David Peterson was always going to be one of the first names to get a call if the Mets needed starting pitching this season. At 24 years old, and with a year of Double-A ball under his belt, he would have been fighting for sixth on the team’s depth chart.
Peterson was taken in the first round by the Mets in 2017 after a solid career as an Oregon Duck, including an 11-4 record, 2.51 ERA, and 140 strikeouts in 100.1 innings pitched in his final season there to round out his career in the PAC-12.
Peterson threw just 3.2 innings in three games in Brooklyn in his first year in the Mets organization for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Used sparingly due to his heavy college workload, he did not really make any meaningful contributions until the 2018 season.
Peterson has never really stood out at any level in the minors, but he has been solid. His best run came right away, when he put up a 1.82 ERA in nine Single-A starts in 2018. He was promptly promoted to High-A, where he struggled with injury and performance.
Peterson was promoted to Double-A Binghamton nonetheless, where he was solid-yet-unspectacular, which seems to be a theme for the big lefty. He had a 4.19 ERA in Binghamton, but the peripherals are more promising than the ERA allows. He struck out a career-high 9.5 batters per nine, aided by a 2.9 walks per nine.
In a normal season, Peterson would have Triple-A innings under his belt, too, but this is far from a normal season. Peterson is likely stretched out as well as he can be, following a full season last year and throwing in intrasquad games, and it is prudent for the Mets to give him a chance to show that he can make it in the majors. With how empty their rotation stands to be in 2021 right now, they would be foolish not to see what Peterson has in him.
On the mound, Peterson is, in a word, boring. He has a fastball with sink that sits in the low 90s and can get up to 94 miles per hour. He has good command of his fastball as well, which helps work around the below-average-to-average velocity—according to FanGraphs the average fastball velocity was 93.2 last season. His best secondary pitch is a slider that sits in the low 80s and has a ton of lateral movement. His changeup is his worst pitch, but it isn’t bad, it is simply okay.
Peterson does not have stuff that jumps off the page, especially in today’s MLB where it seems like everyone throws in the high 90s. But that is not a death sentence for him, either. He is likely going to be able to get out major league batters, which helps the Mets in both the long and short term.