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Dodgers Prospects: Dave Roberts Hopeful for DJ Peters Debut in 2021



For those following top Dodgers prospects over the last handful of seasons, it’s been payoff after payoff for the player development staff. Cody Bellinger is a bonafide star, Will Smith has made his presence known as one of the top slugging catchers in the league. Walker Buehler is a consensus shoo-in for an NL Cy Young award sooner or later. And you can even go as far back as Corey Seager who ho-hum just earned NLCS and World Series MVP honors last October.

Plus, of course, the next crop of the seemingly bottomless well of Dodger prospects is pounding on the door for key roles in 2021 — Gavin Lux, Josiah Gray, and Keibert Ruiz to name a few.

Through all those guys, however, there’s a name that fans have heard for several seasons now who has yet to even get a cup of coffee in the show. Top outfield prospect DJ Peters. On Saturday, Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on the slugger, who he feels is in a good place mentally and mechanically heading into spring games this season.

I hope we get a chance to see DJ make his debut this year. I think with DJ, the care, the love of the Dodgers — you can’t debate his work ethic. His ability to play all three [positions] in the outfield very good, very consistent. And I think now in the batter’s box — the power’s never been in question — it’s just a matter of the consistent contact. Because if he can touch it, it’s gonna go, it’s gonna be hit hard somewhere.

The 6’6″ right-handed slugger who was part of LA’s huge draft class in 2016 has put up big power numbers over his 4 minor league seasons with the club. But his bat-to-ball skills have played a big role in his long road to the bigs.

Our friend Tim Rogers had a few notes on Peters over at Dodgers2080.com.

Peters has a ton of natural talent and needs repetitions. He has had some issues with contact but I am hoping his hard work pays off. The Dodgers are in need of right-handed power at the plate and Peters has that market cornered.

Beyond contact issues, the Dodgers’ often crowded outfield mix has played an added role in keeping Peters in the minor leagues. But now with Joc Pederson in Chicago and Enrique Hernandez in Boston, 2021 could be as great a chance as ever to see DJ in LA.

Importantly, fans will get a chance to see the prospect immediately as Roberts added on Saturday that Peters would be starting in center field for each of the club’s first two Cactus League games while Cody Bellinger continues his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery.

Catch DJ and the Dodgers as they visit the Oakland A’s in Mesa, Arizona. First pitch is set for 12:05 PM PT on SportsNet LA and am570 LA Sports.

NEXT: Cody Bellinger Talks Health and Makes Opening Day Prediction

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Baseball America Rookies of the Year are mostly very successful long-term players and include Gonsolin.

    1989 Gregg Olson Baltimore Orioles (1) AL Pitcher
    1990 Sandy Alomar, Jr. Cleveland Indians (1) AL Catcher
    1991 Jeff Bagwell Houston Astros (1) NL First Base
    1992 Pat Listach Milwaukee Brewers (1) AL Shortstop
    1993 Mike Piazza Los Angeles Dodgers (1) NL Catcher
    1994 Raul Mondesi Los Angeles Dodgers (2) NL Outfielder
    1995 Hideo Nomo Los Angeles Dodgers (3) NL Pitcher
    1996 Derek Jeter New York Yankees (1) AL Shortstop
    1997 Nomar Garciaparra Boston Red Sox (1) AL Shortstop
    1998 Kerry Wood Chicago Cubs (1) NL Pitcher
    1999 Carlos Beltran Kansas City Royals (1) AL Outfielder
    2000 Rafael Furcal Atlanta Braves (1) NL Shortstop
    2001 Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals (1) NL Third Base
    2002 Eric Hinske Toronto Blue Jays (1) AL Third Base
    2003 Brandon Webb Arizona Diamondsbacks (1) NL Pitcher
    2004 Khalil Greene San Diego Padres (1) NL Shortstop
    2005 Huston Street Oakland Athletics (1) AL Pitcher
    2006 Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers (1) AL Pitcher
    2007 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers (2) NL Third Base
    2008 Geovany Soto Chicago Cubs (2) NL Catcher
    2009 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates (1) NL Outfielder
    2010 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves (2) NL Outfielder
    2011 Jeremy Hellickson Tampa Bay Rays (1) AL Pitcher
    2012 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels (1) AL Outfielder
    2013 Jose Fernandez Miami Marlins (1) NL Pitcher
    2014 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox (1) AL First Base
    2015 Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs (3) NL Third Base
    2016 Corey Seager Los Angeles Dodgers (4) NL Shortstop
    2017 Aaron Judge New York Yankees (2) AL Outfielder
    2018 Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels (2) AL Pitcher / DH
    2019 Pete Alonso New York Mets (1) NL First Base
    2020 Tony Gonsolin Los Angeles Dodgers (5) NL Pitcher

  2. Not sure what happened with Lux last year, but sure would like to see him surface in conversations in a positive note again. As for DJ, this goes back a ways; but I always think of Frank Howard with better defense when I think of what DJ could bring to the table. His BA in the minors is a concern. Hope he makes the necessary adjustments.

  3. The Dodgers are so stacked with talent up and down the Organization that it hurts seeing minor league guys like DJ Peters, Zac McKinstry, and to a certain extent the big league bench guys like Rios and Beaty not seeing everyday ABs and showing their worth. If the OF stays healthy all year, then I’d like to see them trade away Peters so the window doesn’t close on him. Likewise, I love McKinstry’s approach at the plate and how he is an even keel guy, so while it sounds terrible to say this, I would like Lux to either not make the cut this Spring or get packaged in a trade just so we can see Zac do his thing.

    • Keep in mind we have to see at least one RHB off the bench. Dodgers can’t have an all LH hitting bench, as that would leave team vulnerable in later innings as far as match up go. And we can’t count the back up catcher, as he would have to be the available to come in the game if an injury were to happen with the starting catcher in that particular game. I would suggest dealing one of the excess of LHB on the team.

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