Position: First Baseman
DOB:November 20, 1983
Peterson has made a steady climb through the Twins' farm system, ever since the Twins made him their 49th round selection in the 2002 June Draft. It is not often that a player taken so late in the draft is still getting big-time promotions, and putting up solid numbers.
Peterson played his high school ball at W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Washington, turning professional after his senior season. He absolutely thrived in his first season as a pro, leading the Appalachian League in runs. He also finished fourth in the league in home runs, and second on the team in batting and slugging.
As an encore to his improbable rookie season, Peterson was named a Midwest League All-Star in 2004, while playing for the Quad Cities Swing. He was possibly the most dangerous bat in the lineup, leading the team in runs, hits, and runs batted in. In 2005, he again was granted a promotion, this time to High-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League.
During the 2005 season, Peterson led the Miracle in doubles and RBI, while finishing second on the team in hits. He finished the year with a .250 batting average, and his 119 appearances were tops on the team. His best month of the season was July, when he hit .316, while driving in 11 runs in 27 games.
In 2006, Peterson took his game to new heights, becoming one of the better power hitting prospects in the Twins organization. He blasted 21 home runs in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, and drove in a career-best 75 runs. Of his 130 hits, 46 of them went for extra-bases, and he even swiped six bags.
Peterson made his Eastern League debut in 2007, and did not disappoint, as he was once again one of the better power bats in the organization. The slugger hit 14 home runs, drove in over 60, and batted a very respectable .285. Prior to the season, we named Peterson a top-20 prospect in the organization, and he showed everybody why.
In 2008, Peterson would start the season in New Britain once again, but would end it in Rochester. Though he saw a dip in average, mostly due to swinging at some bad pitches, he did show his classic power, as he belted a combined 16 home runs. He looked overmatched at times with the Red Wings, but did manage to hit two home runs in only 11 games with the team. He is likely to start the season with the Wings once again in 2009, and will be a constant in the team's lineup.
Batting and Power. Peterson is a good hitter, but will never wow you with an incredible batting average. He has great power, smacking 80 home runs in his minor league career, but he needs to cut down on his strikeouts. For the past three seasons, Peterson has struck out almost 300 times, and his walks continue to dwindle. He needs to become more confident as a hitter, and start to use all fields. If he can learn to take a pitch, like he did in his first year when he led the team in walks, he should see an increase in his batting average.
Base running and speed. Peterson does not have great speed, but he has been known to swipe a bag or two in his career. He stole a career-best six bags in 2006, and that is most likely where his stolen base total is going to be every season. However, he is a good base runner, and he rarely makes a mistake on the basepaths. The Twins are not looking for him to steal bases, and as long as he keeps blasting them out of the park, then he won't have to worry about his speed.
Defense. Peterson struggled in 2003 as a third baseman, committing 24 errors in 61 games. He made the switch to first base in 2004, and wound up committing seven errors in 124 games. In 2005, he committed ten errors in 119 games, a staggering total for a first baseman. He is definitely going to have to shore up his defense if he wants to become a legitimate Major League prospect.
ETA. 2010. Peterson continues to hit, and if he can become more patient at the plate, then he should make a big mark in the International League in 2009. Jones is a great power hitter, but Peterson is better at using the whole field. He has shown the ability to go deep in a league where the home runs are at a premium, so the switch to the Eastern League may actually increase his home run totals. Remember, he was a 49th round selection, so his growth as a player has been staggering.