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March 25, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Q&A with Bryan Peterson

The Red Sox picked Bryan Peterson in the eleventh round of the 2008 Draft out of West Valley High School in Washington. He signed almost immediately after being drafted, and hit .277/.361/.391 in 38 games with the GCL Red Sox in 2008. Peterson now looks like a solid bet to break camp with the Low-A Greenville Drive in 2009. Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com recently had the opportunity to sit down with Peterson and talk some baseball.

Mike Andrews:
How did you get into baseball? How long have you been playing?
Bryan Peterson: My Dad got me into baseball when I was about six years old, so I've been playing for about thirteen years. I started out with coach-pitch - I never played T-Ball - my Dad just got me into facing live pitching right away. He's been coaching me throughout my whole life, up until I got into high school and summer ball.

Does your father have a background in baseball?
BP: He played in high school, but went on to play college football for Washington State as a receiver. He has also played softball competitively, and his team won a national championship in fast pitch softball. He was on the team with his brother, as well as former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien and his brothers. He knows what he's doing with coaching baseball.

I understand that you pitched some in high school. What kind of arsenal did you have? Do you still mess around with pitching at all?
BP: I did pitch in high school. I pitched during the school year, but I didn't pitch during the summer at all - I focused on hitting during the summer. I had a fastball, curveball, and changeup. I had a pretty good curveball, being a quarterback in football, it's a pretty similar rotation. I was the #2 starter. Our #1 last year, Andy Vennum, is over at Montana State playing baseball now. I had a lot of fun pitching, but I don't really mess around with that anymore, I just focus on the other aspects of the game now.

What positions did you play in the field?
BP: I played a little bit of first my freshman year, but from then on out I just played outfield - played center and right. Never really played left.

Can you talk about the differences between being recruited by colleges vs. being recruited by pro teams?
BP: The colleges, they sell you the school, but they don't really talk about the downside of it. They would talk about the bad side of the pros, overselling it, almost negative campaigning about the pro side of things. The pro guys just lay it out there - what's going to happen, what to expect from pro baseball. They said I could still go to school if I went pro, it would pretty much be up to me.

After you committed to Washington State, did you get scouted by a lot of other pro teams besides the Red Sox?
BP: I was scouted by almost every team, mostly in-home visits. One team I remember not coming in to scout me was the Reds - that was the only team that didn't contact me, either by mail or coming to my games. The scouting actually started up during the summer of my junior year, and continued throughout the fall and winter. There were home visits, and some teams also came to my basketball and football games.

Did you get any attention from scouts for football and basketball?
BP: In basketball, I got one recruiting letter from Weber State, I thought that was pretty cool. I knew I wasn't going to play basketball, but it was nice to get some attention. In football, I had been the starting varsity quarterback since my sophomore year, so I got a little bit more attention. I got recruited by some Pac-10 schools, primarily as a play quarterback, but in some cases as an athlete. I also heard from some Mountain West schools and some WAC schools, as well as some smaller schools close by like Eastern Washington.

Tell us about your draft day experience.
BP: On the first day, I was thinking I could slide up into the fifth round - some teams had said they might take me as high as the fourth or the fifth. So I was on the computer all day checking the draft board, but unfortunately I didn't go on day one. We got a lot of phone calls that night saying, "If we pick you here, and give you X, would you sign?" I told a couple of the teams yes - there were a few teams that contacted me, so we had some ideas on what teams it might be. My Dad generally talked with the scouts and handled the business part of things. I talked to them a little bit, but I never had an official agent or adviser. The next morning, I had walk-through for my graduation. I just couldn't keep my mind on the rehearsal, I was just wondering which of the teams that called me the night before were going to draft me, and maybe nervous that none of them would. I was driving home from rehearsal when my Dad called me on the cell phone and told me I was drafted by the Red Sox in the eleventh round. I just remember getting a big smile on my face and thinking, wow, my dreams just came true. I was just really excited when I found out that it was the Red Sox.

How do you feel you did in the Gulf Coast League in 2008?
BP: I thought it was good to get out there and just experience the pro life, playing baseball every day, seeing advanced pitching. At first I was a little worried on how I was going to adjust to the fastballs, as not many pitchers throw that fast in high school. But when you see it every day, you get used to it. Everyone was great - the coaches, the players everyone was really nice. Which actually goes against what some of the college coaches will tell you. Some of those coaches told me that the international players will stab you in the back, do anything to take your spot. I didn't see it that way - everyone was very cool, I really enjoyed it. Playing in he GCL, a lot of people say it's not going to be fun, it's a drag, but I thought it was fun. It is what it is.

How does a day in the GCL differ from the a day playing in the Fall Instructional League?
BP: It's pretty much the same, getting up early, getting to the Complex, eating with the team. During the GCL, they let you play, don't really give you instructions. During Fall Instrux, there was a lot more teaching. [MA: During games?] Not necessarily, here's how it breaks down - we eat, then we lift, that's pretty much the same thing in both the GCL and in Instrux. After that we have early work hitting, in the cages with guys hitting off the tee and soft toss. During the GCL, we just go through our routine without much instruction. During Fall Instrux, we go in the cage and there will be a lot more staff members there to instruct us and tell us what we need to work on. Definitely a lot more teaching during Fall Instrux.

You got to participate in the Dominican Instructional League this off-season with a select few other 2008 draftees. What was that like?
BP: It was all of the international guys and six of us American guys - Ryan Westmoreland also came down for part of it, making seven of us. It was good to hang out with the international guys, get to know them better, and see what the lifestyle is like in the Dominican for those guys. It made us appreciate where they're coming from. The culture down there is just totally different from the Unites States. There's a lot of poverty, but there's some nice areas. It really just made us appreciate both what we have and where they're coming from.

After the Fall Instructional League and the Dominican Instructional League, what kind of training regimen did you have for the rest of the winter?
BP: I followed the Red Sox workout plan, and also did some work on the side with a trainer named Drew Buchkowski. He had worked with a lot of other major leaguers, and other pro athletes. I think Jeff Kent, James Loney, and Jeremy Affeldt are a few players that he has worked with. I got a lot of workouts in with him this off-season, and I feel good.

Has the Sox Front Office talked to you about the parts of your game they'd like to see you develop more?
BP: I had my player plan meeting the first week I was here. On the hitting side, they said they'd like me to work on understanding and executing the Red Sox hitting plan, which includes being selectively aggressive, knowing your pitch and what you can do with it, looking for that pitch until you have two strikes, not being afraid to walk, getting a pitch you can drive, expanding your zone, competing, staying within yourself, not trying to do too much. Defensively, Tom Goodwin's been talking about taking good routes to balls. Ground balls into the outfield - that's where a lot of error can happen, so you've got to make sure to keep your head down and go get to the ball.

What are your own personal goals for this year and beyond?
BP: I'm competing for a spot in Greenville, I would definitely like to make the Greenville team and be an everyday player, get my at bats in, and keep getting better every day. I want to try to come to the park focused every day, ready to learn new things, don't have any days where I just show up and go through the motions. Stay consistent throughout the year - I really want to work on that. Just getting a routine down, so even when I'm in a slump, I can still stick with my routine and that can carry me through the season.

Give us a scouting report of yourself.
BP: I have okay speed, a strong arm in the outfield, good instincts in the field, I make good contact at the plate. I can probably work on making hard contact more consistently. Smart base runner. My power is alright now, I just need to work on making more consistent contact, and I think I have fairly high power potential.

What one teammate has impressed you the most since you've been drafted, and why?
BP: I'd have to say Will Middlebrooks. He's big, he's fast, he smokes the ball in BP. He's got a great arm, he's great in the field. He has just really impressed me a lot, he has all five tools. On top of that, he's also a great teammate. It was a shame he got hurt recently, because I just love to watch him play.

Last question - I understand that you enjoy making short films in your spare time, and you have your own YouTube channel. Tell us about that.
BP: In the off-season, there's a lot of free time, so I was watching YouTube videos one night, and I thought, wow, that looks fun, I should try that. I just did it on my own one day, and I showed my brother - I was a little embarrassed at first, but he thought it was really cool and wanted to help out. So we just started making videos - we make some music videos, some different sketch comedy videos, a wide variety of stuff, but mostly comedy. Our channel is called Snappy Productions.