Who are the Brewers getting in Shane Peterson?

On Tuesday the Milwaukee Brewers announced that they had claimed outfielder Shane Peterson off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Peterson was only a member of the Cubs for four days, as the club claimed him from the Oakland Athletics on Dec. 19. Peterson will be 27 by the time the 2015 season commences, and has logged just eight plate appearances in the major leagues, but the left-handed hitter should provide some value for the Brewers.

Here’s what Doug Melvin had to say about Peterson:

“We like his versatility. He has played some first base and some center field. Not many first basemen can play center field. It’s nice to get another left-handed bat, too.”

Peterson was acquired to fill depth in the Triple-A outfield, a position barren with the losses of Josh Prince, Kentrail Davis and Caleb Gindl this offseason. Peterson spent the entire 2014 season in Triple A and posted a .381 OBP, a .153 ISO and walked at a 10.6% clip. He also knocked out 11 home runs and stole 11 bases.

If Peterson makes the Brewers out of spring training, he will in all likelihood replace Logan Schafer on the bench. Peterson has considerably more pop than Schafer, and has always gotten on base at a high rate down in the minor leagues (.381 OBP). Schafer has had his time to prove he belongs on a major league club, and after 503 plate appearances and a 63 wRC+, it’s clear that the Brewers should go in a different direction.

Like almost everyone else on the Brewers, Peterson strikes out a lot. And his strikeout percentage will only increase when he faces major league pitching. Still, the Brewers made a nice pickup by adding Peterson. He brings speed, some power from the left side of the plate and has the knack for getting on base. If he hits well during spring training and earns a roster spot, I think he can contribute to the ball club.

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