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Brock Peterson's Journey from T-Ball to Triple-A07/30/2010 10:39 AM ET
By Danielle Sauers
Brock Peterson has established himself as one of the best power hitters for the Red Wings during the past two seasons. After a slow start in 2009, he gained momentum following the All-Star Break and ended the season as the only Red Wings player to be named an International League Batter of the Week. Brock continued his hot hitting when baseball resumed in Rochester on Opening Day 2010, and has remained one of the top offensive players on the roster.
For Brock, a good work ethic and family-mentality approach to the game are the key reasons as to why he's become so successful. Heading into his second full season as a Red Wing, he says, "I was able to just relax; [I] knew there was no pressure to do anything that [I wasn't] capable of doing."
One of the reasons why Brock has found a greater level of comfort within the Minnesota organization is because he has been able to play with the same people throughout his time with the Twins. "I've made a lot of good friendships throughout the years and [I've been] fortunate enough to play with the same group of guys," he says. "There are about ten of us that have played together for about five years now, and we all seem to get along really well." Growing up in Chehalis, Washington, a small town of approximately 7,000 residents, he had the same type of experience: "I'm one of the guys that always grew up playing for my local teams [with] all of my friends. We never traveled out and went to bigger teams in the summer, [so] it's just a kind of a family mentality with me."
One of those friends is Kyle Aselton, a pitcher who was with the Twins through 2009. He was selected in the 11th round of the First-Year Player draft in 2004, two years after Brock, who says of their friendship: "It started with his dad playing with my dad; my dad was the catcher and his dad was the pitcher in high school and Babe Ruth baseball, and I actually went to daycare with Kyle when I was a little kid and we played together...His dad was one of my first coaches in Little League, and we played together all through high school and summer ball, up until two years ago." Kyle and Brock still keep in touch and catch up when they're back home in Washington.
The Twins took notice of Brock's success last season, and at the end of spring training this year he was awarded the opportunity to suit up for the opening of Target Field. "Getting asked to go up to Minnesota for those two games was a pretty big deal for me; that was the closest I've been to the big leagues. It was just really fun to get up there and see the new stadium and see how nice it was, and see how...they do their stuff," he says. During those two games on April 2nd and 3rd the Twins faced the Cardinals, and Brock had two RBI with one hit and one sacrifice fly. Throughout the entirety of spring training he played in 25 games for the Twins, hitting .256 with an on-base percentage of .298 and a slugging percentage of .442. He had two doubles, two home runs, and six RBI.
Last season Brock found success at the Triple-A level during his first full season with the Wings, hitting .345 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 77 games after June 1st. He was named the International League Batter of the Week for the last week of the season, August 31st to September 7th, after hitting .484 with two home runs and eight RBI.
Any doubts he may have had about fitting in within the organization were surely assuaged after such a successful end to the 2009 season. In regards to whether he has always been the power-hitting type, Brock says, "Growing up I wasn't one of the better players on my team...I really wasn't one of the better players until I was probably 15 or 16 years old." Once he entered high school, however, things changed. "I grew eight or nine inches after eighth grade going into high school and that kind of helped, and [I] gained a bunch of weight and got a lot bigger, so that's when things really started to take off," he says.
Brock also played football and basketball for the W.F. West High Bearcats in Chehalis, but he seems to have always known he'd end up playing baseball. "I started probably when I was five years old playing T-ball, and I remember telling my mom when I was a little kid that I was [going to] be a professional baseball player because I thought it looked cool and I saw it on TV, and I liked playing," he says.
His five-year-old dreams took a detour in high school, as Brock says that he became more focused on football as a wide receiver for the Bearcats: "Football was probably going to be my sport...and I had more football scholarship offers than baseball, but by the time my senior year rolled around I knew that baseball was going to be my only opportunity to progress to the professional level and have a chance to make a career out of it, so I chose baseball for those reasons right there." Had baseball not worked out, he says, "I would have gone back and played college football, but...I plan on playing baseball for a lot longer."
But baseball did work out for Brock, and he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 49th round of the 2002 First-Year Player draft (1,450th overall). He found himself playing third base for the Elizabethon Twins the next season. During that first pro season in 2003, he led the league in runs scored and was fourth in home runs. He was second on the team in batting average, walks, and slugging percentage. He switched from third base to first base after his rookie season, saying that the position was more suited for his abilities.
The next year, in what he feels was his worst season, Brock was named a Midwest League All-Star while playing for the Swing of the Quad Cities. "That was a lot of fun," he says, "I actually, it's kind of funny, it's the only year I made the All-Star team and I feel like that was my worst season. I just got off to a good start that year and they do the All-Star balloting early and I made the team...but the All-Star game was a lot of fun and I'd like to make one again." Whether or not it truly was his worst season is debatable, as he led the team in runs scored, hits, and RBI, and was second in doubles and walks.
His breakout season came in 2006 with the Ft. Myers Miracle, where he collected a plethora of honors. Brock was named the Florida State League Player of the Week and the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week for the week of August 6th-12th, and was also the Twins' Player of the Month for August. During that month he hit .349 with 18 runs scored, eight doubles, seven home runs, and 25 RBI. At the end of the season he was second on the team and ninth in the FSL and Twins organization in batting, and led the team and tied for the league and organization in home runs with 21. He also led the team in RBI and was fourth within the Twins organization.
Brock got his first taste of Triple-A ball when he was promoted to the Red Wings from the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats on August 9, 2008. He played in 11 games for the Wings to finish out the season, with a four-RBI game on August 12th versus Syracuse.
Few players drafted in the 49th round make it to the Triple-A level, and in regards to any frustrations or worries of being drafted in that round Brock says, "At the time, the circumstances and the situation that happened [are] why I went so late, and I really didn't mind it. The Twins have never treated me any differently than they treated anybody else, so I [feel] like I've always had a fair shot and [have] been given a fair chance."
He picked up his torrid hitting where he left off at the start of the 2010 season and was leading the team in home runs up until July 22nd. As of that date, he was in second, with 14, and was hitting .251 with 18 doubles, three triples, 48 runs batted in, and 38 walks. He was third on the team in slugging percentage and second in RBI.
Like most minor league players, Brock counts making it to the big leagues as a future goal. He says, "I'd love to play my whole career with the Twins; I'd love to get to the big leagues...However I can get there is the route that I'm [going to] take."
Click here to view Brock's player page.
Off the Field with Brock: Car racing, pro wrestling, and weird superstitions
RedWingsBaseball.com: What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
RWB: What's your favorite kind of music?
RWB: Do you have a favorite TV show?
RWB: Do you like figure skating?
RWB: What's your favorite movie?
RWB: What would you say are your favorite and least favorite things about Rochester as a city?
RWB: Have you had a garbage plate yet?
RWB: From Nick Tahou's?
RWB: You use wrestling music as your walk-up music, can you explain that a little bit?
RWB: Who was your favorite wrestler as a kid?
RWB: What were your favorite sports teams as a kid?
RWB: Is there a specific reason as to why you wear #30?
RWB: Do you have any pre-game superstitions?
RWB: Is there anything else you want the fans to know about you?
About the author: Danielle Sauers is a Red Wings media relations/website assistant and senior at SUNY Geneseo, where she is majoring in English. Aside from being an avid baseball fan, she is also interested in sports photography. More of her shots from this season can be viewed here on Flickr or in the Pics of the Day galleries.