Get to know up-and-coming right-hander Peyton Battenfield

March 8th, 2022
Kirk Nawrotzky/

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Guardians have yet another hurler who could be in the big league mix in the near future.

Right-hander Peyton Battenfield was selected by the Astros in the ninth round of the 2019 MLB Draft before he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2020. He landed in Cleveland’s system at the Trade Deadline last year in exchange for outfielder Jordan Luplow and right-hander DJ Johnson. Combined at three Minor League stops in 2021 -- the last at Cleveland’s Double-A club in Akron -- Battenfield pitched to a 2.53 ERA with 131 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 103 innings, making it easy for his club to imagine a path to the Majors.

The Guardians’ No. 17 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, sat down with to explain what type of pitcher his new organization has gotten: Is there a sense of having to prove yourself to a new organization? Or is there more comfort in knowing that they’ve already seen something in you to trade for you?

Battenfield: I would say the first time I got traded, I felt like I had to prove myself just because I had such a small sample size in pro ball. So it was one of those things like you don't want to look bad to them. They gave up a guy for you and so you want to perform to the best of your abilities. The second time, I had a decent sample size leading up to that trade. So I wasn't necessarily worried about performing. I mean, obviously I want to perform good, but I wasn't worried if I come here and throw it really bad, then they're just going to get rid of me. If someone asked you what kind of pitcher you are at your best, how would you describe yourself?

Battenfield: For me, I try to stay as calm as possible. I don’t like to show a whole lot of emotions on the mound. I just feel like, for me, when I do that, if you’re showing a ton of emotion, you get that big adrenaline rush and then you go back out for the next inning, then I’m on a low. So my stuff isn’t going to be as good. For me, it’s just staying kind of in the middle, staying calm, staying relaxed. I think that’s what helps me to perform at my best. You talked a little bit last year before you were traded to Cleveland about throwing a cutter rather than your slider. Is that still the case?

Battenfield: When I got over here, looking at some of the data, my cutter was getting hit harder than what I would have liked. So I kind of went away from the cutter and started throwing a slider. And then this offseason, I added the cutter back along with the slider and I'm just using it in different locations in the zone. I was just last year using it in the wrong spots, wrong counts. What other pitches do you throw, along with the cutter and slider?

Battenfield: I have a [four-seam] fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and cutter. What would you say is your best pitch?

Battenfield: Fastball. That's what my bread and butter is. I feel like I could throw that every single time and it's going to work for me almost every time. … Some days, the slider’s the good strikeout pitch. Most days, it’s my fastball. I throw it the majority of the time. And just being able to use it off of other pitches, my fastball can set up my other pitches just like my other pitches can set up my fastball for strikeouts. What was your biggest focus heading into this past offseason?

Battenfield: My main focus was my changeup -- just getting more total movement on it and to this point, I'm getting more movement on it. Now, I'm trying to take that movement and be able to throw it where I want to throw it in the zone. So many pitchers rave about Cleveland’s development team. Was it clear why they’re so good at their craft when you got here?

Battenfield: The Guardians know what they're talking about. But like with the Rays, they kept things a little more simple. I like that aspect of pitching: Keeping things simple and not overthinking. And then the Astros and the Guardians are a little bit more analytical and looking more into the numbers, which is good. I like having the simple plan and then if the simple plan is not working, I'll be like, well now I know what to do with this guy. I'm in a jam. This guy can't hit so-and-so pitch, so I'm going to go at him with that.

I have been fortunate to be in three of the top pitching programs, which has been fantastic because they all do things really similar, but they all have little things that kind of set them apart. And so I can kind of pick from each on things that I like and things that I don't like and just kind of basically kind of Frankenstein and put pieces together on the things that I like.