What can Dustin Peterson, the outfielder the Detroit Tigers claimed on Thursday, bring to the table this season and in the future?
The Detroit Tigers claimed outfielder Dustin Peterson off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. They cleared a spot on their 40-man roster by placing John Hicks, who is out for the season, on the 60-day DL.
Peterson has been assigned to Triple-A Toledo for the time being, but he is expected to make his way to the big leagues once the Mud Hens season is over. That should give the Tigers at least a few weeks to get a look at the 23-year-old Peterson.
Who is Dustin Peterson?
Peterson was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Padres. The former third baseman struggled in his first two seasons with San Diego, and was shipped in a big package to the Braves in exchange for Justin Upton.
Things took off for Peterson in 2016, when he was a 21-year-old at Double-A. He slashed .282/.343/.431 with 12 home runs and a 124 wRC+. An injury shortened 2017 season saw him reach Triple-A, but 2018 is when he found success at that level.
On the season, Peterson has slashed .268/.324/.406 with 11 home runs in 107 games. His 21.7% strikeout rate is encouraging, although his 6.8% walk rate is less than stellar. Still, a high-contact hitter with some power is not a bad option in the higher levels of the minors. It’s important to remember that Peterson is just 23, meaning he is younger than JaCoby Jones and Christin Stewart, and less than one month older than Victor Reyes.
Defensively, Peterson is limited to either left or right field. That does hurt his value somewhat, but he has posted better defensive numbers than Stewart at least.
At the end of the day, Peterson is a 23-year-old former second round pick who has found minor league success. He still has the potential to develop into a power hitter, with many scouting services giving him above average raw power marks. If he never taps into that power, his floor is as a serviceable fourth outfielder. At 23, he could serve in that role for many years.
Peterson will have minor league options for the next two seasons, so the Tigers can afford to stash him in Triple-A if he needs more time. 23-year-olds with success at Triple-A don’t come around all that often, and the Detroit Tigers were smart to snap him up while they could.