Jace Peterson's first full season in the big leagues was about as up-and-down as it could possibly be. He shocked all observers by coming out of the gates flying (relatively speaking, here) and hitting at a .262/.341/.369 clip with a .312 wOBA and 97 wRC+ over the first three months of the season. This production was enough for people to wonder if Peterson could be the possible second baseman of the future for the Braves.
However, his production took a nose dive once the Braves got into the middle of summer, and Peterson eventually finished the season with a paltry line of .239/.314/.335 with a .287 wOBA and 80 wRC+. He still finished with a fWAR of 1.1, but it was a disappointing finish to what was a pretty promising campaign for Peterson.
Now, we may have a reason for Peterson's production tailing off as the season wore on -- he was playing hurt. At today's FanFest, Peterson was one of many players who spoke with fans and media, and he revealed to the AJC's David O'Brien that he actually played through most of the season with an injured right thumb.
#Braves 2B Jace Peterson played much of season w/ 80-percent tear of tendon in right thumb. Wore cast 1 1/2 months in offseason.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) January 30, 2016
Yeah, I'd say that it's kind of difficult to play the game of baseball with an injured thumb, and that's what Jace Peterson was doing for most of the second half of the season. This news was actually broken in the interview that DOB did with Freddie Freeman, but this is the first time that we've heard of what was specifically ailing the Braves' second baseman.
Also, Peterson didn't want to sit out, so he apparently played through the injury without telling anybody or asking out at any point.
Peterson played with pain much of second half, just not the type of guy to say so or make excuses. https://t.co/d4LA1AaVVd— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) January 23, 2016
It's admirable that he's willing to play through pain and gut it out in order to help the team, but sometimes it can be more beneficial to rest up and heal up. Fortunately, he appears to have done just that by getting his thumb taken care of over the offseason, but maybe he would've been better off getting this taken care of during last season so that he could have eventually been able to play in a healthy state last season. But alas, the past is the past and hopefully things will be different going forward.
The obvious hope here is that now that Jace Peterson isn't playing with a torn tendon in his thumb, maybe we'll see the version of Peterson that we got to start the 2015 season. That'd be a bonus, and if he's really good then maybe he could give Braves brass something to think about as far as the future is concerned. For now, I figure that everybody's just happy that he'll be going into the 2016 season with a clean slate, health-wise.