D.J. Peters Opens Eyes At First Big League Camp
At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds and with Noah Syndergaard-ian hair, outfielder D.J. Peters makes a big impression any time he steps on a baseball field.
But the 22-year-old has made a positive impression beyond that in his first big league spring training camp.
"There’s a lot to like with D.J.—the way he works and prepares, (and he’s) very mature as a baseball player,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
"He’s great. Awesome. Works his butt off. Always trying to learn,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. "Obviously he’s big and strong and has a really, really good swing.”
Coming off an MVP season in the high Class A California League, Peters went straight to Dodger Stadium. The native of nearby Glendora, Calif., said he was there "Monday through Friday, every day” working out at the stadium with the Dodgers’ strength and conditioning staff and joining a group big leaguers that included Turner and Chase Utley.
"Veterans like that, you want to tap into their experience,” said Peters, who blasted 27 home runs last year while hitting .276/.372/.514 in 132 games at Rancho Cucamonga. "They all kind of took me under their wing, which I cherish.”
Peters’ first big league camp offered the 2016 fourth-rounder from Western Nevada JC another chance to "look, listen and learn” from veterans such as Turner, Utley and Matt Kemp.
"I think it’ll only better me as a baseball player and as a person and as a teammate,” said Peters, who likely will open 2018 at Double-A Tulsa.
• Top pitching prospect Walker Buehler reported to spring camp with upper back tightness, giving the Dodgers a handy excuse to "slow play” him this spring. He is not expected to open the season with the Dodgers, and there are plans to limit his workload during the season. Roberts said the "best-case scenario” for Buehler would be an increase to as many as 150 innings this season, including the postseason.
• Outfielder Trayce Thompson and righthander Wilmer Font are both out of options this season and cannot be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers. In Thompson’s case, a crowded group of outfield candidates makes it unlikely he’ll win a roster spot. Font has a chance to open the season in the bullpen after Tom Koehler suffered a shoulder injury, opening a spot in the relief corps.