Complaining that the Anteaters do not have a legitimate star athlete in the professional ranks? Your complaints may be availed come next major league baseball season.
Bryan Petersen, who played outfield for UC Irvine on the historic College World Series run, is on a torrid hitting streak for the Florida Marlins Class A team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. In his last 10 games, Petersen had six home runs and nine runs batted in with a .324 average. He hit five of the six home runs on consecutive days. The hot streak had brought up Petersen’s season average to a solid .293. He is second in Class A with 18 home runs in 270 at bats and has an impressive slugging percentage of .536. What does this all mean? Petersen is smashing the ball against solid competition and his future looks very bright, but Petersen was not always exhibiting this kind of power.
In his junior year at UCI in 2007, Petersen hit an impressive .323 during the season and five home runs. Yes, only five. He was more of a threat on the base paths with 27 stolen bases on the year than for sending the ball over the fence. Despite his lack of power, Petersen did project as the best big league talent on the stacked Anteater squad that season. His stats were not as gaudy as fellow former Anteaters and minor leaguers Cody Cipriano or Taylor Holliday, but his solid 6′ 200 pound physique and tools (fancy baseball term for a player with the sound fundamentals of the game and athleticism) were attractive to big league scouts, and the Florida Marlins made him the highest Anteater drafted that year in the fourth round.
After returning from finishing in the semi-finals in Omaha, Petersen was sent off to the New York-Penn League for Class-A short season ball. The minor league system is composed of different levels of play. The players are placed on their major league teams affiliate in the level they fit in. Triple AAA is the highest level before the big leagues followed by Double AA and Class A. There are a myriad of lower levels after Class A, but if you are in the top three you have the best shot at making the major leagues. First year players generally play in Class A short season, the exceptional players jump immediately to Double AA.
Petersen was neither great nor awful in short season. He batted .250 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 216 at bats. However, after joining the Grasshoppers, Petersen has proved the scouts right.
He is hitting almost equally as well against left-handed pitchers (.247, six home runs, 73 AB) as he is against righties (.299, 12 home runs, 197 AB), a good sign for minor league hitters.
While he is dominating Class A hitters, he is also performing exceptionally defensively in the outfield. In one play this season against Delmarva, Petersen made a catch near the warning track in centerfield and lasered a perfect ball in the air to the third baseman to tag a runner out a third, a play that rarely happens because of its difficulty and rarity.
“I looked at the third base coach. He just had his hands on his head. You’re not supposed to make that play,” said Grasshopper manager Edwin Rodriguez to News-Record.com.
Petersen didn’t hit well immediately after 2007. Petersen began 2008 in low A ball, which is the lower level of Class A; yes there are sub-levels. Petersen’s timing was off as he hit an abysmal .128 with only two homers in 39 AB. That is when lady luck stepped in. Following an injury to an outfielder in the high A ball affiliate (Grasshoppers), Petersen was called up to play. Interestingly enough, he responded well to the better competition and did so with a positive attitude. He has a quote on his blog, which can be read at peteythemarlin.blogspot.com, that reads,
“There are two types of baseball players—one who is humble, and one who is about to be humbled.”
As the stats show, Petersen has been humbling minor league pitching thus far. He even got called up to play one game in Double AA to fill in for an injured player, again. He wasted no time in showing his skills as he went four for four with four RBI’s, a performance that has to have most certainly caught the eye of upper management. Keep in mind, many players jump to the majors from Double AA, and if Petersen continues his success in Double AA next season, which I predict he will, he has a shot to be called up to the big leagues as early as next year.
Like his walk song at UCI, Petersen will bring “Sexy Back” to UCI.
Filed Under: Sports