VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Catch a minor league game in Visalia and often times the good players are gone before you learn their name. So here's one to learn before that happens: Matt Peacock, a 24 year old from Mobile, Alabama.
"He's unique," said Rawhide pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru. "He has a turbo sinker which just means that he throws a fastball at 88 - 94 (MPH) and it comes right at the hitter, and it goes down and into a right or down and away to a lefty."
After just a handful of starts, Peacock has an ERA around 2.00, and he struck out nine batters in his last outing. But his baseball career was almost cut short. "I was like ok I guess I can throw the cleats away and retire the glove," Peacock said.
After surgery to remove a bone spur in his throwing arm, Peacock stepped away from the game, working at his uncle's sawmill. After one hot summer of intense work, he decided to give baseball one more shot.
"I was just like 'This is not what I want to do right now. I still have a year of eligibility, let's see if my arm works.' Literally, those were my words: 'Let's see if my arms still works."
His arm still worked, and after a stellar senior year at South Alabama, he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. his success since the injury has come from a change in approach. "All those guys are placed out there after 100 years of baseball like they're probably going to hit it to them," Peacock said. "So I stopped trying to strike everyone out. I was like 'I'm playing the odds here.' Hit it at somebody, and I can get out of here in ten pitches that'd be awesome."
"Carefree's not the right word. But he goes out there and just competes. He goes out there and goes 'This is what I do well, and if you hit it you hit it," Bajenaru said. " You're probably not going to hit it but yeah he just goes right at guys, and it's fun to watch."
Whether or not Peacock moves on up and up within the D-Backs organization remains to be seen. But right now, he's enjoying every minute of his second chance.
"Sometimes when we're stretching as a team or something I'm like 'This is my job. This is awesome. I'm out here playing a game.' It's pretty cool," he said.
Good Sports: Visalia Rawhide's Matt Peacock