In any sport when an organization decides to draft a player out of high school they are drafting the potential. In the 2014 draft, David Peterson showed the Boston Red Sox organization that he had potential. They took a chance on him in the 28th round, but he elected to go to the University of Oregon. Three years later, a different pitcher has emerged.
David Peterson 2017 MLB Draft Profile
When you have the option at the age of 18 to enter a team’s system it’s a sign that you have a skill set the team is interested in. When you make that decision you also make the decision to skip the conventional college experience. Rather than making that decision in 2014, Peterson thought he would grow most at college. His first two years did not go as well as his junior campaign has gone. There are few organizations who aren’t going to take a look at the 21-year-old David Peterson after this season. The 6’6″ left-handed starter has improved since he was first drafted in 2014.
Career bests this season in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, ERA — almost every meaningful pitching statistic, Peterson has improved. The reason for the improvement? Many believe it to be first-year Oregon pitching coach Jason Dietrich. Through his first 14 starts of the year, Peterson has 131 strikeouts and 13 walks. Peterson is fourth in all of D1 with that strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Peterson’s sheer size and the fact that he is a lefty will help him grab a team’s attention. It’s very possible that will be in the first round. The improvement in just one year with pitching coach Dietrich, shows his willingness to be coached.
Peterson throws three pitches: a fastball, slider, and change-up. He needs work on his fourth; a curveball that he does not often use. A strike thrower, Peterson has nearly doubled his strikeout total from his freshman and sophomore years (142) compared to this season’s total of 131. When at his best, Peterson is dominating with his slider. The ability to have it move away from lefties and in on righties helps him to control the zone.
He doesn’t walk batters. Less than a walk an outing in his junior season shows Peterson limits the chances of base runners who don’t put the ball in play against him. He is at his best when he is keeping things simple on the mound. The best example of that was his start in late April against the Sun Devils of Arizona State. Peterson would go the distance, striking out 20. Check out some of that game here:
Peterson struggled his first two seasons at school. While this junior season has been out of this world, is it for real? Has he really figured it out and will he be able to continue his success with a new coach and against better competition? While this season has been dominant he has allowed the most hits while being at Oregon. Part of that is because he is throwing plenty of strikes. What could work against him in higher levels are those bloop base hits turning into line drive gappers or home runs.
The future seems bright for Peterson if he is able to stay consistent mechanically and learns how to get major league hitters out. Pitch sequences, location, and confidence are all skills he’ll improve on as he begins to try and enter the league.