Brad Peacock's emergence and an Arizona Fall League update

Adam Kilgore
Copyright 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010; 2:41 PM

At 3:35 today East Coast time, Bryce Harper will make his third appearance in the Arizona Fall League. In his second game, Harper hit a pair of singles, making him 3 for 8 so far with two RBIs and a double. Today, he and the Scottsdale Scorpions will face Robert Carson, a left-handed Mets prospect who hasn't allowed a run in three innings. Harper, even as he plays twice a week, has of course been the focus of the Nationals' contingent out in Arizona. But he's far from the only one making an impression. Right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock has been a revelation, having allowed one run in seven innings while striking out a 12 batters, second-most in the league. (The leader, Scott Barnes, has two more strikeouts in 3 2/3 more innings.) Peacock was a starter this past season with Class A Potomac and AA Harrisburg, but the Nationals and Scottsdale/Harrisburg Manager Randy Knorr have been using Peacock as a one-inning reliever during the fall league, trying to take advantage of his power arm. The results so far have been eye-opening enough that Peacock may be able to contribute out of the Nationals' bullpen next season. Peacock has always been a high-strikeout pitcher - he whiffed 148 batters in 142 innings this year while posting a 4.50 ERA- but his stuff plays up even more out of the bullpen. In Arizona, Peacock has been sitting at 94 miles per hour with his fastball and hitting 95 with some regularity; he was more 93-94 during the season. His strikeout pitch, though, is his biting slider. Out of the bullpen, he's able to use his fastball and slider almost exclusively, leaving his changeup -- his third best pitch -- out most often. Last week, I saw Peacock pitch twice and didn't see one changeup. The Nationals have not decided for certain if they will make Peacock a reliever for good; they're using the fall league more as an experiment. Peacock is just 22 and was a 41st-round pick in 2006. But if his effectiveness as a reliever continues, he could find himself in the majors soon. A quick update on the other Nats out in Arizona: C Derek Norris: 6 for 21, 6 walks, 2 home runs 1 double, 1 triple 2B Stephen Lombardozzi: 7 for 31, 6 walks, 4 doubles (Scouts love the way he plays. If and when he makes the majors, bad sportswriters will line up to call him "scrappy." Won't hit many home runs but has good gap-to-gap power.) OF Michael Burgess: 9 for 29, 3 walks, 2 doubles, 1 triple (He's really impressed with his outfielder defense) SP Sammy Solis: 6.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 4 SO, 4 BB, 1.50 WHIP RP Adam Carr: 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 SO, 3 BB, 1.17 WHIP RP Cole Kimball: 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 5 SO, 1 BB, 0.80 WHIP (He's hit 98 mph with his fastball. Like Peacock, he could contend for a bullpen spot with the Nats, maybe not of spring training, but at some point during the season.)

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