Quick Links - D.J. Peterson
… while we're talking about prospects-for-MOTO deals


I/O:  Gordon, in June, compared him to Edgar Martinez.  With caveats.  Opined that D.J. "should" settle in as a Butler / Youkilis level producer in the big leagues.

Crunch:  Far be it from Dr. D to kibitz Gordon on a pre-majors ballplayer.  Might as well kibitz Yasser Seirawan on a Bishop-vs-Knight ending.


I/O:  Baseballheatmaps, in March, said that D.J. was "by far" the best college player they had seen.  They agreed with Gordon as to his Edgar-like hitting style.

Crunch:  It'll take you 60 seconds to scan the article, if you haven't seen it yet.  Three big images and a coupla bullet lists.  Knock yerself out.


I/O:  Spectator, in his Rickroll on corner infielders, gingerly advises us to prepare for a D.J. Peterson who actually plays third base in Safeco, meaning a trade of Franklin, Ackley, or both.  Jim opines that Longoria / Zimmerman production "isn't out of the question."

Crunch:  Jack Zduriencik is a big believer in giving a young player a chance to improve his infielder's glove.  Rickie Weeks had a -12 runs and -9 runs UZR his first two years at Milwaukee, then went to even-steven in year three, and above average thereafter.  You know about Ackley.

If, in 2012, we had quite realized what the M's plans were for Mike Zunino, it would have overthrown all of our conversations about Montero, Jaso, and everybody else.  So if the M's see Peterson as The Third Base Zunino, well....

Kyle Seager, by the way, wouldn't inherently gain any WAR from moving from 3B to 2B.  Their positional adjustment is the same.  His footspeed doesn't look real second-basey to me; I'm just sayin'.  (His numbers were spectacular there in 2011-12, in about 15 games.)


I/O:  Jonathan Mayo, at MLB.com, reveals that D.J. was "plan B" for several teams drafting in the top 10, that the M's felt that he tumbled to them at the 12, and that he'll probably be in their next Top 100 list.  (Sickels has Peterson on his "honorable mention" for the top 75, of which there are about 30-40 honorable mentions.)

They lament that they couldn't see him in the AFL, speculating that it could seriously delay his advancement in 2014.

Crunch:  As a general rule, it might.  The Mariners, to their credit, tend to promote players when they're ready, as opposed to when they have ticked checkmarks on the script.


I/O:  Dr. D still hasn't written a word about D.J. Peterson.  What gives?!

Crunch:  And he still hasn't.  Would you settle for a YouTube?




I'm expecting a Jackson assignment for DJ. And then a quick Tacoma callup.


DJ can hit.  He has power, he'll hit for a pretty good average, and he walks enough.  Not a ton, not like Gar or Youk... but enough.  More like Konerko or Butler, 60ish walks a year.  At least, that's the impression I get from both his college and (short) pro career.
The fun is gonna come figuring out if he has more Konerko-level power (30 2B / 30 HR per 162) than Butler (40 2B / 20 HR).  Evan Longoria has Butler's doubles and Konerkos HRs, walks about 75 times a year instead of 60-65. The stretch from Butler to Longo is a small but not insignificant one.
Butler's not DJ's floor, but that kind of offensive production (.300/.360/.460) is probably his reasonable expectation after some league-adjustment time. ANY of those offensive lines at 3rd base would be stellar, especially if we then get an improved line out of second base by moving Seager there.
But Peterson has to prove he can stay at Third first. Wanting to stay there isn't enough.  Seager pulled it off, but he was a 2B/3B.  DJ is a 1B/3B, hence my Youk comps. 
I saw him field a couple of games, and in limited chances, his actions didn't scare me away from the idea.  But I would assume the Ms are gonna try to give him all the chances they can to stay at 3rd.  Which means his path through the minors might be slightly extended to give him more fielding chances.
Caveat: if they trade Seager then obviously this changes (but why would they trade Seager?  Do they hate all Ms fans everywhere?).
DJ is great.  IMO we only have two great hitters coming up in the next couple years: DJ and Choi.  Taylor may be fine at SS, but he's not gonna lead the offense or anything - he's a complementary offensive piece.
One righty, one lefty, both XBH machines. Have I mentioned that Choi has a .240 Iso against same-handed pitching? That opposing pitchers are terrified to throw pitches inside to Peterson because he'll pull his hands in and tomahawk them inside the LF foul pole?
They're both very solid hitters.  Maybe we shouldn't plan to build around Nick Johnson and Billy Butler types, but that's what we have.
And when you add that to the rest of the lineup, how does it look? Zunino, Miller, Seager, Franklin, Saunders... get me a couple of outfielders and call it a day.  Maybe only one if Ackley is getting it together at last. As far as building the AL version of the Pirates we're missing a McCutchen, but we've got $40 million this offseason to throw at that problem, plus some trade pieces.  We have most of the rest.
Zunino = Martin, Smoak = Sanchez, Miller = Marte at a glove position, Saunders = composite RF, etc.
If we want to keep Seager and play Peterson at 3rd, though, then something obviously has to give.  That won't be a Next-Year problem, IMO.
Go buy a McCutchen, either with trade pieces or cold hard cash, find a 2 WAR DH for a year or two, and see what happens. Choi and Peterson are good enough to play their way onto the roster in '15 or '16, and Smoak is a FA after 2016 anyway.
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Let's get today right this offseason rather than planning on having our rookies immediately forced to carry the offense - again.


... but I'm not worried we'd trade him.  First off, you can't trade him this offseason, you just drafted him (MLB makes you wait a year after a drafted player signs to trade him).  IIRC, you cannot drag out PTBNL that long. If anybody wants to crack a rule book and confirm that, feel free, but the longest I've seen it is a couple months delay right around the trade deadline.
This would be trading him now and waiting til next June to ship him off. Can you imagine him getting injured again before the trade is technically complete?  No way they wait that long.
And Choi is luckily not worth anything (didn't make MiLB's top TWENTY for our players mid-season) so no risk of losing him as a centerpiece to anything. I'm glad he's criminally under-rated by the outside world; the Ms promoted him twice in-season, so they certainly think he's got skills.
If somebody's going, it might be Miller or Franklin.  Taylor has a skillset very similar to Miller's, but Miller is undoubtedly worth more.  To us as well, so we'd need a serious player back.
But due to that duplication, Taylor is also one of our most tradable minor leaguers. Austin Wilson is on the same can't-trade-for-a-year list that Peterson is, so Taylor (our #5 prospect per MLB.com's mid-season rankings), Romero (#7), Gabe Guerrero (#9) and Morban (#11) are likely our most tradable hitters.
Which means pitching or guys who logged major league time in the lineup will be the main parts of any trade (unless we're taking back a TON of money, a la Kemp).
P.S. Don't trade our slugging catcher-in-training Marlette.  We'll regret it. Just putting that out there, world.


I'm with you, there, G.
Which is why I'm giving Deej only Jackson and Tacoma AB's this year.
We know he can hit the ball out. I'm not interested in his High Desert numbers. I'm thinking he's beyond that learning curve, anyway.
And we may have a .290-.380, 35 double LF named Pizzano by '16, too.


Okay, I'll take that as gospel.
So Pete Rose learned 3B in one afternoon of 500 ground balls ... therefore ...
Is D.J.'s motor supposed to be better than average?  For me, the better part of defensive potential is made up by make up.


... I really question whether Peterson has the actions or range to stick at third base in the long term... At first base this is still a quality bat and a solid regular. I don’t see a special bat though, and that really limits how excited I can get about this prospect. In the context of the Mariners needing offense (and hopefully quickly) I do think this pick looks somewhat better. While I do think Peterson will be a solid major league hitter this just isn’t how I would prefer to use a top 15 pick in most years.
2002 draft, first round:

Out of those precious top-15 players, EIGHT were useless or didn't even make the bigs, and only two exceeded 20 WAR in the last decade since they were drafted.  Two. 
A couple of spots later, you can see Nick Swisher, who has been one of the most valuable picks in that first round, he of the limited upside and non-special bat.
I do wonder sometimes if people who talk about the draft actually understand it.  It's okay to have a philosophy that wishes for 5-tool talents who can hopefully also play baseball.  Sometimes that works out.  But don't tell me a solid major leaguer isn't a quality top-15 pick, especially if the 5-toolers are all off the board.  If Peterson was a bad one, who was there at the draft slot who was better?  Hunter Renfroe interested me if DJ was gone, so that'll be a fun comparison in future years, especially since he was selected with the very next pick by our hated rivals, the Padres.  McGuire and Crawford were both HS bats at glove positions (C and SS), so maybe they have the upside Skorupa is looking for that Peterson doesn't have as a fringy 3B with a good-but-not-special bat.
But I ain't worried about it.  I think DJ Peterson was the best pick at the spot even if Renfroe was giving him a bit of a run for his money, and he should be just fine for us.  I'll settle for a Swisher pick any day.
Now we just have to figure out where to play him. ;)


As someone who covers amateurs and the draft fairly extensively I often see fans that prefer their team avoid a player like Peterson if there is some question of him moving to first base. After all, the defensive spectrum and conventional baseball wisdom tells us that good teams are built up the middle, with players on the right side of the defensive spectrum. Talking to amateur scouts I encounter a different attitude. They find it more than difficult enough to “hit” on a player and are quite often happy to find a safer choice like Peterson than they can project as a major league bat. After all, the general success rate of any first rounder making the majors isn’t great, so for many it’s very enticing to find a player you’re reasonably confident will hit in the big leagues. Both viewpoints have merit, of course. Personally, I have to be really convinced a player has a special bat for me to endorse him as a top of the first round pick.
So I assume that if there isn't a REALLY special bat available and you're drafting 12th, you should go with an arm.  This is where that "a beat-up Rendon can still play but a broken Hultzen is useless" paradigm.  Not to mention I thought Rendon was a pretty special bat.  He's been shifted to second base for now and nabbed himself a couple of WAR in partial duty as a 100 OPS+ bat in his rookie year.  We'll see if he can stay healthy, but the Nats are getting some use out of him.
I fall with the amateur scouts he's talking about, I guess. When it comes to drafting players, I like mine to be productive major leaguers. I'm kinda not hating my Franklins and Millers and Seagers.  "Productive major leaguer" is a compliment, not a slur, and Oakland for one has several pennants from finding that kind of under-valued competence.


He's already been quoted as saying he wants to be in the bigs in a year just like Zunino, but also that he's willing to be patient from a player-development sense (ie, if they want me to play third I'm willing to stay longer in the minors to make that happen, otherwise get out of my way). He was emphatic about moving off of third base, basically telling the MLB network when he was drafted that he is a third baseman until they pry him off the position, and that he'd do everything in his power to stay there.
If you follow his twitter he was incredibly frustrated not to be cleared for taking grounders for so long due to his broken jaw.  The day they cleared him he was back out there "grinding in the field" to stay on top of it. This is after having his face wired shut until the middle of September and being on a liquid diet - his concern was taking grounders.  When the Mariners first drafted him (33rd round originally) the scout who picked him apparently had some advice for him on what he needed to do to be a first rounder.  He did it, and they picked him again 3 years later. 
Humble, grateful, driven athlete with not a little swagger. Some of the reasons I wanted him. Choi has the first three things, btw, but not a lot of swagger.  Cultural thing, maybe. He just produces.  The Ms were going to promote DJ to the Cal League to end the 2012 season, giving him 2 promotions in a half-season.  Choi got his two promotions.  I'm serious about both guys: I expect good things at the plate.

blissedj's picture

Many places I read lately people seem to dislike or flat-out despise powerful hitters with below average defense and no speed. Very difficult for a 1B prospect to get a high ranking these days. I'd love to have a team that can stuff 4 nice hitting 1B types in the lineup at LF, 3B, 1B, DH. The M's the past 5-10 barely get league average production from more than one or two of these spots per season. 2013 was one of our better years for hitting at those positions, but now Kendrys and Ibanez are likely gone and Smoak is not exactly money in the bank. Keep DJ 3B, Choi 1B. I'd like to see the M's grab another young guy for the 1B/DH mix. Can Nick Franklin learn to play LF or become a super-sub if necessary for Seager 2B?
If Beltran re-signs in StL then they have to find room for Taveras and Craig, Matt Adams might be left out in the cold. Or trade for a huge 2014 breakout candidate Vogelbach from the Cubs as a future Billy Butler +. Rizzo blocks him until 2019. I absolutely love Vogelbach, wonderful hitter with great eye. Or maybe Greg Bird of NYY is blocked and they would deal him. Or have a crack at a poor man's David Ortiz in Kennys Vargas from Min, they'd probably take a decent arm for him. Those prospects should all see AA in 2014, not far away.

blissedj's picture

Nice to read he has the drive to succeed! Hope he turns into a cornerstone for this franchise.


have great cachet in Seattle. I think a baseball "DJ" who earned the same respect as the basketball "DJ" would be terrific.

blissedj's picture

DJ was one of my first heroes along with The Wizard and Lonnie Shelton.
UW Hoops has a real smooth freshman that shares the initials as well. Looks like a future NBA player.


I only agree with the notion that teams are built up the middle it that includes the middle of the line-up, not just the middle of the field. Who says you cannot build a World Champion, or two for that matter, around Albert Pujols? Mike Schmidt and George Brett were the best players on World Series winners. Somehow the Yankees managed to contend with teams organized around an overweight RF and a 1B in the 1920's. If D.J. Peterson's line-up position upside is quality clean-up hitter, I don't care what position he fields. Granted, that may be a long shot, but certainly no more so than hitting three cherries with a prep catcher.
The only down side I see with the general approach is that if you look at the M's under Jack's tutelage and ask where we are truly weak it is the absence of transcendent talent -- no Giancarlo Stanton, no Robinson Cano, no Adrian Beltre (away from Safeco), no Carlos Beltran, ... It is very hard to win with all Chevys, no Cadillacs. I suppose we can have all our Cadillacs be pitchers.


The pundits want a potential (probable) star, at a position of need.  Teams are focused on the issue of, "How likely is it that this player will be a regular in the majors?"  
As the Moneyball book emphasizes also.  Beane simply saw Nick Swisher as a player with a VERY good chance of playing well for the A's.
Teams have gone through the heartbreak of busted 1st-round picks ... in the M's case, like 25 of 37 of them or somesuch.  Pundits don't have to live with their picks.


But plus D at first base doesn't mean much compared to WAR positional value adjustments to a lot of people.  Also, he's not that tall so his infielders would have to be a little more on target.  It's a survivable problem. ;)
I dunno how we would ever add a prospect like Vogelbach, though - it's not like he's undervalued by them.  He's a top-5 prospect in their org, isn't he? That would be like "Man, somebody should get DJ Peterson out of Seattle..." Unlikely. Vogelbach being blocked is a problem for 2016, not 2014.
If I knew what to expect from Smoak I would feel better about moving extra pieces around the infield.  He hit .240/.335/.410 last year, but OPSed .840 versus righties. .840 is FINE.  We just need somebody who can do that against lefties.  A right-handed 1B/3B type would be very nice, somebody who can give either Seager or Smoak a day off.
I guess it really is a shame that DJ isn't ready yet. But this is Justin's prime, right?  Can we hope for a breakout year from him to keep us entertained until his replacements arrive?
Right now I want a DH for a year or two and slugging OF for about 3. A platoon mate for Smoak wouldn't be out-of-bounds either.  If Kung Fu Panda is really on the market, I'm interested. Ditto Billy Butler (assuming some sort of reasonable trade cost for either).  If Joey Bats is out there to be had, I'd want to have a conversation about it.  He'd cost us, but we have a lot of pieces.
As interesting as I think it would be to have a 2016 team of:
- Miller, Franklin, Zunino, Seager, Peterson, Choi, Austin Wilson, Saunders and Ackley in the lineup with...
- Felix, Kuma, Walker, Erasmo and Paxton starting and a pen of 100 MPH headhunters backing them up...
I dunno that it's at all realistic to expect that team to produce according to its talent.  Maybe it is. Maybe we can be REALLY competitive with no outside additions if we just wait.
If so, 2016 could be a great year.
Wanna wait and see?

blissedj's picture

BA has Vogelbach #9 on the Cubs list just out. Sickels has him in the "low 100's" in his end of year update. Sickels only has "1" first baseman in his top 75, Jonathan Singleton at 73. Most people say it will be a struggle for Vogelbach to even man 1B. Rates a "20" on defense. Born to DH, and do it very well. Maybe in 2015. As a cheaper, riskier alternative to Billy Butler I love it. Make it a package and pick up Junior Lake as a super-utility guy. Plus, THIS!


Exactly where Mark Reynolds steps in!
Jeff Baker, too. He of the career .298-.353-,522 career split vs. lefties. .314-.407-.667 in 123 PA's last year. He has an off '12, but had '13-type numbers in '11, too.
Could be had for $2.5Mx2, I bet. Maybe less. Plays everywhere.
This guy snuck under my radar. What's not to love in that role?

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