would finish his brief big-league season with a 2-0 record and a 0.75 ERA.
Prior to the 2011 season, Peacock was slated more as a bullpen arm rather than a long-term pitcher in the starting rotation. He posted an 8-11 record with a 4.14 ERA, a 6.3 K/9 ratio, and 2.6 walks per nine innings (BB/9) in 2009 between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac. In 2010, he had a 6-11 record with a 4.50 ERA, a 9.4 K/9 ratio, and a 3.0 BB/9 ratio between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. While he saw his walks per nine innings increase slightly, his strikeout rate jumped to a batter per inning.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old features three pitches. His four-seam fastball sits between 92-94 mph, but can reach 97 mph at times. For his secondary pitches, he throws a 12-to-6 curveball and a low-80's changeup. His curveball is sharp, causing a lot of swings-and-misses, but he still needs to work on the command.
In order to have success at the big-league level, Peacock will need to ensure he can control his pitches, especially his curveball. Upon receiving promotions to different levels, he's struggled with walks, allowing 5.1 BB/9 after his promotion to Double-A Harrisburg in 2010 and allowing 4.5 BB/9 after his promotion to Triple-A Syracuse in 2011. However, he fixes his command issues with more innings pitched at the new level, so he would likely be just fine after a handful of big-league starts.
Overall, Peacock should have every chance to pitch in Oakland's starting rotation at the beginning of the 2012 season. The A's appear to be moving towards allowing younger prospects to play every day, as they work towards a new stadium or city.
From a fantasy perspective, Peacock is definitely a viable option in AL-only leagues heading into draft day. I'm hesitant to give him value in deep mixed leagues at this point, because no one knows what type of spring training performance he'll have. His strikeout totals should be right around the major league average (if not better) based on his minor league track record. He also has the added value of pitching in the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.
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