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Opening Day Countdown: Shane Peterson #35

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Thirty-five days until opening day. Tis a paltry span of time! Let us talk about one of my favorite underdogs: Shane Peterson.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers plucked Shane Peterson off waivers from the Cubs prior to the 2015, shortly after they plucked him off waivers from the Athletics. On paper he seemed like the perfect A's player. In the minors he had an 11.6 BB% and a .377 OBP. Both numbers are well above average. He played on with the Brewers major league team for part of 2015 and actually did reasonably well in a reserve role: 226 PA, 259/324/353. For a bench player/pinch hitter that's a pretty solid slash line. Unfortunately for him, the Brewers designated him for assignment this winter and though he remains with the club, the likelihood he returns to the majors with this club fee slim.

Most fringey players would see their chances increase on a rebuilding club, but the opposite appears to be true with Peterson and the Brewers. He strikes me as an excellent fourth outfielder to have since he can play all three outfield spots and will likely get on base more than the average bench player. But rebuilding clubs have no real need for fourth outfielders. He recently turned 28 which means he's probably reached his physical peak. While he shouldn't start falling off a cliff anytime soon, he's not likely to get any better than he ever was. So the Brewers can't give him playing time and hope he could develop into an average regular instead of a good fourth outfielder.

Peterson has also been passed on the depth chart by similar player Ramon Flores. Flores offers just as much defensively as Peterson. And he offers similar on base potential: 10.6 BB%, .363 OBP in minors. But he might be able to add more overall offense. He's better at making contact. And while the minor league numbers don't show it, he might have the ability to hit for a bit more power. He should also offer more speed. Flores will also just be turning 24 next month. With him there's still potential he could work his way into a starting role--even if it's as a low end regular.

Michael Reed presents another obstacle to overcome for Shane Peterson. And there might be others ahead of him as well now. It's a real shame. I was intrigued by his potential with the Brewers grabbed him. I still am. I think he could be a great fourth outfielder for any team. But the way things have worked out, I'm not sure he'll ever get that chance with the Brewers. But I've been plenty wrong before. And I'd be happy enough if I was wrong here. But even if he doesn't get his chance with Milwaukee, I'm hopeful he'll get it somewhere else.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs