If you've been reading Connor's Fun on the Farm updates, you're probably well aware of how incredibly beastly D.J. Peterson has been over the last six weeks or so. His scorching bat has earned him a promotion to AA Jackson, and seeing as how Peterson is the organization's best hitting prospect (Alex Jackson not yet included), it's fairly noteworthy.
Peterson got better and better this season, making his final .997 OPS even more impressive when you factor in a .724 OPS through his first 19 games. He finished June with a ridiculous .392/.458/.838 slash line, all while increasing his BB% for the third straight month. Walks have been the main concern for Peterson so far, who's gotten so much to hit in High Desert that he has elected to swing freely. It's hard to truly criticize Peterson for not walking when the rest of his production was so great, and it is worth noting that Peterson's walk rate was significantly higher when he wasn't hitting in High Desert.
It's without question that Peterson benefited from High Desert, posting a 1.111 OPS there versus a .897 line on the road. But while the gap is sizable, the road performances are still excellent, especially focusing on the past several months.
Now in a far more neutral environment, he'll see his first true test, and we'll also get a better gauge on his plate discipline and strikeouts. It's a mild concern that he was striking out once a game in High Desert given how terrible the environment is for pitchers, but again, everyone comes with a massive asterisk there. His performance should be celebrated, but now we'll really see what he's made of at this stage in his career.
It will be very interesting to see how the Jackson roster shuffles around for Peterson. Patrick Kivlehan, as you might have read in yesterday's Fanpost, has been red hot for Jackson after a tough start. He's currently manning third base, where D.J. Peterson has been playing as much as possible in High Desert, around two of three starts. Now with two clear third basemen on the roster, Kivlehan and Peterson will presumably bounce back and forth between third, first, and DH. This will probably come at the expense of Mickey Wiswall, who's been horrific for Jackson (.596 OPS) while being their primary first baseman. We'll have to check in with Jackson Generals broadcaster Chris Harris in the coming weeks to get a report on how Peterson handles the change and how he looks defensively, wherever he plays.
While the farm system was fairly depleted as many top prospects graduated, more help is getting closer and closer. Peterson will probably remain in Jackson for the rest of the year, but if he destroys AA like he did A+, who knows. He could see Tacoma in September.
Edit: Mickey Wiswall has been released.