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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Matt Peterson

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 2/11/82, Age: 20, Height: 6’5’’, Weight: 185, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Mets - Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2000 Draft (Rapides HS, Alexandria, LA). 2001 Stats: (Sseason-A - Brooklyn) 2-2, 1.62 ERA, 33 IP, 26 H, 14 BB, 19 K; (Low-A - Columbia) 2-6, 4.99 ERA, 79 IP, 87 H, 29 BB, 72 K. 2002 Stats: (Low-A - Columbia) 8-10, 3.86 ERA, 138 IP, 109 H, 13 HR, 61 BB, 153 K, 9 WP; (High-A - St. Lucie) 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K.
   Matt Peterson is a young fireballer that the Mets picked up in the second round of the 2000 amateur draft. The Mets started him out pretty quickly, bumping him up to the SAL rather early in 2001. He struggled quite a bit there, so they kept him down this year for much of the season, moving him up for just a one start cameo in the FSL. Peterson is a big kid, standing 6’5’’ tall, and he throws about as hard as you might expect. Coming out of high school, he was throwing anywhere between 87-93 mph, but this year he was caught between 92-97 mph, with some nice riding action to it. His curveball is very sharp, but his command of it is still very inconsistent. To go along with those two pitches, the Mets have had him working on a change, which he threw less and less during the periods that he was successful. 10.1 K/9 versus 11.2 baserunners/9 is a very impressive statistic: one that will vault him up many prospect lists this offseason. His stuff is outstanding, but his control is still erratic. 4.2 BB/9 is certainly something that will get him punished at higher levels. Other minor negatives include the lack of a bonafide offspeed pitch, and the propensity to give up a few too many homers for his caliber of pitches, but at age 20, he is progressing nicely on the whole. It is an excellent sign that he is getting stronger and stronger, and he was absolutely dominant at times this year. An injury to his non-pitching arm (in ’99-’00) was the major reason that the Mets were able to snag him after the first round of the 2000 draft, and that gamble seems to be paying off nicely so far, as it does not seem to have affected his mechanics at all.
    The Mets are an organization that has their work cut out for them, with a rather old core of players and a fairly weak farm system. Matt Peterson has the look of a player that could help them. With Leiter heading for age 38, and Astacio and D’Amico looking a bit brittle, the Mets have a wide-open pitching staff for the near future. Pat Strange and Aaron Heilman look like they could contribute to the rotation of the future, but Peterson has a higher ceiling than both. Granted, he is much further away, so 2003 should show us quite a bit. If Peterson ends the year having had some success in AA, I would say that he will be ready for a rotation slot in Shea by 2005. If not, he may be yet another example of a thrower, not a pitcher. His repertoire, both the positives and negatives, remind me of Russ Ortiz. He, of course, has put together some control to go with the stuff, and has become an outstanding pitcher. Matt Peterson has a chance to do the same thing, but walking a batter every other inning is not going to cut it at the higher levels. I do not see him as a mid-rotation starter. He will either be a #1 or #2 (maybe 30% probability at this point), a closer (20%), or a flameout (50%). Next year will go a long way toward determining his career path, and he should start back at St. Lucie in the FSL. Please keep in mind (before I get another flood of e-mails) that no matter how good a player looks at the A level, there are a myriad of things that can keep them from reaching the majors. I actually think that saying that a player has a 50% chance at one of the premier jobs in a big league rotation is being optimistic, so to sum up, I am optimistic for Matt Peterson’s chances of a solid big league career.  


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