Mets’ Peterson could be Brooklyn-bound
First-Round Pick Out of Oregon May Begin Path to Majors at MCU Park
Michael Conforto did it, and so did Justin Dunn, Gavin Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo and Ike Davis.
So it will come as no great surprise later this summer if hulking left-hander David Peterson, the New York Mets’ first-round pick in this week’s Major League Draft, makes his professional debut on the sun-splashed turf of Coney Island’s MCU Park.
Peterson, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound left-hander who has been likened to dominant southpaw aces Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, could be wearing a Brooklyn Cyclones uniform as early as next month if the organization deems our borough a fitting spot for the University of Oregon alum.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play professional baseball,” Peterson said shortly after being picked with the No. 20 overall selection Monday night.
“It took three years of development,” he added, noting his campaigns with the Ducks, where he compiled a 11-4 record with a 2.51 earned-run average this past season, including a 20-strikeout game against Arizona State on April 29. “It was definitely huge for me to grow as a person and a player and I’m very excited.”
Five of the Mets’ last six first-round picks have landed in Brooklyn, with current big league left-fielder Conforto emerging as the most notable of those former Baby Bums.
Last summer, the Mets selected hard-throwing right-hander Justin Dunn out of the Boston College in the opening round, watching him flourish along Surf Avenue with a 1.50 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 30 innings in his pro debut campaign.
Peterson could be next, once he and the Mets come to an agreement on his first contract, which should be negotiated and signed over the next several weeks, making him eligible to join the Cyclones in July.
“He had just a tremendous year this year,” Mets Vice President of Amateur Scouting Tommy Tanous said of Peterson, who fanned 140 batters in more than 100 innings with the Ducks.
“He’s one of those players, one of those pitchers that you feel like every time you see him pitch, he kept getting better.”
Peterson was originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of high school before opting to pitch in the college ranks.
“I think he’s in a good spot,” Oregon pitching coach Jason Dietrich said of Peterson. “He has a good idea of what needs to get done. He just needs to continue to grow, which he will.”
The Mets’ second-round pick this year, Mark Vientos, jumped at the chance to go straight from high school to the pros, coming out of American Heritage High in Florida.
The 17-year-old third baseman, whom the Mets see as a future shortstop prospect, is one of the youngest players in the draft, and is also drawing comparisons to a big-league heavyweight in Baltimore star Manny Machado.
Vientos, who may also make his pro debut here in Brooklyn, stands at 6-feet, 190 pounds. He batted .417 in 26 games at the high school level this past year.
“It’s more than likely that he will play third base,” Tanous said. “We’ll try the shortstop avenue. It may be atypical, but there have been some at his size that have played the position. But we think he can at least stay on the dirt [as an infielder].”
“Overall tonight, we feel very fortunate to acquire two players we had on our first-round board,” Tanous said of the Mets’ early picks. “I think it was one of those cases where sometimes the Draft breaks just right for you. It seemed to do so tonight.”
Cyclones first-year manager and Mets icon Edgardo Alfonzo could have some family alongside him in the dugout this summer.
With their 38th-round pick, the Mets opted to take Alfonzo’s son, Daniel, who never batted lower than .471 during his four years at Bayside High School, helping the Queens school win its first Public School Athletic League title as a senior.
“We’ve seen him quite a bit,” Tanous told MLB.com. “He’s a really, really talented kid. He plays third base, can hit, can do a little bit of everything. Obviously, the bloodlines are there. And he’s a heck of a baseball player.”
Other draft selections that may find themselves in a Brooklyn uniform by the time the team hits the field for the June 19 opener in Staten Island are as follows:
Quinn Brodey – The Mets’ third-round pick out of Stanford University is a 21-year-old right fielder from the Los Angeles area. Brodey hit .314 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs during his recently completed junior season.
Tony Dibrell – The 119th overall selection in the draft is a right-hander pitcher from Georgia, who pitched to a 2.45 ERA over 95 2/3 innings at Kennesaw State University this year.
Matt Winaker – The Mets’ fifth-round selection is also a Stanford product. Winaker earned All-Pac-12 Defensive Team honors for his stellar glove work at first base and in the outfield for the Cardinal.
Marcel Renteria – Though he stands at 5-foot-10 and weighs just 175 pounds, Renteria can get his fastball up to 99 miles-per-hour. He completed his junior year at New Mexico State with a 5-4 record and 4.74 ERA.
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