The 2013 MLB draft is June 6, and if I am a San Diego Padres decision-maker, I’m taking D.J. Peterson, who was previously selected by Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round in 2010.
There are many other enticing and intriguing players, such as North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran, another polished hitter with room to grow, although I don’t see him being on the board when the Padres pick. Lakewood California senior J.P. Crawford is a possibility given the lack of depth in the Padres system at shortstop. Having said that, I’m not sold he will be there when the Padres pick at 13th overall. Crawford has some raw power, and is the more advanced high school shortstop with impact potential, and he won’t have a problem sticking at short with his fluid motions, above-average speed and strong arm. Having said that, his bat will be the question, and the Padres already have a very intriguing shortstop who’s further along in Jace Peterson.
There’s another high school shortstop standout, Oscar Mercado, who I like as well. He has a similar upside, but he would be a reach in my estimation if the Padres did want to go shortstop and Crawford was available. With myriad injuries to key players and especially pitchers, I could see the Padres going after a highly touted pitcher. However, with the aforementioned injuries, they may stay clear of pitchers in the first round and try to get a player with the quickest path to the majors. In addition, the Padres stacked up on pitchers in the last draft, most notably Max Fried and Matt Wisler, who both are impressing and could move through the system quickly.
Still, my number 13 overall pick is D.J. Peterson. The 6′-1′, 205-pound third/first baseman was born on December 31, 1991 (age 21) in Scottsdale, Arizona. Peterson is an intriguing bat, and he’s shooting up the 2013 MLB draft boards in part due to his tremendous sophomore season last year as a junior at the University of New Mexico. Peterson led the Lobos in hits, home runs, RBIs, slugging and on-base percentage. He was named Louisville Slugger First Team All-American and Mountain West Co-Player of the Year, as well as the winner of the Mountain West overall Triple Crown. His fantastic showing at UNM earned him a semifinalist spot for the Golden Spike Award.
He went on to play for Team USA, where he led in home runs and RBIs over the summer. He’s an advanced collegiate bat with plus power, and he has improved his approach, being more disciplined at the plate, taking his walks and driving the ball with authority to all fields. Having said that, he has a tendency to open up, dive and get pull happy.
The knock on him thus far has primarily been on defense. While he has played third base, some believe his future is at first, which could limit his options, especially in San Diego in the immediate future. While his offense is extremely enticing, his bat speed has also drawn some question by scouts, but he should still hit for power and average. He really caught my eye when he went 5-for-5 with four RBIs and two homers against San Diego State in March.
Peterson’s 2012 campaign was video game-like, batting .419 with 17 homers, 78 RBIs, 21 doubles, a robust .734 slugging percentage and a .490 on base percentage. I realize the Padres have other depth needs, and players such as Chase Headley, Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso, among others, but you take the best overall player available, regardless of position. And if he is available, he could be the pick. Some scouts believe he is one of the best hitters in the college draft class, and possibly the entire 2013 MLB draft.