Baseball Athletic Profile: Moving positions and turns in the batting order pushes the sophomore into undisputed leader of the offense.
Andy Peterson reminds you of the golden age of baseball, when players stole bases, dropped bunts and relied on guts, sweat and guile to score.
“He is a throwback player. He reminds me a lot of the days when I played. When guys weren’t six foot tall,” said Head Coach Don Sneddon. “He has some power. He can run, he has a good arm and he is a good athlete. He represents everything you’d want in today’s ball player.”
On the field, Peterson looks like an old-fashioned athlete. He wears his cap with a slight bend in the bill. His knee high pants draw attention to his bright red stirups over white socks. Black and red Nike Air Show Elite 2 cleats complete the look.
“I’ve always believed that if you look good, you play good,” Peterson said. “As a kid, I thought the baseball players who wore their pants up looked better and played harder. I always wanted to resemble that a little bit.”
As a freshman, Peterson hit leadoff and played second base for the Dons. This year Sneddon decided to switch Andy to shortstop and move him to third in the batting order.
Sneddon also moved last year’s shortstop, Trevor Magno, to second base, keeping the double play combo intact.
“Well it is still a work in progress, but Trevor is in his more natural position at second base. We are turning more double plays,” Sneddon said. “He [Peterson] is a work in progress but he is getting better every day.”
The move solidified the defense by putting the two athletes in better spots to succeed.
“We feel more at our primary positions,” Magno said. “That is where we’ve been playing our whole life so it gives us comfort in the infield.”
Along with the move from second base to shortstop, Peterson moved from batting first to third, and is now hitting more than .420.
“I actually like it. The first two in front of me are guys who get on base,” Peterson said. “Now, my job is to put the ball in play and drive them in.” Peterson’s athleticism is ideal for how Sneddon manages a lineup.
“People make too much out of this 1-2-3-4-5-6 hole hitter type thing,” Sneddon said. “It is how you blend in with the rest of the players.
He is one of those three slots to get on base and have someone drive him in. He does that very well,” Sneddon said.
Peterson’s commitment to the game and drive to improve have been critical to developing into a five-tool player: fielding, arm strength, base running, and the ability to hit for average and power.
“He is God on the baseball field. He is motivating and encouraging. I want to be just like him,” said sophomore center fi elder Dylan Jones. “He works harder than anybody. He is always the first one on the fi eld and the last one off . He wants it as bad if not more than anybody, and he deserves it.”
Peterson played quarterback at Kennedy High School, an experience that taught him the importance of leadership.
“He embraces his leadership role. He wants to do it,” said sophomore pitcher Garrett Wilson. “He is the kid that has his head on his shoulders better than most.”
Andy is also a guru for the freshman who may not grasp the nuances of the game at the collegiate level.
“I’m in the same exact position he was in last year, and he has mentored over me,” said freshman right fi elder Blake Walker. “He is there helping me out with my swing, and telling me what pitches to look for.
Throughout the games we are talking baseball. His knowledge of the game is there and I try to use that to my advantage.”
Andy is a mechanical engineering major who was named a Scholar Athlete in 2011 and in 2012.
“The math side of it is my strong part,” Peterson said. “It just comes naturally to me.”
Peterson’s influence to play baseball came from his father, Walter, who passed away in October 2010.
“Everything I do has always been for him,” Peterson said. “Baseball really helps because I know that it is what he’d want me to be doing.”
Peterson is a stickler for detail, favoring techniques that maximize his play, no matter how unconventional it may appear.
After breaking his regular glove, Peterson transitioned to an outfielder’s mitt — slightly larger than an infielder’s. He places two fingers in the pinky slot, one in the ring finger and one in the middle finger, leaving the index finger slot empty.
“My hands are a lot more relaxed. I don’t shove my hand all the way in. It kind of barely sticks out,” Peterson said. “I have a better feel for the ball and it is easier getting the ball out.”
In his free time, Andy likes to spend time with his mother, Debra, and his six-year-old male Chocolate Lab, Mugsy.
“He is a little pain in the butt,” Peterson said. “But I think I am the only one that really understands him.”
Division I baseball could be Peterson’s next destination, Sneddon said.
“He is a division one player and that’ll happen sometime here,” Sneddon said. “A lot of schools are interested, but no one has solidified their offer.”
Peterson is the prototypical recruit for Sneddon and the Dons. “He is what we want as a coach. He is a class act on and off the field,” Sneddon said. “He is a good athlete and a great sportsman.”