Lefthander David Peterson’s appearance in big league camp this spring isn’t so much about trying to win an Opening Day roster spot as gaining experience against better competition.
The 23-year-old is clearly worth monitoring in an organization short on live arms at the upper levels of the minor leagues.
“I think there is definitely a chance he can come help us this year at some point if we need him,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, “because he is polished and throws the ball over the plate and he does have deception.”
The 6-foot-6 Peterson was a first-round pick out of Oregon in 2017. He split last season between low Class A Columbia and high Class A St. Lucie, finishing 7-10 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Though Peterson doesn’t have a big fastball, he compensates by locating his pitches in the lower half of the strike zone and fooling batters.
Callaway compared Peterson with former major leaguer Mark Redman, a big lefthander who had a solid major league career without great velocity.
“He’s got some deception,” Callaway said. “It’s not going to be 96 (mph) and not lighting up the gun, but he can pitch. When he was going really good last year it was on the corners, keeping the ball down, getting a lot of ground balls, lots of deception.”
The Mets traded their top pitching prospect, Justin Dunn, as part of the deal with the Mariners in the offseason that yielded Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. The next great homegrown pitching hope for the Mets could be Peterson, or 2016 first-round southpaw Anthony Kay, as the organization searches for answers beyond the major league roster.
“In spring training, get (Peterson) around the big boys and let him know how it’s done,” Callaway said. “Watch them work and take all those routines that he is learning into the season to make him a better pitcher.”