A 23-year-old right-handed pitcher from Pleasanton, California, Peter Van Loon had a productive season in 2022, the first full season of his professional career.
Van Loon started his journey to the pros at Ohlone Community College. After two seasons at Ohlone, he would transfer to D1 powerhouse, UC Irvine.
In two seasons at Irvine, Van Loon carried a 7-3 record with a 3.94 ERA in 96 innings pitched. He gave up 90 total hits and 42 earned runs and struck out 120 batters to just 29 walks.
We were fortunately given the honor of sitting down with Van Loon to discuss how he went from a player in community college to a prospect rising up the ladder in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Van Loon was in his second year at UC Irvine when the 2020 season came to a halt due to COVID. But for him, in a time of uncertainty and confusion, it was a blessing in disguise.
“Sophomore year at Irvine got cut short. Actually, halfway through the season, I ended up tearing my lat,” said Van Loon.
The injury occurred prior to the 2020 season, and Van Loon made it through the fall and started off the season strong until COVID put everything at a stop.
“That actually kind of helped me in a way,” said Van Loon. “And as terrible as COVID was, it helped me in a way because it gave me a lot of time to fully rehabilitate my injury.”
The 2021 MLB Draft was loaded with talent, and the Orioles didn’t miss a beat. Drafting Colton Cowser fifth overall and Connor Norby shortly after, the 2021 draft started off hot for Baltimore.
Then, we were given what is now considered a major sleeper pick in the 16th round. Peter Van Loon, who was 22 at the time, got the call from the O’s.
“I had a few calls from some teams that morning, and I really had no idea what was going to happen,” said Van Loon. “Then the Orioles called around the 15th round. We worked something out, and they said, ‘All right, we are going to take you with our next pick.'”
The young righty spent the first few weeks in Florida in Rookie Ball, then on August 17, 2021, was called up to the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds. In Delmarva, Van Loon went 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in six games, 13 innings, and gave up 11 hits, five earned runs, while walking zero and striking out 16.
Van Loon played his entire high school and college career on the West Coast. So when he was drafted and flown to the East Coast, there was an adjustment period.
‘The first few days when I went down to Florida for spring training, I was totally jet lagged,” said Van Loon. “You get used to it after a while.”
In 2022, Van Loon spent the season with the Aberdeen IronBirds. In 24 games, he went 11-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 88.2 innings pitched and gave up 80 total hits and 32 earned runs, with 32 walks and 97 strikeouts.
“I had a lot of adjustments I had to make with my mechanics, and I’m still working on those,” said Van Loon.
As we currently enter the later part of the offseason, with pitchers and catchers reporting in less than 30 days, Van Loon has stayed active in the offseason. He currently works out in a gym in San Francisco and even worked out a deal with the owner to have a key to the place.
He also detailed some of the technology that he has been using, including a pulse mechanism where his throwing sessions are sent straight to his pitching coaches and athletic trainers to keep them in the loop during the offseason.
One thing that everyone loves to see is the praise that is given from player to player, teammate to teammate. Van Loon gave us really high praise on multiple prospects in the O’s farm system.
“I was roommates with Carlos Tavera,” said Van Loon. “That guy’s legit. He’s going to go off this season.”
Peter and Carlos both attended UC Irvine at the same time and were drafted in the same year. Before he was injured, Tavera went 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 16 starts and 57.1 innings pitched and had given up 43 total hits and 28 earned runs, while walking 34 and striking out 81.
Van Loon also talked highly on 25-year-old right-hander Kade Strowd.
“During that playoff run or late in the season, if there were guys on base, you would bring him in, and he would strike everyone out,” said Van Loon. “He’s like the kid in little league that is already grown before everyone and overpowers everyone.”
Strowd pitched in 13 games before an injury, where he went 2-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings pitched. He gave up 10 total hits and two earned runs, walking six batters and striking out 24.
Lastly, we have to thank one special person, Peter Van Loon’s father. Peter spoke highly of his father and how he was a mentor and one of his biggest supporters.
“People call him crazy for this, but he would be catching my bullpens until I was a junior in college,” said Van Loon. “He begs me to throw to him today. He puts on all the gear and stuff. He’s 61.”
PVL is one of the most underrated pitching prospects in the Orioles’ farm system. It’s going to be incredible watching him advance this upcoming season.
We thank Peter for sitting down with us and taking time to discuss his journey. We wish him nothing but the best during the 2023 season, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Make sure you follow Peter on Twitter – @PeterVanLoon99
What do you think of Peter Van Loon’s journey thus far? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Zack’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @Zackattack8211