Cyclones’ Peterson pitches and visits Citi Field
Mets’ First-Round Pick Enjoys Busy Weekend After Making Pro Debut
David Peterson’s extended period of inactivity ended over the weekend with the Mets’ first-round draft pick making his professional pitching debut and visiting what he hopes will be his future home for years to come.
The 6-foot-6 left-hander out of the University of Oregon finally made his long-anticipated first start as a Brooklyn Cyclone last Friday night, yielding a run on two hits with one strikeout in the opening frame of the Baby Bums’ eventual 4-2 loss to Tri-City in front of 4,751 curious fans at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
“It’s tough to see over one inning,” Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo admitted after watching the hulking southpaw battle through his first live action since pitching for the Ducks against UCLA on May 25.
“But he looks good,” Alfonzo added. “I’m looking forward to the next start.”
So is the rest of the Brooklyn faithful, which has endured a difficult summer along Surf Avenue, one which is all but sure to end with the Class A short-season franchise by the sea missing out on the New York-Penn League playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
Peterson, who famously tossed a 20-stirikeout game against Arizona State during his brilliant junior campaign, scuffled right out of the gate Friday. He yielded back-to-back singles to the first two ValleyCats he faced before uncorking a wild pitch that put runners at second and third base with none out.
But Peterson rebounded nicely, limiting the damage by fanning Michael Papierski for his first pro strikeout before getting Cotton Shaver on a run-scoring groundout and Adrian Tovalin to line out to center.
Peterson walked off the hill and will now have to wait for his next outing, which has not yet been officially announced, but will probably be in the two-inning range as the Mets continue to keep close tabs on a hurler who tossed just over 100 innings in his final collegiate campaign earlier this year.
Despite his less-than-stellar performance Friday night, Peterson’s whirlwind weekend was just beginning.
The Denver, Colorado native was whisked off to Citi Field on Saturday to take in the Mets’ game against the league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, and do his initial press conference at the stadium.
“Very excited to be here,” Peterson said from atop the podium in the team’s media room.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be drafted by the Mets and I’m very excited to get to work. I don’t think anyone grows up wanting to be in the Minor Leagues. My goal is to get here and help this team win. Obviously, starting in Brooklyn is the first step.”
And likely a very short one before he begins his ascension in earnest next season, beginning in April with Class A Columbia or Class A Advanced St. Lucie.
Drafted in June, Peterson didn’t sign his contract with the Mets until July 7, and has spent the past several weeks tending to family matters and prepping for his big debut.
All signs point to a bright future on the hill for the lefty, who has already drawn comparisons to current Major League legends like San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
But Peterson must first prove he can work his way through the Mets’ minor league chain, something he is well-equipped to do, according to Brooklyn pitching coach Royce Ring.
“We’ve taken our time with him,” Ring told MLB.com following Peterson’s debut.
“The kid is a first-rounder, he has a lot of expectations. He has all of the intangibles to move through the system, it’s just a matter of him developing the game plans and the baseball IQ as he goes up through the different levels. If he can acclimate himself and figure out a way to get through those things, then he will move [through the system].”
Fortunately for Cyclones fans, Peterson isn’t likely to be moving out of Brooklyn before the end of the short-season campaign in September.
The Baby Bums, losers of four in a row and owners of the league’s worst record at 14-32, got rained out Monday in the finale of their six-game homestand. The Cyclones have scored two runs or fewer in all but one of their last six games, and are batting .231 collectively, third-worst on the 14-team circuit, with a NY-Penn low of 161 runs this summer.
“It’s tough,” Alfonzo admitted of the offense’s struggles following Friday night’s loss.
“It’s tough to win a game like that. We were hitting pretty good until last night. I would say a few guys were a little tired. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
This, That and the Other Thing: After getting one-hit in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Tri-City, the Cyclones got a bit of an offensive lift from an unexpected source Friday when catcher Scott Manea belted his first-ever pro homer in the second inning. Manea’s shot landed just fair down the left-field line, pulling Brooklyn within 2-1. “I just tried not to do too much,” said Manea, who is batting just .182 in his first season with the ‘Clones after spending last year with Rookie-level Kingsport and the Gulf Coast League Mets. “It was a really good feeling. It’s been a long process. Definitely a good feeling. A sign of hard work paying off in the cages.”
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