DJ Peterson reacts after being drafted to the Mariners Thursday. (Video framegrab/MLB Network)
By Miles Liatos Sports Radio KJR
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding DJ Peterson, even though some of that buzz might be perpetuated by Peterson himself. The New Mexico third-baseman was drafted with the 12th overall pick in the MLB Amateur draft yesterday.
Peterson did not lack confidence in declaring his expectations on the Mitch show today.
“I want to be up (at the major-league level) in about 12 months,” Peterson said. “I know (Catcher) Mike Zunino is knocking on the front door, and I want to be up as fast as him if not quicker.”
Peterson was top-five in batting average (.408), home runs (18), runs batted in (72) slugging percentage (.807) and on-base percentage (.520) in 55 Division I games this season. He stands 6’1” and 205 pounds.
Larry Stone also joined the show today and had a different perspective about when the 21-year old would reach the majors. He said if Peterson plays well, he could be in the high minors by next year. Then, performance will dictate whether Peterson could make it to the majors in 2015 or ’16.
Like any prospect, Peterson will have to hone his game before he reaches the major leagues. Some have said the high altitude in New Mexico inflated his numbers. Peterson refuted those claims, however, taking a shot at his SEC counterparts.
“I would love to see an SEC guy come over and do what I did at New Mexico,” Peterson said. “If people want to say the altitude inflated my numbers or whatever, come hit at my park where the gaps are 405 (feet) to left center and right center. I’m pretty sure we’ve got the biggest park in the nation.”
Peterson should be able to contribute well as a hitter in the major-leagues, but he’s also a great player to have in an organization. New Mexico head baseball coach Ray Birmingham said as much as he joined the show today as well, and was asked what kind of player Peterson is.
“You dial up a guy with an easy swing, and a ball going a lot farther than the rest of the people in the country,” he said. “He’ll be a fan favorite, and will be glad to hang out with the fans after the game.”