Douglas Anthony Peterson Jr. — he goes by DJ, for Douglas Jr. — proved to be quite personable in a conference call with Seattle media from his home in Gilbert, Az., and also quite confident, as you’ll see. But nothing wrong with that. He didn’t seem cocky, but rather displayed a strong belief in his ability — particularly his ability to remain at third base. He also played a lot of first base for New Mexico this year, but he said that was mainly out of necessity. He firmly believes he can handle third base in professional ball, right up to the major leagues.
Here’s a transcript of his conference call, starting with a brief opening statement. He wanted to get the interview out of the way so he could hurry back and wait for his brother, Dustin, a high school stud in Gilbert, to get drafted.
I want to first off say thank you to the Seattle Mariners. I’m beyond excited to be a Mariner. I’m sure everyone saw my face, my emotion. I couldn’t ask to be part of a better organization. This is the second time they’ve drafted me. I’m very lucky, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity and getting to the big leagues as fast as I can.
Were you surprised the Mariners picked you for a second time (he was a 33rd-round choice in 2010 but opted to go to University of New Mexico)?
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. My advisor played a little trick and didn’t tell me where I was going before they made the pick. All that was all by surprise. I knew the Mariners liked me. I wasn’t sure how much. A little bit of surprise, but not much of a surprise. Kind of mixed emotions right there, but I’m extremely happy to be a Seattle Mariner. As I said before, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to have picked me up.
How much did you look into them when they drafted you out of high school?
I think it was better than both of us. They saw maybe I needed to work on some things, and you know what, ultimately they were right. They saw improvements on what I needed to work on, and they gave me another chance this time around. I couldn’t be any more excited.
How are you different now?
Just the maturity, the plate discipline, being able to handle a bat with two strikes, cutting down on my punchouts, my footwork, my times down first base, my range at third base. I’m sure if you talked to the scouting department with the Mariners, they’re probably actually in shock about how much I’ve improved my defensive skills and my speed. I continue to work on the parts of my game that were doing pretty good. I did all those things, and it paid off for me. It pushed me to this first-round pick.
Why do you feel so strongly about staying at third base?
I played about a third of the year at first base. I feel so confident at third because I was our team’s best third baseman, but I was also our team’s best first baseman, and not having another first baseman other than me, I was kind of stuck in a hard place there. I had to play first, and I sucked it up and did it for my team. Just like with the Mariners, if they told me, hey, we want you to slide to first and get to the big leagues, that’s what I’d do. But I feel very strongly about my third base skills, and that’s where I want to stay. I want to prove to the Mariners that’s where I want to play, and I want to get up to the big leagues at third base.
Describe your relationship with your brother, Dustin, who is also likely to get drafted tonight.
It’s unbelievable. He’s my best friend. He’s my brother. Him and I have shared more moments than anyone I know. I feel very blessed to be doing this with him and having him by my side. After I get done with this press conference, I’m actually going to sit by his side and do the same thing he did for me. I feel very fortunate to have a little brother as talented as he is. He’s out of Gilbert HS, same high school as me.
Do you feel you’re the top overall hitting talent in the draft, as many analysts have said?
There’s a lot of good hitters out there in this year’s draft. I’m not going to compare myself to any of them, but I will say that I’m going to come hit for power, I’m going to drive in a lot of runs for the Seattle Mariners, and I’m going to hit a lot of home runs. I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I’m going to keep doing my best as a hitter for the organization. As far as this year’s draft, I’m not one to say, but I would feel I’m pretty high up there.
Hoping to get signed quickly so you can get out to the minor leagues?
My advisor is going to be taking care of that with Tom McNamara and the general manager, and they’re going to be discussing stuff, so I’ll let them handle that. But I want to get to the big leagues as fast as possible. That’s been my goal since day one. So whatever it takes, however fast I’m out there, I’m out there, and I’m ready to go play baseball.
Who is your advisor?
Kyle Thousand of Excel Sports Management.
How much did playing Team USA help you in the summer?
It was awesome. The traveling was awesome, playing against Team Cuba and all their professional pitchers, it was awesome. It was just good experience and it really helped me develop my game. To see how professional pitchers pitch, and I got a chance to get used to that, and scouts got to see me do that.
What’s biggest misconception about you and what should people know they don’t necessarily know?
My work ethic. I think a lot of people don’t understand how bad I want to play third base, and how bad I’m going to prove to everyone that I am a third baseman. A lot of people in the draft maybe misunderstood where I played position wise – first, third, left – but I think I’m going to go out and show them. I think that’s what they really doubt, and I’m going to go and continue to show them I am a third baseman.
How would you describe yourself as a hitter – power, gap, or just a hitter?
I would say obviously a power hitter, but a guy who can hit for a high average. I would say both. I’m going to drive in a lot of runs, get a lot of hits, and also put up a good amount of home runs.