With the No. 12 overall pick, the Mariners went for a highly touted bat in D.J. Peterson from the University of New Mexico, whom they drafted out of high school in Arizona in 2010 in the 33rd round. The Mariners reportedly made him a six-figure offer back then, but instead he headed to Albuquerque, where he had a fine career at New Mexico. He’s now regarded as one of the top bats in the draft.
Here’s a quote from Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara: “DJ is one of the top college position players in the draft with tremendous athletic ability. We look forward to having him in our organization and working his way towards being part of our major league roster in the future.”
Here’s how Baseball America described Peterson: “He has short, hitter’s arms, tremendous bat speed and strength, and always hits the ball on the screws. His hitting mechanics are sound, with quick, strong hands, and he shows the ability to make adjustments on the fly. He has keen pitch recognition skills and already has a pro approach to his at-bats.”
Peterson is 6-1, 205, and scouts belief his power is legitimate, despite the fact that New Mexico plays at a higher altitude than the Rockies at Coors Field. He hit .408 this season with 18 homers. On his defense, Baseball America said, “Defense will never be a big part of his game. He is a below-average runner with an above-average arm. He moves well for his 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame and should get a chance to stick at third base, but he’ll likely wind up in left field or first base. Peterson’s bat should allow him to move quickly.”
Here’s an interesting story on how Peterson ended up at New Mexico and not Arizona.
From the Mariners’ press release:
Peterson, 21, was named Mountain West Co-Player of the Year with teammate Mitch Garver for the second straight season in 2013. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound infielder won the MW overall triple crown for the second year in a row, batting .408 (89×218) with 68 runs scored, 25 doubles, 4 triples, 18 home runs and 72 RBI in 55 starts during his junior season. Peterson currently ranks third in the nation in home runs, while ranking fourth average (.408) and in RBI (72).
In Baseball America’s annual Best Tools survey of the top 100 prospects entering the draft, Peterson was named as the best pure hitter and the second-best power hitter and strike-zone judgment amongst all college players. Peterson was rated as the 15th-best prospect heading into the 2013 draft.
In three years with New Mexico, Peterson hit .381 (271×712) with 164 runs scored 78 doubles, 10 triples, 41 home runs and 198 RBI in 177 games. Peterson tied the Lobos school record with 78 career doubles during his 3-year career, while also finishing third in total bases (492), fourth in both home runs (41) and slugging (.691), and fifth in RBI (198). Peterson also played for the USA Baseball National Team in 2012 where he led the team in home runs (4) and RBI (14).
Peterson graduated from Gilbert High School in Gilbert, AZ. He was a first-team Louisville Slugger All-American after his senior season. Originally selected by Seattle in the 30th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, but choose to attend University of New Mexico instead.