The Mets may not be in first, but that doesn’t mean one of their minor league affiliates isn’t having success. The Savannah Sand Gnats, New York’s low-A ball affiliate, currently sport a 31-25 record and sit atop the standings in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League (SAL). Home to prospects Cory Vaughn and Aderlin Rodriguez, the Sand Gnats also boast the league’s best pitching staff with a 3.21 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, both of which lead the SAL (their 486 strikeouts are good for second). An important reason for their success is due to twenty-two year old Greg Peavey.
The 6’2, 185 pound right hander originally from Vancouver, WA was taken by the Mets in the sixth round of the 2010 draft out of Oregon State. Peavey was actually selected by the Yankees back in 2007 and then again by the Astros in 2009, but opted not to sign either time. In his first professional season, Peavey has impressed, garnering a 5-2 record with a 3.27 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, tallying 58 punchouts in 66 innings while only walking 11, making for a stellar K/BB of 5.27. His success doesn’t appear to be luck either: his FIP is actually lower than his ERA at 2.81, and his BABIP is .318, which is around average if not slightly above. Greg was kind enough to answer a few questions about his early success at Savannah his pitching style and life in the minors. We at Rising Apple wish him the best of luck as he advances through the farm system.
Rising Apple: Last year was your third time being drafted. Was it any less nerve wracking the third time around?
Greg Peavey: Draft day is always very nerve racking, especially the night before. I would say the third time around for me was less nerve racking than the others-I just feel like I did the best I could to prepare myself and whatever would happen, would happen.
RA: What would you say is your approach to pitching?
GP: Get ahead of hitters by attacking the strike zone and do not get beat by walking batters.
RA: What pitcher would you say you model yourself after (if any) and why?
GP: I watched Greg Maddux a lot growing up and always really enjoyed watching him carve up hitters. I would say I try to pitch similar to the way he did but obviously I have a long way to go before I can master it the way he did.
RA: What would you say is your best pitch? Which pitch or pitches wold you like to improve the most?
GP: I would say my best pitch is my fastball. As far as what I would like to improve. I would say everything always has room for improvement but I am focusing most on improving my change up
RA: The Oregon-Oregon St. football rivalry has been well documented. How does it stack up on the baseball side?
GP: The rivalry between Oregon and Oregon state is intense regardless of the sport. They take it very seriously over there in Oregon, so whenever we played the ducks we all made sure we were on our “A” game.
RA: What was your greatest collegiate baseball moment?
GP: My junior year during the NCAA selection show. Our whole team got together in the players lounge and watched the show on ESPN on pins and needles-when our name was called about 5 minutes into the show we were all very excited.
RA: Savannah leads the SAL in ERA and WHIP. Do the pitchers on the staff encourage each other and make each other want to be better?
GP: Yes-our pitching staff is full of a great bunch of guys, and everyone encourages each other. We are a tight knit group and build off each others success.
RA: One of your more impressive statistics is your 5.27 strikeout to walk ratio. In addition to striking out 58 batters in 66 innings, you’ve also only walked 11. To what do you attribute your success with your control?
GP: Getting ahead of hitters and putting myself in counts where I can be successful.
RA: Besides yourself, who is one prospect that Met fans should keep their eyes on who is currently playing for Savannah (I’m sure there are multiple)?
GP: The whole team is filled with talented ballplayers who all have something different to offer.
RA: How do you pass the time on long bus rides between cities?
GP: We play a lot of cards, watch a lot of movies, listen to music, and sleep.
RA: Do you have any unique pre-game rituals or superstitions?
GP: No, not really. I’m not very superstitious – I guess I would say I am just pretty laid back.
RA: How does the southeast compare to the northwest, where you grew up and went to college?
GP: It’s much hotter and much more humid here in the southeast.
RA: Who is your current favorite Met? All time favorite?
GP: Current: R.A Dickey because of all he has overcome in his career and what he has been able to accomplish is incredible. All time: Nolan Ryan because he is one the greatest pitchers of all time and a fierce competitor.