Continuing the college player profile trend in my MLB Draft prospect profile series, I bring you a polished lefty from Oregon in the form of David Peterson.
6’6, 240 pounds
Position: Left-handed pitcher
DOB: Sept. 3, 1996
Slot recommended bonus (No. 23): $2,702,700
Editor’s Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
Peterson is an intriguing prospect. Some publications don’t have him ranked that high, while a couple have him in the top-half of the first round. I think he’s a little underrated by most because his ceiling isn’t as high as some other college pitchers or prep players. He could end up being a steal at No. 23, if he makes it there.
He’s armed with fastball that has been clocked in the 89-94 MPH range. What helps it play up, even at the lower velocity, is the arm-side movement he gets on it. It runs away from righties on the outside half and comes back to lefites on the outside. He tends to throw it more in those areas than he does on the inner-half — for good reason. But he can straighten it out a bit and throw inside to each handed hitter. He backs up the plus-fastball with a potentially plus-slider. It sits in the low-80s and has nice a nice 2-8 tilt to it. He gets a lot of swing-throughs with it against lefties. His changeup is his next-best offspeed pitch. It features decent fade to righties and grades out as average. Some professional tutelage could help him improve it. He also has a curveball that is below-average right now. If he focuses on improving the changeup, his 3-pitch mix should be plenty to get MLB hitters out.
He has a big frame at 6’6, 240 pounds. There isn’t any projection remaining, but he also has the ability to take on a heavy workload and be successful. His delivery is clean and he’s able to repeat it. That leads to above-average command which could jump to plus with more refinement. He has a 3/4 arm slot, and that helps him get run on his fastball. He doesn’t have much of an injury history and, aside from being a pitching prospect, that should be at a minimum.
Videos courtesy of Baseball America, Pac-12 Network and rkyosh007.
Peterson had a 20-strikeout game against Arizona State (first two videos; different perspectives) at the end of April. Regardless of the level, 20 strikeouts in a game incredibly impressive. And while his ceiling isn’t as high as some other pitchers in this draft, his floor is probably as high as most pitchers available in the early rounds. He projects as a mid-rotation starter, and that could jump due to his advanced pitchability. His pure stuff isn’t going to blow anyone away, but he should thrive as a command/control pitcher who should eat innings. That isn’t to say his stuff isn’t really good, just don’t expect him to be a 30-percent strikeout guy at the next level.
As a junior, he always has the option to go back to school. He was drafted once before (Red Sox, 28th round, 2014), but there aren’t many concerns about his signability. A slot deal should get it done. That is, if he even makes it to the 23rd pick. A team popping him early and signing him to an under-slot deal to use the savings on a signability guy with their next pick seems like a good possibility. But if Peterson is there for the Dodgers, there aren’t many guys I’d like to see taken ahead of him.