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2021 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews, #32: Matt Peacock

Matt Peacock was working in a sawmill just 5 years ago, and now has major league innings under his belt.

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • Rating: 3.75
  • Age: 27
  • 2021 Stats: 5-7, 86.1 IP, 107 H, 55 R, 47 ER, 13 HR, 28 BB, 50 SO, 4.90 ERA/87 ERA+
  • 2021 Earnings: Pre-arbitration.
  • 2022 Status: 40-man roster, ended season in Reno.

A 23rd rounder of the 2017 MLB Draft, Matt Peacock was drafted after a good season his Junior year, with an ERA of 2.96 in 52 relief innings. For a while, there Matt had reason to believe he didn’t have a future in baseball at all. With a 6.10 ERA as a Freshman, and a 22.09 ERA as a Sophomore, the results were dreadful. He underwent surgery to fix the bone spurs in his arm, but an offseason which saw him install industrial sawmill equipment, and just like that his arm was better. The good season followed, and it was enough to garner attention from the D-backs and others, even as high as the 3rd round, but he fell, and the D-backs pounced.

He reported immediately and continued his good results, first in low-A for Hillsboro. He was promoted the next season, pitching well for mid-A with a 3.59 ERA, and struggled a bit in High-A, but for a guy who wasn’t even pitching in college two years ago, it was quite the transformation.

Despite the struggles, if you can even call a 4.66 ERA struggling, he got another call-up to AA, where he returned to good performances as a starter. He finished the season 8-4 with an ERA under 3. The D-backs had seen enough to add him to the 40-man roster. 2020 happened and as a member of the taxi squad in 2021, he saw his first action April 6th, being thrown into a tie game in the 11th inning. He was good in his debut, 3 innings and allowed 2 runs, both unearned due to the extra-inning rules, as the D-backs held on for a 10-8 win in the 13th, largely due to Peacock holding down the fort.

He was excellent through April, appearing in 5 games and throwing 8.1 IP with an ERA of 1.08. But May came, and he allowed 7 runs in only a third of an inning to balloon his ERA to over 8. He stuck around the roster and with Zac Gallen jumping on the 10-day DL, Peacock stepped in for the next 7 starts. The results weren’t great, an ERA of 4.96 and only 1 game over 6 innings, but as a pitcher not exactly ready to start every 5 days, it was enough for a competent team to get by. Unfortunately, this team was not that.

He finished out the year in the bullpen, mainly as the guy they needed for multiple innings, 13 of the 20 games he pitched in were those of the multiple inning variety. But as the season went into September, he was optioned to Reno, essentially ending his season.

2022 outlook

For most of the pitchers on the D-backs 40-man roster, they are the precise definitions as ‘JAG - Just A Guy’. Peacock isn’t going to be a dominant force on the mound, but the flexibility that he showed in 2021 does have value. Every bullpen needs a guy that can just chug through innings and with a GB% of 59.2%, average appearance length from the bullpen of 2+ innings, and an ERA of 4.64 out of the bullpen, Peacock can most assuredly be the long relief option out of the bullpen. The improvement will come with better control, a walk rate of 2.92 isn’t great when you don’t strike anyone out, and a consistent spot on the roster can get the most out of Matt Peacock in 2022. The best thing he has going for him is he’s cheap, still making the league minimum for a team that doesn’t expect to compete for the next couple of years. Matt was a great story in a terrible season in 2021, let’s hope that continues for the D-backs next season and beyond.