Peterson to make pro debut on Coney Island
Mets’ First-Round Pick Will Start for Cyclones on Friday Night
David Peterson hasn’t thrown a pitch in anger in almost nine weeks.
That extended hiatus from the hill will end in Coney Island.
The Mets’ first-round pick in last month’s Major League Draft will finally make his much-anticipated professional debut when the Brooklyn Cyclones host the Tri-City ValleyCats at MCU Park on Friday evening.
Peterson, who has already risen to No. 3 on the Mets’ organization list of top prospects, is expected to start for Brooklyn, but pitch just one inning as the hulking 6-foot-6 left-hander gets back to serious competition for the first time since going seven frames for the University of Oregon against UCLA on May 25.
Since being selected with the 20th overall pick by New York back in June, Peterson has been chomping at the bit to get to the business of baseball after a dominant third and final season with the Ducks.
But the Mets, as they did with last year’s first-round selection, hard-throwing right-hander Justin Dunn out of Boston College, are easing Peterson into the pro game.
After signing his first contract, Peterson joined the Cyclones just over two weeks ago, but has been held back from pitching for Brooklyn after tossing just over 100 innings with the Ducks while going an impressive 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA and an eye-popping 140 strikeouts.
“I know it’s going to be pretty slow,” Peterson admitted in the Brooklyn dugout during his first face-to-face with the local media last month.
“It’s probably not going to be more than two innings at a time. They want me to get a feel for professional baseball, and I threw a lot of innings in college, so I think they want me to take it pretty slow right now.”
Pretty slow is not the way to describe Peterson at all.
The 21-year-old Denver, Colorado native will get a chance to display the blazing fastball that helped him strike out 20 batters against Arizona State on April 28, and 17 more in a start versus Mississippi State six weeks earlier.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play professional baseball,” Peterson said shortly after the Mets selected him.
“It took three years of development. It was definitely huge for me to grow as a person and a player and I’m very excited.”
So are Cyclones fans, who have been clamoring for some excitement at the club’s Class A short-season facility by the sea.
Brooklyn owns the worst record in the New York-Penn League at 14-28, and appears certain to miss the playoffs for a fifth consecutive summer.
The Baby Bums did make some positive history Wednesday night, stealing a franchise-record eight bases in a 6-3 victory over Tri-City in front of 5,247 faithful fans.
Starter Darwin Ramos (2-3) pitched six scoreless innings and leadoff man Walter Rasquin and right fielder Jose Miguel Medina, who returned from a foot injury, strutted their stuff on the bases by swiping three bags apiece as Brooklyn opened this six-game homestand with its second victory in three games.
* * *
In other local pro sports news, the Brooklyn Nets, fresh off a busy summer of rebuilding under the leadership of general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson, announced their four-game preseason slate for the upcoming 2017-18 season on Wednesday.
The Nets, who went an NBA-worst 20-62 last season while missing out on the playoffs for the second straight year, will kick things off on Oct. 3, when they visit Madison Square Garden to take on the East River rival New York Knicks.
Brooklyn will host its final three postseason contests, welcoming the Miami Heat to the Barclays Center on Oct. 5 and the Knicks here on Oct. 8.
The Nets’ final “home” exhibition contest will be a special Oct. 11 against the Philadelphia 76ers at the NYCB Live Arena on Long Island, better known to most local sports enthusiasts as the renovated Nassau Coliseum.
The historic arena in Uniondale, N.Y., was actually the franchise’s home from 1972-77, years during which Julius Erving was the team’s biggest attraction, helping the then-New York Nets win a pair of ABA titles.
Tickets for these preseason games, as well as season ticket memberships and partial plans are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 718-NETS-TIX or by logging onto brooklynnets.com/tickets.