mariners

The Next Big Bat? When Will The M’s Take A Look At DJ Peterson?

Staggering Minor League Numbers For The Youngster

Since the Seattle Mariners are embroiled in a pennant chase for the first time in what seems like forever I feel like we haven’t touched at all this fall about some of the young players working their way through the M’s minor league system.

One player in particular stands out amongst the crowd is one that I am often asked about.  It’s their 22 year old corner infielder Douglas Peterson.  You likely have heard of him by another name, D.J. Peterson.

Since you have asked often, here’s what I know and what I think will happen as Peterson progresses.

D.J. Peterson is officially on his way to the show (Photo: Eric Sorenson / College Baseball Today)

D.J. Peterson is officially on his way to the show (Photo: Eric Sorenson / College Baseball Today)

The Seattle Mariners were hot on Peterson long before they took him with their first round pick, which was the 12th overall pick, in 2013.  You see, Peterson was actually drafted twice by the Mariners.

The first time the M’s tried to chase down Peterson was in 2010.  They drafted him out of High School in Arizona in the 33rd round that year.

Peterson wisely opted for college at the University of New Mexico rather than signing with the M’s out of high school.  The decision to wait made his stock rise significantly, 32 rounds of draft picks to be exact.

After the draft in June of 2013, Peterson was sent to short season Everett to play A ball for a bit.  The M’s moved him up a level of sorts, to A ball in Clinton, after just 29 games.

Peterson played in 26 more games for Clinton before  the unthinkable happened.  Peterson was struck in the jaw by a pitch thrown by Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ right-hander Jorge Lopez.  Peterson had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Health

X-rays revealed that Peterson had broken his jaw and was facing surgery.  That’s pretty scary stuff for a young player especially considering this was the very first time he had been hit by a pitch in his pro career.

The injury ended Peterson’s 2013 season.  He did put up some very impressive numbers before hand however.

Combined numbers for Peterson in 2013 showed him hitting .303 (63-208) with 11 doubles, a triple, 13 homers and 47 RBIs.  His OPS was over 900 at .918.  Still however, one had to wonder if the injury would shake his confidence come next year.

2014 arrived with a fully recovered Peterson.  His confidence?  None the worse for wear apparently.  Peterson started out the year at High Desert, CA which is the M’s full season A ball club.

After 65 games it became apparent that Peterson’s confidence was not only fully intact but that he also needed a greater challenge.   Peterson had batted .326 at High Desert with 18 homers and 73 RBIs.  His OPS nearly topped the 1.000 mark.

Those glimmering numbers lead the M’s to move him to AA Jackson.  This is the first significant jump in player talent level that Peterson was facing in his career.  And he didn’t even bat an eye.

At Jackson, Peterson just kept on hitting and slammed 13 more homers and hit .335 in 58 more games in 2014.

If you are keeping score at home that means Peterson hit 31 homers in 2014 in just 123 games.  Add up 31 doubles and 111 RBIs and your eyes really start to pop out when you look at his season totals.

While it’s obvious the M’s won’t take a look at Peterson in September in 2014 it does bring up an important question however, the one you keep asking me.

When will the M’s take a look at Peterson?

To answer that question you have to consider what position, first or third, that you want him to play.  Kyle Seager is likely playing third for a long time to come so first base it is!

The problem then remains that the M’s still have a couple of guys playing first on their MLB roster that are in Peterson’s way, so to speak.  They would be Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison.

Smoak and Morrison. At least one would have to depart for Peterson to arrive. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Smoak and Morrison. At least one would have to depart for Peterson to arrive. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Both Morrison and Smoak are arbitration eligible for the 2015 season and are not scheduled to become free agents until the 2017 season.

Disposing of one or the other via trade or outright release would certainly seem necessary before any  realistic discussion could begin about placing Peterson on the 40 man roster.

With that in mind, I figure the Mariners will take a look at Peterson in the spring of 2015 during camp.  He’s probably not going to make the team but I do suspect he will be assigned to AAA Tacoma rather than heading back to AA Jackson.

The M’s will muddle along with Smoak and/or Morrison for the bulk of the 2015 season.  Assuming Peterson responds well to his theoretical promotion to AAA that year I look for him to get a September call up that fall.

Headed into spring of 2016, if they haven’t already, the M’s will have to decide between keeping Smoak or Morrison as Peterson is likely going to be given a legit shot to make the team out of spring training that spring.

That’s a lot of ifs and speculation but you asked.  One thing is certain though.  With the way he is hitting, Peterson will eventually get his shot.

And it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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