Peyton Battenfield, RHP, CLE

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I think Peyton Battenfield, RHP, CLE should get more attention. Imagine how I felt when I realized I hadn’t profiled him here.

Sigh, let’s remedy that, shall we?

Video courtesy of MiLB.com

  • Born: August 10, 1997
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’4″, 224-lbs
  • Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2019 June Amateur Draft from Oklahoma State University

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

The year he was drafted by the Astros, he put up a very solid year, especially his WHIP, setting a pattern for things to come.

Then traded to the Rays, he obliterates High-A batters before being pushed up to Double-A (and why not, he’s now 23 years old, and there was the lost 2020 year behind us). With Montgomery, he continues his dominance, with not quite as many strikeouts.

Then Cleveland trades for him, and he finishes the season with Akron and, again, doesn’t strike out as many batters (but we are now grading on a curve when a K/9 of 9.1 is described as “not as many”), but his WHIP continues to be a thing of beauty.

His control rapidly advanced this year. In 2019 he was only sub-average, but in 2021 he steps up big time and limits the walks.

You know what you call a Bowling Green Hot Rods pitcher who strikes out everyone and walks no one? Right, you call him a Montgomery Biscuit.

The only time batters manage to eke out a WHIP higher than 1.00 is for 18.2 glorious innings as a Double-A Montgomery Biscuit facing right-handed batters. For everyone else at any level and any handedness, the batters are rethinking their career choice.

You know who would be thrilled by a 1.02 WHIP in the majors? A major league manager, so let’s not quibble about an errant ball that got through the infield.

It’s like he had a quota of walks to give out this year, and once he reached his quota he simply had no further walks to give.

Still no 2021 data on Savant, but we see singles in 2019 to all fields, and doubles pulled. That’s fairly dominant.


Battenfield has a plus FB, an average Curve and Changeup, and a cutter. Here he is describing the cutter/slider (“slider, cutter…that pitch is kind of loosely defined. I call it a cutter.”) that he learned to develop after being drafted by the Astros:

The horizontal movement on [my cutter] is something like negative one-to-three, so it’s not getting a whole lot of horizontal. And I get like eight-to-10 vertical, so it’s kind of a hoppy cutter, a carry cutter. But it does have more depth than my fastball. Basically, it’s perceived movement. If my fastball is moving at 22 vertical and my cutter is at 10 vertical, to the hitters, it’s going to look like it has depth.

“I try to get it to spin like my four-seam. I want it to look like my four-seam out of the hand, so the hitters are… their brains are making those calculations on its way to the plate, thinking they’ve got to swing higher than what it’s actually going to be. Even though it’s carrying, it’s carrying less. If you’ve ever watched a video of Mariano Rivera throwing a cutter, he tries to get four-seam spin, but instead of straight backspin, it’s going to be inverted a little bit to the side.”

— Peyton Battenfield, talking with David Laurila of FanGraphs

How can you not love a pitcher who thinks about his pitches like that? He’s eager to learn, and he’s capable of learning. Poor batters.


The Scouts

Warnings

Well, the scouts are just now noticing him.

He’s 24 and yet to face Triple-A.

He only throws his FB in the low-to-mid 90s.

Conclusion

You know who else noticed him? Tampa Bay and Cleveland, two of the best organizations for developing pitchers. And they both took one look at Peyton Battenfield and said, Yes, please. So what are you waiting for?

Until you see batters forcing a WHIP considerably above 1.000, consider Battenfield a good pitching prospect. It hasn’t happened yet, folks.

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