DJ Peters Takes Better At-Bats
Outfielder DJ Peters knows what he can do. And he knows what he needs to do.
"Put the ball in play hard and good things will happen," Peters said in big league camp. "I hit the ball hard. I hit it far. I just want to be a little more consistent."
The numbers back up the 25-year-old Peters, who received his first big league callup on April 23.
The Dodgers' 2016 fourth-rounder out of Western Nevada JC totaled 52 home runs in 2018 and 2019 with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
But he has also struck out 33% of the time in that span. The challenge for the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Peters is to make contact more often.
"Definitely gotta be consistent out there. That's no secret," said Peters, whose strikeout rate decreased to 31% in 2019.
Peters has already proved his value defensively. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Peters has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions at the major league level. And he began taking some work at first base during spring training.
"I think on the defensive side, he is there," Roberts said. "The way he works, the way he can play all three—he's a really good defender."
Roberts also said the quality of Peters' at-bats was better during Cactus League games than he had seen before. But maintaining that on a consistent basis is the challenge, one that Peters will have to meet by continuing to refine his swing and focus on the fundamentals of plate discipline.
"He's got some long levers and there's a lot of swing-and-miss. But he's really cleaned it up. He really has," Roberts said. "I think his stance is a little different than it has been in the past."
Peters spent last summer at the Dodgers' alternate training site. Then he was part of the team's traveling taxi squad during the postseason run to a World Series title.
"I learned a lot, just from watching the game and being in the clubhouse for those six weeks," Peters said, "watching how playoff baseball is played not only on the field but in the locker room after the game and at the hotel."
— The Dodgers placed righthander Tony Gonsolin on the injured list to start the season. He was bothered by inflammation in his pitching shoulder and was sent to the alternate training site to rehab the injury. The soreness lingered, and Gonsolin had not started a throwing program by mid April.