Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for DJ Peters?

peters1

With all the offseason attention that has been given to prospective third basemen and the bullpen of the Los Angeles Dodgers, there hasn’t been much focus on the outfield, especially since the franchise arguably has two of the game’s best players in Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger.

From a depth standpoint, we’ve already taken in-depth looks at some of the top lower-level prospects in the system this winter, including 18-year-old Luis Rodriguez, 20-year-old Andy Pages, and 19-year-old speedster Jake Vogel.

However, one area of the outfield we have yet to examine thoroughly is the group of players who are close to the big-league fringe, which includes names like Zach Reks, Luke Raley, Cody Thomas, and DJ Peters.

For this conversation, we’ll take a detailed look at Peters.

All three of Reks, Raley, and Peters are on the team’s 40-man roster, but Peters is the only right-handed hitter of the trio, perhaps giving him a bit of an advantage, even if it’s through a pinch-hitting/power perspective. What we know for certain at the moment is the main corps of the outfield will be Betts, Bellinger and AJ Pollock, with Chris Taylor having the ability to secondarily cover all three spots.

Additionally, 25-year-old Zach McKinstry, a jack-of-all-trades lefty hitter, promises to contend for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2019, McKinstry saw limited time in all three outfield spots, although most pundits believe his true position is second base—an entirely different conversation topic for another time.

Both Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios have spent a limited amount of time in the outfield as well. In 2019, Beaty played 34 games in left field, mainly when Pollock was sidelined after having surgery to his elbow.

Something else to consider is whether Taylor will garner the lion’s share of playing time at second base or if the team will turn the reigns over to the 23-year-old lefty-hitting Gavin Lux. Should Taylor be given full-time responsibilities in the infield, it might conceivably open the door for Reks, Raley, or Peters to see major league action in the outfield right out of the gate, particularly with the voids that Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez left behind when they entered free agency this winter.

As far as Peters goes, he always draws extremely high praise from both players and coaches at Spring Training. In 2018 as an NRI, he received some of the best reports of all the organizational prospects.

“There’s a lot to like with DJ—the way he works and prepares, and he’s very mature as a baseball player,” skipper Dave Roberts said.

“He’s great,” infielder Justin Turner said. “Awesome. Works his butt off. Always trying to learn. Obviously, he’s big and strong and has a really, really good swing.”

However, now at 25 years old and taking up valuable space on the 40-man, time might be running out for the Glendora native in terms of his big-league window.

Not long after being selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of Western Nevada College, Peters was quickly ushered to the short-season Pioneer League, where he posted an impressive slash line of .351/.437/.615 with 24 doubles and 13 home runs over 302 plate appearances for the Ogden Raptors. Coincidentally, Peters finished sixth in the league’s individual batting standings, ending his season just a few ticks behind teammate Keibert Ruiz, who posted a .354 average and finished fourth in his own quest for a batting title.

It didn’t take long for his Raptor teammates to give him the nickname of “Wild Man,” mainly for his overwhelming amount of energy and enthusiasm.

“He’s one of those guys you got to slow down sometimes because he wants to go full bore,” said Shaun Larkin, the 2016 manager of the Raptors. “If I asked him to run through this wall and go play a game, he’s going to do it.”

peters3

Seemingly, Peters has racked up almost every possible offensive award in the minors. He was named Player of the Week six times across three levels, he garnered about a dozen All-Star nods, and he was even named the Cal League Player of the Year in 2017, when he slashed .276/.372/.514 with 27 homers, 29 doubles and 82 RBI for High-A Rancho. In 2018, he led Tulsa with 29 bombs in 132 games.

Splitting the 2019 season with Tulsa and OKC, Peters appeared in 68 games for the Drillers, hitting .241 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and 42 RBI while batting .260 (54-for-208) with 10 doubles, 12 homers and 39 RBI in 57 games for Oklahoma City.

Last year, he was a member of the team’s 60-man player pool.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder is probably best known for his power, but he has deceptive speed and athleticism for his size. Defensively, he can handle all three outfield spots, and his arm strength is one of his best assets.

MLB Pipeline currently ranks Peters as the Dodgers’ 11th best prospect, but his days as a prospect are limited, having just turned 25 in December while entering his sixth year in the organization.

In recent seasons, many pundits have criticized Peters for his lack of contact at the plate, which is undoubtedly the primary factor holding him back from emerging in the majors. He’s extremely pull-happy and has a 33 percent strikeout rate in full-season ball. Lately, he has shown some promise with regards to patience and pitch-recognition, perhaps allowing him to still hang around as one of the top outfield options in the system.

There are quite a few factors that will determine his baseball destiny, but if Peters is able to prove he can make consistent contact during 2021 Cactus League play, I believe he will be given at least a few chances to prove his value at the big-league level.

21 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for DJ Peters?

  1. Thanks for the review of Peters. In the next couple of years, contract arbitrations and re-signings will raise the Dodger’s yearly spending on contracts. Using younger players under control is the only way to keep a team’s young stars and stay competitive. The Dodgers should not spend money on Hernandez or Pederson no matter the temptation to keep them. Peters, Mckinstry, Raley, etc should all be competing for those positions. While we all appreciate the contributions of Hernandez, Pederson. Baez, Woods, etc the team has to be under the Luxury Cap every couple of years or face losing draft picks and other penalties.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bear! How are you, my friend? I am hanging out here in Tucson, very glad I got out of LA Area with the Covid mess. Here we are on an acre so not much interaction with people. Use Walmart pick up and try to stay healthy. What are you up to? My email is still the same.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree the Dodgers need some right-handed bats. Peters might make it if he can stop striking out. They say he has a great work ethic so possibly with the Dodgers hitting coaches, they can fix or help him? I believe they sign Turner and I doubt they sign Pederson and will bring up Peters. The one huge plus on Pederson is he has hit well in the Postseason and that is what it is all about isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You don’t stop striking out when you are 26/27. Actually all those outfielders including beatty and rios are 26/2 7 so aren’t even close to being prospects. I guess they are now called carreer minor leaguers. Amazing how we talk about these prospects and all of a sudden they are 26 and we have to talk about someone else. The young guys Dennis talked about last week are a few years away si we should be looking for an addition in the near future.

        Like

      2. Dodgers have great hitting coaches. Maybe they can help the kid work it out. I saw him hit some monsters in spring, and Thomas has that kind of power too.

        Like

  2. The way the roster is set up, with Mookie and Belli holding down two of the three outfield positions every day, I really don’t see DJ having a spot any time soon. If he didn’t have the hitting faults you mentioned he could possibly be the left fielder in waiting but I don’t see him conquering those problems any time soon. He serves no purpose as a pinch hitter because he strikes out so much, so I think his best chance would be a trade to a team that isn’t competing for a playoff spot and could give him every day playing time in the hopes he develops further.

    Like

    1. Remember, just one injury to the Big 3 in the outfield changes the dynamic of the team in a hurry, especially if Taylor is out there every day. I think one of the stories we haven’t talked about much is whether Taylor or Lux sees the bulk of the time at second. Still not sure how proficient McKinstry is in the outfield, but I can’t imagine him being any worse than Beaty. I think whatever happens at third base is gonna dictate how things play out at several spots to open the season.

      Like

      1. True, we can’t really paint any kind of lineup/roster picture until AF is done with his roster moves leading into ST. One thing we do know, however, is that DJ is not ready yet. He’s a really good kid so maybe he’ll “find it” quickly. I’m just not counting on it.

        Like

  3. I’ve always liked DJ for a couple reasons, he played college ball just down the road in good old Carson City, NV and he reminds me of Jayson Werth. OK, I always wanted him to remind me of Jayson Werth, the age 28 to 35 version of Jayson Werth.

    Dodgers gave up on big right-handed power hitting Werth who struck out a lot, at age 27, after he missed a season to a wrist injury. Bet they wished they would have had just a little more patience.

    I say give him a couple more years, athletic with a great work ethic, nice combination. Aaron Judge didn’t put it together until age 25, with an OPS of 1.049 while still striking out over 38% of the time. BIG right handed hitting power hitters seem to take a little longer to develop. Dodgers don’t want to see him blowup into a poor man’s Aaron Judge in another uniform.

    Like

    1. Never mind a poor man’s Aaron Judge. I don’t want him to blowup into a poor man’s Jayson Werth either. He had a very nice career after we let him loose. OK Box, I’ve heard your argument and I’m willing to keep DJ in the system for another year or two. Judge or Werth as our every day left fielder wouldn’t be bad at all.

      Like

      1. Your right, anything resembling Werth or Judge would be awesome. Glad we both have decided he can stay, don’t let us down DJ.

        Like

      1. Your welcome. Yes, Turner was another late bloomer (age 29), but he never really had the swing and miss problem. Following is a link to Turner’s stats, with him looking for a four year contract, and with me wanting him to sign for two years, it’s easy to forget what a stud he has been for the Dodgers.

        https://www.espn.com/mlb/player/stats/_/id/29607/justin-turner

        After that refresher, I gotta believe that Friedman will find a way to get him signed.

        Like

  4. Dodgers seemingly in on Bauer now. They have contacted his agent, but they still want to keep it short term. No movement on the Turner front. If the Dodgers sign another reliever, I have to believe it will not be Hand. He is not going to get 10 mil, but he will probably get a 2 year deal. Kike is being targeted seriously by the Red Sox. Good luck to him. I am tired of his all or nothing type hitting and his slash lines, no matter how well he hit lefty’s, over the last 3 seasons have been mediocre at best. The only thing they will really miss is his defense.

    Like

    1. I’ll miss his personality. I’m willing to give him 1 year deal. 3 mil for his defense, 500k for his once-in-awhile clutch hits, and 250k for keeping the dugout loose. I think Boston will outbid me. They need him more than I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bauer would make the starting rotation great, but it doesn’t make sense, how can they get Bauer, a third baseman, and stay close to the cap, unless they plan on blowing way over the cap, which seems hard to believe, if they lost as much money last season, as they said they did. Just doesn’t add up to me.
    It’s fun to dream about though.

    Like

    1. They plan to trade Kershaw and Mookie to free up the money for those other deals Keith. I’m surprised you couldn’t figure that one out.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.