Breaking down the top 7 hitting prospects: #7 Bryan Petersen

By Editorial Staff

We’ve now reached the end of the list.  Bringing up the rear is a player who’s been getting a good amount of dap but who’s future doesn’t really look all too bright.

Bryan Petersen was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 draft.  A college draft pick, he’s moved through the system very quickly and spent last year in AA.  And while he did see a massive drop in strike outs, he also saw a massive drop in power.  After the jump, we’ll take a deeper look into the numbers.

The chance really is quite drastic.  After striking out a total of 19.3% of the time in 2008, Petersen was able to drop that to a great rate of 13.4%.  But after posting a combined park adjusted ISO of .173 in ’08, he put up a mere .123 ISO last season.  On top of which, almost all of his power in 2008 came from Greensboro.  His power numbers in Jupiter and Carolina were near identical to what he did last year, but those are also small sample sizes.  And as I’ve gone over before with Scott Cousins and Chris Coghlan, Petersen’s .ISO was also enhanced by a great deal of triples in ’09.  Neutralizing the triples to doubles puts his .ISO at just .104, showing that his raw power was that of a slap hitter.  Labeled a future 20-20 player after his ’08 campaign, home runs weren’t the only thing lost.  He’d finish with almost as many CS as SB, stealing 13 bases in 25 attempts.

Things aren’t completely pessimistic in terms of his power though.  Almost the entire outage happened at the beginning of the year, where he went over 70 days without a home run.  From the game he broke the drought to the end of the season, he’d hit 6 HRs in 206 PA (18 HR/150) and put up a .167 ISO.  These numbers are a lot closer to what he was doing the previous season.  He then went to the AFL, where he hit .379/.412/.600 with with 3 HRs in 101 PA.  That .221 ISO is very, very impressive though it’s also a very, very small sample size.

The fact remains though that he did see a massive drop in power last year and he’ll have to prove he still has it this coming season.  And throughout his career he has shown poor gap power, so his power numbers likely hinge on his ability to hit home runs.  I think chances are he’ll be closer to his 2008 power numbers than his 2009 power numbers, but we’ll have to wait and see.  For the projection below, I see a slight improvement to the .130 range, but that’s still below average.  A strong season in NOLA could raise his stock a good amount.

Defensively, he’s slightly above average in the corner.  CHONE has him at +2 per 150 games and I think that’s a fair assessment.  Base running wise, with his ability to steal bases seemingly sapped, he probably won’t be outstanding there but he should still be a tick above average.  Altogether we get:

Like Cousins, this is good for a bench bat but nothing outstanding.  In order to start pushing average starter range, he’d have to break into the .150 ISO (Which is average power).  As I’ve already gone over, there’s a decent chance he can break into that range.  The problem is, he does not have much upside to his bat.  A current conservative ceiling would put him at around a .355 wOBA/3.0 WAR.  Though like wise, with his much improved strike out rates, his floor is pretty good.  He’d likely be hard pressed to get under a .315 wOBA/0.8 WAR.

For next year, CHONE has him at a .323 wOBA.  I’ve seen a good deal of Fish fans talk about him making the team, but he should spend next year in AAA and try to get his power stroke back.