By Wally Fish
There are a lot of reasons for any baseball fan, casual or die-hard, to love spring training. The biggest of those reasons being that opening day is only about a month away. One of my favorite things about spring training is watching, or in most cases reading, about the performances of prospects and non-roster invitees for the various organizations. Like any fan, occasionally I will stumble across an unfamiliar name and ask myself “who the heck is that?” I, however, typically do more than just ask who the heck is that, I have to dig around and learn what I can about a given player.
Thursday’s Twins vs. Reds box score was such a case for me. Enter the line in the box score:
I had no idea who Peterson was, so I clicked on his name but the MLB.com page spit back “there are no statistical data available for this player.” Aside from the awkward phrasing of that statement I immediately became irritated. Don’t give me a link to a player’s information if you aren’t going to provide said information. At least it provided me with a first name: Brock. My next stop was to visit baseball-reference.com, but for some reason their website didn’t want to load for me. I quickly abandoned the internet and picked up my 2009 Baseball Prospectus only to find that he’s not mentioned there.
At this point I was irritated by MLB.com, and concluded if he isn’t in Baseball Prospectus he probably isn’t much of a prospect. He must be some random guy they invited to camp or a really young player buried deep in their system that was given a good faith invite to his first major league camp. Determined to crack the Peterson mystery, I next turned to Baseball America’s 2009 Prospect Handbook, but yet again could not find any substantive info about him despite their player profiles going 30 prospects deep. The BA Prospect Handbook did at least list his name as third on the Twins depth chart at 1B in the minors. He was behind Chris Parmalee and Erik Lis, so I was slowly getting somewhere.
I had an inclination to head back to the internet, but decided to go to sleep instead. While at work today I had a brainstorm to look in my 2009 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, written by Seth Stohs. As soon as I got home I cracked it open and on page 46 I was happy to see #42 – Brock Peterson – 1B – (11/20/83) with a 12 line paragraph about him. Finally, some substantive information about the mystery man Brock Peterson! Since I am only about a quarter of the way through the handbook I hadn’t yet read about Mr. Peterson, but if I had done so I would not have experienced my quest for knowledge. By the way if you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend you visit SethSpeaks.net and arrange to purchase his handbook as it is full of wonderful Twins specific information.
For those of you who are dying to know the details, Brock Peterson is 25 years old, plays primarily 1B but also started playing LF this season. He was the 49th round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2002 (1,450th player taken overall) from W F West HS in Chehalis, WA, and spent all of 2007 and most of 2008 with the AA New Britain Rock Cats in the Eastern League. 2008 also gave him his 1st taste of AAA with the Rochester Red Wings in the International League. Seth Stohs ranks him as the Twins #42 prospect, but that is the only prospect list I could find him listed on. Most of the lists I checked go 30-40 players deep.
Knowing all of this made me appreciate even more that he got to hit a 2 out grand slam in the 8th inning of Thursday’s game. How cool is that? The fact that he has gotten to AAA from being drafted in the 49th round is remarkable in itself, and while he has posted some decent numbers in the minors it seems highly unlikely he will get the call up to play for the Twins. But this is the beauty of spring training. For one day in late February Brock Peterson got to hit a late game, 2-out grand slam while wearing a Twins uniform. If he does nothing else in his career, I will forever remember his home run, and that is one of the reasons I love baseball so much.