Going into 2022 spring training, Todd Peterson has a good idea of who he is and what he needs to do to succeed.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound righthander said he might have pushed too hard last spring when he appeared in seven games in big league camp as a 23-year-old non-roster invitee. He allowed only one run in five innings, but by mid May he needed a break because of shoulder fatigue.
After missing the next six weeks, Peterson came back strong. He posted a 4.15 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 12 walks in 30.1 innings at High-A Wilmington. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League, recording a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings.
“His fastball was up to around 94-96 (mph), occasionally touching 97, and he worked both sides of the plate with his fastball and his slider,” Nationals farm director De Jon Watson said. “He was really attacking hitters late in the year and in the fall league.”
Peterson, a 2019 seventh-rounder from Louisiana State, credits much of his improvement to his 87-90 mph slider. He is focusing on throwing his best version of it each time so it tunnels better with his fastball.
Though Peterson started three games last year, his most likely future role is in the bullpen. He said he might work on a splitter and a curveball this offseason, but the most important part of his routine might come off the field.
“I learned a whole lot going into this year about how to prepare,” Peterson said. “That involves diet, sleep routine, hydrating, not missing meals, learning how to eat on the road and cooking some when I’m at home.”
Even a 2020 with no official innings helped Peterson improve as a professional.
“I stayed on top of all my bullpens and all my workouts,” Peterson said. “I was one of those guys waiting by the phone to see if I could go to the alternate training site. That never happened, but I think that work paid off when I went to instructs in 2020.”
—The Nationals claimed middle infielder Lucius Fox on waivers from the Orioles. The 24-year-old from the Bahamas reached Triple-A with the Rays and the Royals. He signed with the Giants for $6 million in 2015.
— Lefthander Dustin Saenz was among several new prospects who impressed Nationals officials in instructional league. A 2021 fourth-rounder out of Texas A&M, Saenz throws a 93-95 mph fastball, a curveball with good shape and a changeup with sink and run.
“I really like his overall stuff and mix,” Watson said.