If he had it his way, DJ Peterson would treat the minor-league ladder like Mike Zunino did. After making short work of Seattle's farm system, Zunino has been the team's most recent first-round major-league baseball draft pick to climb his way up the ranks and don the Mariner uniform.
EVERETT — If he had it his way, DJ Peterson would treat the minor-league ladder like Mike Zunino did. After making short work of Seattle’s farm system, Zunino has been the team’s most recent first-round major-league baseball draft pick to climb his way up the ranks and don the Mariner uniform.
Peterson is also aware that Zunino spent a month with the Everett AquaSox, Seattle’s Class A short season affiliate, before being promoted to AA Jackson. It’s not uncommon for a first-round pick to dominate for a club’s Single A affiliate — for just a few days in some cases — before moving to the Class AA club.
Yet it’s even less common for a first-round pick to find himself inside a major-league clubhouse after a year with the organization.
“He’s pretty impressive to get moved up in a year,” said Peterson, who was selected 12th by Seattle earlier this month. “My plan is to be up in a year but you never know, it could be two, it could be three, so just going to kind of let player development do what they do best.”
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Three years after the Mariners initially drafted him in the 33rd round of the 2010 draft, Peterson dressed for Everett’s 5-4 home-opening victory Monday at Memorial Stadium against the Tri-City Dust Devils.
Coach Rob Mummau doesn’t plan on using the University of New Mexico product for a few games, a period of time that Peterson said he’ll use “to get my feet wet.”
And who better to do that with than a team nicknamed the AquaSox.
“I knew it was kind of going to be a process … take batting practice, take ground balls, get the signs down, that type of stuff so I had a good idea that was my plan for the first day,” Peterson said.
After Seattle drafted Peterson in 2010, the Gilbert, Ariz., native opted to pursue a college degree and signed with New Mexico, where he spent three years as one of the nation’s elite power hitters. As a junior, Peterson boasted NCAA top-10 marks in batting average (.408), home runs (18) and runs batted in (72).
He was well aware of the potential to be a top-20 pick, possibly even top 10. Still, Peterson describes a second go-round with the Mariners as fate.
“It’s something that we thought was supposed to happen,” he said. “I couldn’t be any more excited to be a Seattle Mariner.”
While Peterson is a natural third baseman, the versatile slugger spent last summer playing on the opposite corner for the U.S. Collegiate National Team.
Mummau has yet to decide where he’ll utilize the three-time collegiate All-American.
“That’s something I’m going to talk about with our guys. I would say primarily a third baseman, (but I) wouldn’t be surprised if he plays over at first base, too,” he said.
Theo Lawson: firstname.lastname@example.org