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Prospect Retrospective: Jake Peavy

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Jake Peavy Delivers (AP)

Prospect Retrospective: Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy was drafted by the Padres in the 15th round in 1999, out of high school in Mobile, Alabama. Although scouts liked his long-term potential, most people thought he was going to go to college at Auburn. If considered signable, he would have probably been a fourth or fifth round pick. Anyhow, the Padres signed him, and he emerged as a prospect quickly by going 9-1, 1.17 with a 103/24 K/BB n his first 85 pro innings. Sure, it was rookie ball, but those are awesome numbers. I gave him a Grade C+ in the 2000 book, noting that his career was off to an excellent start. He threw just 88 MPH most of the time, but improved velocity would drive him up the prospect lists quickly.

Peavy's velocity did improve in 2000, up into the low 90s. He maintained his sharp command and control, and went 13-8, 2.90 with a 164/53 K/BB in 134 innings for Class A Fort Wayne. In the '01 book, I ranked him at Grade B+ and an "Honorable Mention" on the top prospects list.

Peavy split '01 between Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Mobile, combining for a 188/45 K/BB ratio. In 28 innings in Double-A, he fanned 44 men. I rated him at Grade A- and the number 14 prospect in the game.

Peavy began the next year at Mobile, going 4-5 but with a 2.80 ERA in 14 starts. He was promoted to the Majors at that point, going 6-7, 4.52 as a 21 year old. A decent season in '03 set him up for a breakthrough in '04.

For a 15th round pick, Peavy made rapid progress. His minor league track record is marked by strong ratios in all categories, K/IP, K/BB, and H/IP all excellent. He also gave up very few home runs, an underrated statistical marker for young pitchers. There was no deterioration when he reached Double-A, another good sign.

If he had gone to Auburn, Peavy would have re-entered the draft as a junior in 2002. Assuming that he pitched as well in college as he did in the pros, he would have been a certain first-round pick and likely a top ten choice.