Bryce Harper receives the overwhelming majority of attention among Nationals minor leagues, but another Nationals prospect is slowly gaining notoriety of his own. Brad Peacock will join Harper in the Futures Game on Sunday, and his name surfaced alongside Harper again today.
Baseball America, the go-to resource for prospects, ranked Peacock the 42nd-best prospect in the game in its midseason top 50. Peacock did not make the magazine’s preseason top 100, but that was before he went 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 98 2/3 innings. He has 23 walks and 129 strikeouts, the most of any pitcher on any minor league team.
“He’s really had a wonderful first half,” Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams said. “The biggest thing for him, he’s pitching with a lot of confidence. He’s really gotten himself where he can command that fastball to both sides of the plate. He’s going after hitters.”
The Nationals drafted Peacock, 23, in the 41st round of the 2006 draft. He throws his fastball between 90 and 96 miles per hour, typically sitting around 92-94, with “late life,” Williams said. Peacock pitched in the Arizona Fall League last season and impressed scouts while pitching one inning at a time.
The Nationals had always liked Peacock’s athleticism and raw stuff, but a chance in his delivery this year helped him take off. Peacock used to have a “rotational” delivery, Williams said, in which he would generate power by twisting his upper body, which gave his pitches a flat angle. This year, he has thrown with an over-the-top motion, creating a vicious downhill plane with his pitches.
The change has helped Peacock become a fringe prospect to someone scouts consider a possible third starter in a good rotation.
“He’s been a big surprise,” Williams said. “We always knew he had good stuff. It’s been putting together. He would do it for an inning or two, a game or two, and then kind of get away from it. He matured a lot. He thinks he can get anybody out, and he can get anybody out. Guys grow up and guys get confidence. I think you’re seeing what he can be.”