By Miles Liatos Sports Radio KJR
Mike Zunino just made his debut in the major leagues yesterday after less than a year at the minor league level. So it’s fitting that he personally welcomed Mariners first-round pick DJ Peterson to the Mariners organization. Peterson said he wants to be up to the majors “as fast as him if not quicker” than Zunino on Mitch in the Morning June 7.
McNamara said he was there to witness the meeting between the two prospects, as he joined Mitch to talk about the Mariners’ draft today.
“It was pretty cool to be standing there, watching those guys just shake hands … and Zunino just told him to work hard, just stay focused and keep playing,” McNamara said.
McNamara said he’s known about Peterson since he was in high school. When Peterson was available with the Mariners’ 12th pick in the 2013 draft, McNamara was excited to select the New Mexico product.
“We got the guy we wanted,” he said.
There is question as to where Peterson will play. He can man both first and third-base, but that isn’t why the Mariners drafted him. McNamara remembered a specific philosophy about getting the best prospect available.
“The people in this game that have had a lot of success … they always tell me, ‘Take the bat.’ You know, if you got a really good hitter there, you can’t walk away from a really good hitter because you don’t think he can play short[stop], or he may be a corner outfielder instead of a centerfielder,” McNamara said.
By drafting Peterson, the Mariners took the bat. His college numbers would show you as much. He was top-five in batting average (.408), home runs (18), runs batted in (72) slugging percentage (.807) and on-base percentage (.520) in 55 Division I games this season.
McNamara thinks those numbers will translate to the major-league level. Peterson could be a big bat in the Mariners lineup, just like Zunino is expected to be.
“As a hitter, a middle of the order bat, that’s why we took him,” McNamara said. “We took him because he’s got an extra-base swing, but he’s got power, and he’s also a good hitter.”