By Jason Wojciechowski on April 17, 2013 at 8:09 AM
I got my first look at Shane Peterson last night, not being a person who lives near Sacramento or who subscribes to MiLB.tv, and here is my thought: it's too early for me to say anything.
That was helpful, right?
I just mean this: you don't go raking the way he's done in the high minors (400 plate appearances at Triple-A, .344/.442/.540 line) without some talent, and it's not like he did this while being way too old (he's 25 this year) or after coming out of nowhere (he was a second round pick back in 2008, a pick behind Tyson Ross, and two picks behind Robbie Ross), so there's presumably some there there. On the other hand, he'd been at Double-A since July 2009 and spent two months at Triple-A in 2011 before finally having two great months at the level in 2012, and last year was the first year he's ever hit for the kind of power and average that can get a corner outfielder slash first baseman to the majors, regardless of his pretty walk rate. So maybe there's not much there there at all.
But here's what I saw against Brad Peacock in his first at-bat:
(From Brooks Baseball of course.)
Pitches 1, 3, and 4 were offspeed, and pitches 1 and 4 were curves. How surprised would you be if the book on a youngish minor-league slugger was "throw him slow, bendy stuff and let him get himself out" and how surprised would you be if it worked?
Of course, it's just one at-bat and you can't scout one at-bat. Or at least I can't. A scout might be able to, but that's neither here nor there because I don't know any scouts and even if I did I don't know any scouts who care about Shane Peterson. But in that one at-bat, Peterson looked anxious, looked like he was pressing to just ... just hit something, dammit. And of course that means he didn't. It means he chased slow, bendy stuff and got himself out.
But to return to the previous structure, would you be surprised if he was anxious? It was his first major-league at-bat, and not all humans can be as placid as Chris Carter. If Peterson gets the time (which he won't even if he does stay in the majors over Michael Taylor upon the return of Brandon Moss), he'll probably calm down and start to hit like the hitter he is. Which, don't mistake me: I'm not saying what kind of hitter he is. I don't have any idea if at the big-league level he's an adequate corner/first baseman or if he's Michael Taylor/Daric Barton. What I do think is that he won't look quite so much like a rookie going forward.
Which makes sense and is likely overly obvious, since he won't be as much of a rookie going forward. But just on the off chance that anybody is worked up about Peterson, it's worthwhile to, like he should have, take a breath and slow things down.