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Oh Yeah, That Guy!: Greg Peavey

You might not remember Greg Peavey, but he had an excellent week back in 2014.

Greg Peavey
Gordon Donovan

July 19 to July 25 (2014): 2 G (2 GS), 15.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 K

Born July 11, 1988 in Vancouver, Washington, Greg Peavey was making a name for himself in baseball at a young age, playing in the 2000 Little League World Series and the 2001 and 2002 Babe Ruth League World Series. As a teen, he attended Hudson’s Bay High School, where he stood out on the baseball diamond and the basketball court. Lettering in his freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years, Peavey helped lead the Hudson’s Bay Eagles to the state baseball tournament in 2006, and then helped lead the Eagles to the state basketball tournament in 2007. He was named 3A state baseball player of the year during his senior season and drafted by the New York Yankees shortly thereafter, selected in the 24th round, 754th overall. Rather than sign with the Yankees and accept what rumors at the time suggested was a significant signing bonus, Peavy opted to honor his commitment to Oregon State University.

In his first season there, he posted a 4.96 ERA in 49.0 innings, allowing 51 hits, walking 21, and striking out 35. That summer, he played for the Yarmouth–Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League, posting a 6.83 ERA in 29.0 innings. Returning to Oregon for his sophomore year, Peavey posted a 5.74 ERA in 62.2 innings, allowing 70 hits, walking 27, and striking out 42. The Houston Astros selected Peavey in the 32nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft, the 791st player selected overall, but he turned the opportunity to go pro early for a second time. He returned to the Cape that summer and posted a 2.75 ERA in 36.0 innings for the Yarmouth–Dennis Red Sox. He seemed to take the gains that he made back with him to Oregon, as he improved in virtually every single area in his junior year. In 99.0 innings, Peavey posted a 3.64 ERA, allowing 97 hits, walking 29, and striking out 72. In his final game as a Beaver, he pitched 6.1 innings and gave up two runs against Florida Atlantic University in the College World Series’ regionals, the only game that Oregon State would win in the tournament.

The Mets selected him 6th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, the 182nd player selected overall, but because of Oregon State’s College World Series run, in addition with Peavey’s own demands, negotiations between the two sides came down to the wire, with the right-hander signing a contract guaranteeing him a $200,000 signing bonus literally an hour-and-a-half before the signing deadline. As a result of the extremely late agreement between the two sides, Peavey did not suit up professionally in 2010. He kept himself in form by playing in the Cape Cod League for one final season, atypical to be sure, and posted a 1.92 ERA in 18.2 innings with the Harwich Mariners.

In 2011, he made his professional debut with the Savannah Sand Gnats, posting a 3.12 ERA in 78.0 innings, allowing 75 hits, walking 11, and striking out 69. He was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in late June and spent the reason of the season there, posting a 3.97 ERA in 59.0 innings, allowing 66 hits, walking 15, and striking out 39. Based on his performance, Amazin’ Avenue named Peavey the Mets’ 42nd top prospect.

The 23-year-old was promoted to the Binghamton Mets in 2012 and seemed overmatched in his first exposure to Double-A hitters. In 144.0 innings, the right-hander posted a 5.06 ERA, allowing 169 hits, 37 walking, and striking out 84. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League after the season ended and performed marginally well. Owing to his age and collegiate pedigree, the Mets had Peavey begin the season with the Las Vegas 51s. He spent the majority of the season there as a middle reliever, but was sent back down to Binghamton in late July to be stretched back out as a starter, ultimately making his very first start with the 51s on the final day of the season. All in all, he posted 5.74 ERA in 62.2 innings as a reliever with the 51s, allowing 67 hits, walking 28, and striking out 41, and a 3.00 ERA in 33.0 innings as a starter with the B-Mets, allowing 27 hits, walking 10, and striking out 24.

The right-hander split the 2014 season between Double-A and Triple-A, pitching as a starter with both the B-Mets and the 51s. The bulk of his innings came with Binghamton, where he was very successful; in 115.0 innings, he posted a 2.90 ERA, allowing 93 hits, walking 26, and striking out 99. His time in Las Vegas was decidedly less successful; in 28.2 innings, he posted an 11.62 ERA, allowing 49 hits, walking 17, and striking out 24. He was named Binghamton Pitcher of the Year and his Mets career ended on a relative high note, as the Minnesota Twins selected the 25-year-old in the minor league portion of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.

Peavey began the 2015 season with the Chattanooga Lookouts, Minnesota’s Double-A affiliate in the Southern League. In 73.1 innings, he posted a 4.66 ERA, allowing 79 hits, walking 14, and striking out 39. That June, he was promoted to the Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate in the International League. He only made seven starts with them, posting a 5.45 ERA, before being sent back down to Chattanooga, where he finished out the season posting a 5.30 ERA in 37.1 innings. That December, Peavey was released by the Twins. He has not played professionally since.

Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, Peavey had a simple, repeatable delivery. He generally commanded his pitches well and kept the ball in the strike zone, but Peavey may have been an example of a pitcher who suffered from pounding the strike zone.

His fastball sat in the high-80s-to-low-90s, roughly 88 to 92 MPH. He complemented it with a low-80s slider and low-80s changeup. At times, the slider flashed above-average, featuring two-plane break, but more than often, it lacked plane and was a flat, fringe-average pitch. The changeup was similar, occasionally flashing better but generally sitting fringe-average. Without bona fide strikeout pitches, the right-hander struggled to put batters away. His propensity to stay in the zone, coupled with his lack of swing-and-miss stuff led to Peavey being unable to put hitters away and hitters being able to tee off on him.

Maintaining his residence in the Pacific Northwest since being drafted, Peavey generally returned every off-season to help local athletes, serving as a coach at the Greg Peavey Pitching Academy, a baseball training academy that he founded, at Northwest Futures, a local baseball instruction and training academy founded by former minor leaguer and agent Nik Lubisich, and an unofficial coach back at Hudson’s Bay High School. Peavey recently finished his college education after a seven-year break, getting his bachelor’s degree in communications. The stars aligned for him, as a teaching and baseball coaching position happened to open up at Hudson’s Bay. He applied and was hired. “I do miss the competition,” he said. It was such a great experience. I was able to meet so many great people along the way… I’d be lying to say that I still don’t have the itch to compete every day. But I have no regrets about my baseball career, or the decision to step away.” Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Peavey was excited about his new coaching gig. “That’s a dream of mine, to build Bay’s baseball team into a strong, competitive program. We’ve got some great people here at Bay, and I think we can do it.”