The Dodgers prospective 25-year-old right fielder DJ Peters is the type of player that everyone wants on their team. He consistently draws rave reviews from teammates and coaches regarding his work ethic and ability to contribute to both the on-field success of a team as well as the behind-the-scenes consistency of a club. His raw power makes him a fan favorite wherever he goes. DJ Peters has made his fair share of waves through the MiLB, and now it’s his turn to make more in the Majors.
Peters has recently just made his first big break to the MLB in this 2021 season and so far he has seen just 5 ABs, though he has not yet recorded a hit. Although you don’t want to see a prized prospect start off their career with 4 Ks in 5 ABs this is not to be indicative of what Peters is fully capable of. DJ Peters, as is with many Dodger outfield prospects, carries massive raw power in his swing. Standing at 6’6, Peters is an absolute hulk of a hitter and he has the big bat to back it up, but there is still one pressing question that remains with Peters. How much of this raw power can he develop at the MLB level?
DJ Peters has collected quite a few accolades in his MiLB time; multiple All-Star nods, Player of the Week nods in each level of the Minors as well as a Minor League Player of the Year award in a 2017 season that saw him rake a line of .276/.372/.514 with 27 HRs and 82 RBIs in 504 ABs. Some scouts have gone as far as to grade his raw power at an 80 on the 20-80 scale, although I would personally say it sits in the the 60s ballpark.
The biggest roadblock keeping Peters from fully unlocking the true potential of his raw power is his struggles with making consistent contact. DJ Peters is a bit too susceptible to the strikeout, even in his 2017 Player of the Year season Peters still saw himself whiff 189 times. About 1/3rd of his plate appearances saw him record a strikeout that season. His 4 Ks in his first 5 professional AB’s shows that he’s still not totally over his struggles with the whiff, although this slow start to DJ Peters MLB career can easily be erased with one or two good nights in a row, so there isn’t too much cause for concern here.
DJ Peters is a very large and strong man. Evidence: pic.twitter.com/a9YEC7MDyc
— Dodgers-LowDown (@DodgersLowDown) February 28, 2020
The biggest developmental need for Peters, aside from cutting down on the strikeouts, is greatly refining his ability to make contact. Outside of rookie ball stats, Peters has only hit over .250 once in his four years of Minor League work, though he does consistently slug well above the league average. Peters can be expected to evolve into a bit of a Max Muncy type once he starts to show more of a handle on his bat.
Defensively Peters can play all three outfield positions but projects more towards right-field given his arm strength, which rates as well above average. I would like to say that Peters stands in line as an eventual replacement for AJ Pollock, but given the fact that Pollock is under contract through 2024, we wouldn’t see much of Peters aside from being part of a revolving door. Peters is already 25 years old and I doubt the Dodgers would want to wait until he’s 27/28 to start getting a return on his value so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with him.
The big question to ponder is how room will be made for guys like Peters if and when he starts going off. The likely answer is that someone will have to be moved off the Dodgers roster either through trade or DFA. AJ Pollock would be the most likely to lead the list of trade/DFA candidates if we’re talking purely just making space, but if the Dodgers are looking to swing a trade that would bring actual value back we might see guys like Peters headed elsewhere.
I’m sure the Dodgers have plans for either scenario, but it seems to me the strongest immediate option would be to allow Peters to slowly stretch his wings in the Majors while protecting his value. In that case, you might not see too much of Peters through the first half of the season, you’ll probably see him back in the Minors working out his swing before the end of May. Throughout the 2021 season, Peters may be used more to fill out depth barring any sudden breakouts.
DJ Peters is known for his power bat, but he can also flash the leather. pic.twitter.com/7Sxfw8nG3j
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 16, 2021
The picture is still a little murky on what to do with Peters regarding finding him playing time/protecting his value, but I think by the All-Star break the Dodgers’ plans with him will become a bit clearer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers tested the waters by dangling his name in trade talks, but again this all rests on the idea that Peters still needs time to figure himself out. It’s still possible that Peters clicks and starts raking his way into a full-time position. I just get the feeling that the Dodgers’ options on Peters are a bit time-sensitive.
D.J Peters has all the tools to become a Dodgers starting outfielder for about the next half-decade, it’s just a matter of how much of his potential he can fully realize and how soon he can do it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the clock ticking on Peters. It’s not that his time is running out, but the countdown has definitely started. D.J Peters has everything it takes to be a star outfielder, it’s simply a question of whether he will be that star with the Dodgers or another ballclub.