After today's 8-4 loss, the Marlins made a pretty big decision regarding some of their young players. Chris Coghlan and Michael Dunn were sent to Triple-A and Dan Jennings and Bryan Petersen got called up. Bryan Petersen won't be a starter from day one, but he could see a fair amount of innings in the majors this year. Let's look at Petersen's career, and what some popular projection systems see Petersen doing in 2012.
Bryan Petersen is a 6'0'' 190 lb. left-handed hitting outfielder that has bounced back between Triple-A and the majors the last couple years. He's only twenty-six, but unfortunately he's not that much different than he was when was 24. The Marlins will use Petersen off of the bench, but in the case that any of the Marlins outfielders get injured, he should be the next option. Petersen will never be a premier major league outfielder, but he could be a good 4th outfielder for a long time to come.
In 2010, Petersen's first year in the majors, he was two for twenty-five. That's not exactly the way you want your major league career to get started, but at least he got some MLB experience. In sixty-seven Triple-A games in 2011, Petersen was nearly unstoppable. He had thirty-six walks compared to only forty-one strikeouts, and he had a .428 wOBA. A lot of Petersen's success was thanks to a .386 BABIP, but he showed progress nonetheless. Petersen's success led to a short call up in May, then an extended look with the Marlins July 2nd through the rest of the season.
Petersen's 2011 season was about what we expected from him. He hit .265 with a 108 wRC+. I don't think he proved he can be an everyday MLB outfielder, but he did prove that he is ready for the majors. In eighty-two at-bats at Triple-A New Orleans, Petersen hit .338 with a .415 OBP. He didn't really surprise anyone by performing well in Triple-A, but now he'll have to prove he can hit in the majors.
In terms of defense, Peterson is thought to be capable of playing a slightly below-average center field. If he is playing corner outfield, he should be a better than average defensive outfielder. The Marlins plan on using him at all three outfield positions, so it will be interesting to see how he fares at different outfield positions.
Bryan Petersen's projections from these three systems are very similar. The only major discrepancy in these three is playing time. I tend to agree with the Marcel projections, which see Petersen getting 281 at-bats. Actually, the Marcel projections seem like the most accurate predictions in my opinion. He'll probably steal a couple of more bases, though, and he probably won't have such a high slugging percentage.
Marcel projections by Tom Tango: 281 AB's .260/.341/.391 8 SB, 5 HR
ZiPs projections by Baseball Think Factory ( Original not ROS): 483 AB's 259/.334/.379 12 SB, 9 HR
PECOTA projections by Baseball Prospectus: 268 AB's .251/.324/.3635 5 SB, 4 HR
This was a nice move by the Marlins. Petersen isn't going to be the best outfielder on the Marlins, but he will provide more value than Chris Coghlan. Hopefully, Coghlan can find his old form by getting regular playing time in Triple-A. If Petersen can get on base and be a reliable pinch-hitter who will give the Marlins quality at-bats, he should have no problem staying in Miami for a long time.