How mediocre college pitcher rocketed to Mets’ newest stud prospect

0
18


One year ago, David Peterson was a fringe major league prospect. Entering his third season at Oregon, control issues were threatening to sink a professional career before it even started. In 74 ¹/₃ innings in 2016, Peterson struck out 61 and walked 30 while sporting a 3.63 ERA.

Saturday afternoon, however, Peterson sat in the home dugout at MCU Park in Brooklyn, answering questions a world away from his middling success with the Ducks in 2016. Peterson, now with the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones, was picked 20th overall in the MLB Draft by the Mets after becoming one of the best college pitchers in the nation over the past year.

“Hearing my name called [by Rob Manfred], especially in the first round, and being picked up by the Mets, I was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness, and I’m here ready to get going,” Peterson said.

Peterson didn’t just get better at finding the strike zone, the southpaw set a school record and ranked second in the nation with 140 strikeouts and, more importantly, walked only 15 batters all season, his ERA sinking to 2.51. On top of being Oregon’s all-time strikeout king, Peterson also accomplished the feat of striking out 20 in a single game this season against Arizona State.

He was a first-team All-American and a hot commodity entering the draft. Perhaps the biggest reason for such a drastic shift was Jason Dietrich, Oregon’s new pitching coach this past season.

“I kind of broke everything down and really worked from the ground up [this past season]. Going from my catch play, to long toss, to bullpens, all that, up until the game,” Peterson said of what he and Dietrich worked on. “Coach Dietrich helped me out a lot, and he was there for me all the time, every day that I’d show up to the yard I knew he was gonna challenge me.”

David PetersonBrooklyn Cyclones

Though Peterson now is with the Mets organization, Dietrich still contacts him regularly. The two text “here and there,” Peterson said, and talk weekly.

“He still goes hard on me and pushes me — from a distance now,” Peterson said. “But I’ll be in contact with him throughout my career.”

Peterson’s fastball doesn’t stand out among draft prospects, sitting in the low- to mid-90s. Nevertheless, his slider, ranging from 81-84 mph, is thought to be his best pitch. Others give that title to his change-up, though he doesn’t use it quite as often. Peterson also throws a curveball that’s commonly described as a get-me-over pitch, meaning it needs refinement to be effective at the next level.

Because Peterson threw 100 ¹/₃ innings at Oregon this past season, it’s unlikely the Cyclones will use him much this season.

“I know it’s going to be pretty slow,” Peterson said of his anticipated workload. “It’s probably not going to be more than two innings at a time. They want me to get a feel for professional baseball, and I threw a lot of innings in college, so I think they want me to take it pretty slow right now.”



All Credit Goes To : Source link

Comments

comments