Last November, in the afterglow of a surprising postseason appearance, the Orioles were pretty sure they’d have to say goodbye to director of pitching development Rick Peterson after only one season. John Farrell, the new Red Sox manager, was rumored to covet Peterson as his pitching coach. The Sox could really use a pitching coach like Peterson, a cerebral, kind of new-agey philosopher of pitching.
But Farrell picked White Sox bullpen coach Juan Nieves instead.
Peterson has been a big league pitching coach before. You’ve seen him: curly mullet hanging out of his hat, hand on the pitcher’s shoulder. He worked magic in Oakland. He had predictable weird drama in five seasons with the Mets, slowly getting better, then getting canned along with Willie Randolph. He spent a year with Milwaukee in 2009 but wasn’t retained.
Now the O’s get another year of Peterson’s wisdom. Check out this brief from the Baltimore Sun’s Edwardo Encina on Peterson’s trick with the O’s minor league pitchers today.
Peterson rigged an orange string across the bottom of the strike zone at today’s minor league workout.Â â€śThatâ€™s the .193 line,â€ť Peterson told the young pitchers. Peterson has figured that pitches thrown under that string are put in play for an average about about .193.Â â€śAnd thatâ€™s the major league data,” he said. “What do you think it is in the minor leagues? I donâ€™t have the numbers, but I would think its .125 or .150.â€ť
Last year, several of Baltimore’s pitchers matured under Peterson’s tutelage. I don’t know why he’s not Buck Showalter’s pitching coach. Maybe Rick Adair is easier to get along with than Peterson. There’s no telling why Peterson’s vision doesn’t make him the most sought-after pitching coach in the game. But I’m not sorry if it means the O’s get to keep him.