Mariners Analysis: Top Prospect D.J. Peterson is Cold as Ice in Jackson
D.J. Peterson is fresh off his worst season as a pro in 2015, and he has failed to find his stroke through the first week of the season in Jackson.
D.J. Peterson was once considered one of the top young prospects in all of baseball, but his progression has stalled and his star is falling fast. Peterson is currently playing for the Seattle Mariners Class-AA affiliate in the Southern League, the Jackson Generals.
The 24-year-old is off to a sluggish start with the Generals, posting a meager .143/.250/.143 slash line with 0 home runs and 2 RBI through 6 games. Peterson has struck out 5 times and worked 2 walks across 21 at bats. Surprisingly, his most impressive statistic so far this season is his 1 stolen base.
Obviously, there is still plenty of time for Peterson to right the ship, but struggling at the dish is nothing new to the former first round pick.
Peterson split last season between the Jackson Generals and the Tacoma Raniers. Peterson opened the season in Jackson, where he hit .223 with 7 home runs and 44 RBI through 93 games. He registered a .290 on base percentage and slugged .346 across 393 plate appearances. Peterson struggled to make contact, and he averaged nearly a strikeout per game last year with the Generals.
Despite his underwhelming production, the M’s decided to promote Peterson to Tacoma in late July. He only appeared in four games with the Rainiers before a strained achillies ended his season. Peterson hit just .214 across 14 plate appearances in the Pacific Coast League.
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Seattle was obviously discouraged by Peterson’s showing in 2015, and they sent him to the Arizona Fall League following last season to get some additional work in. Unfortunately, Peterson failed to impress in the desert. He slashed a disappointing .209/.322./.388 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI across 19 games with the Peoria Javelinas. Peterson struck out 18 times and nursed 8 walks in 75 plate appearances.
2015 was an unmitigated disaster for Peterson, and he was not extended an invitation to big league camp this spring in Peoria, AZ. The past 12 months have been more than discouraging, but the Mariners are not quite ready to give up on the slugging corner infielder just yet.
The former New Mexico Lobo split the 2014 season between the High Desert Mavericks and the Jackson Generals. Peterson was named the M’s Co-Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .297 with 31 home runs and 111 RBI through 123 games with the Mavs and Generals. He posted a .360 on base percentage and slugged .552 across 547 plate appearances. Jackson was an organizational All-Star, and he represented the Mariners at the 2014 Futures Game.
Next: Stefen Romero off to hot start in Tacoma
2016 is potentially a make or break season for D.J. Peterson. He has more than enough talent to be a middle of the order bat in Seattle, but I would also not be surprised to see the Mariners trade him at some point this summer. Peterson is off to a horrid start, but it’s still too early to panic. Hopefully, he will start hitting and soon.