2. David Peterson, LHP
Height: 6’6”, Weight: 240 lbs.
DOB: 9/3/95 (22)
Acquired: 1st round, 2017 Draft (University of Oregon)
2017: Brooklyn (Short-A): 3 G (3 GS), 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER (2.45 ERA), 1 BB, 6 K
Coming off of a second consecutive playoff appearance, the Mets came into the 2017 season with the 20th overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. In his first draft as scouting director, Marc Tramuta and his team selected David Peterson, the ace of the University of Oregon Ducks. In his first two seasons at the University of Oregon, Peterson was part of their weekend rotation, but didn’t exactly look the part. As a freshman, he posted a 4.39 ERA in 82.0 innings, allowing 79 hits, walking 31, and striking out 81. In his sophomore year, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 74.1 innings, allowing 64 hits, walking 30, and striking out 61. After being invited to pitch for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2016 and working with a new pitching coach at the University of Oregon when the 2017 season began, Peterson blossomed. Approaching games with a different mindset, Peterson was dominant, posting a 2.51 ERA in 100.1 innings, with 88 hits given up, 15 walks allowed, and 140 strikeouts notched.
Though at 6’6”, 240 lbs., Peterson looks like a guy that could have a blazing fastball, the left-hander’s heater is generally graded as about average for a left-hander, sitting 89-92, topping out as high as 94 MPH. Thanks to his low 3/4 arm slot, the pitch has plus arm-side run and sink. Against left-handers, he generally works inside with it, using the natural movement of the pitch to make it break back into the zone, jamming them or making them look at strikes on the inner half. Against right-handers, Peterson generally works away and occasionally cuts his fastball. Earlier in his collegiate career, this was not the case, but Peterson now commands the pitch well, and is able to move it around the entire plate, horizontally to work hitters both inside and out, and vertically to change their eye levels.
The southpaw has a pair of secondary pitches that flash above-average or better in his arsenal, though observers are not always in agreement as to which pitch is better. His slider, which sits in the low-to-mid 80s, with sweepy break that Peterson can command well enough to get left-handers chasing and back-foot right-handers. His changeup, which also sits in the low-to-mid 80s, also flashes plus, with plenty of tumble and fade. The combination of control and three effective pitches allows Peterson to attack hitters arm-side with his fastball and change and glove-side with his fastball and slider. Rounding out his pitching repertoire is a mid-to-high 70s curveball with loopy break. It is his least effective pitch, and is more of a “get-me-over” offering that needs to be tightened up and refined.
Peterson’s delivery can best be described as slingy, which helps give his pitches movement. He uses a simple stride to the plate, eliminating as much excess movement from his long limbs as possible. This is what led to his control improvement in 2017, as it got him to finish over his front side more consistently, instead of falling off to his side. He throws his pitches with confidence, wasting no time and attacking hitters, carving up the zone with all three of his pitches and keeping hitters off balance.
Lukas Vlahos says:
I saw Peterson pitch against Cal in 2017 and came away impressed (6.0 IP, 8K, 1BB, 9H). There wasn’t much thump in the Cal lineup apart from Andrew Vaughn, but Peterson still showed impressive command of the strike zone, inducing swinging strikes and dribblers throughout the outing. That said, I do think his arm slot and stuff will lead to platoon problems and he’s another floor-over-upside guy, so temper your expectations accordingly.
Steve Sypa says:
Since day one, David Peterson reminded me of Mark Buehrle, in so much as they’re both big ol’ left-handers with fastballs that don’t light up the radar gun, sharp control, and high floors but relatively low ceilings. Peterson differs in that his secondary pitches are sharper than Buehrle’s were, resulting in more strikeouts, but doesn’t have the amount of sink on his fastball that Buehrle had. If David Peterson can have half the career that Buehrle had, I’d call that a major success.