D.J. Peterson is trying just as hard with the bases empty as with runners on, but the results have been wildly different in his first two weeks as a pro.
The Mariners' first-round Draft pick hit his second grand slam of the year Friday night to power short-season Everett past visiting Spokane, 5-3.
"I was looking for a breaking ball and just trying to shoot something up the middle with the defense drawn in and I put good wood on it and it left the yard for me," Peterson said after sending an 0-2 pitch from reliever Abel De Los Santos over the left-center field fence to give the AquaSox a 5-0 lead.
Peterson entered his 10th Minor League game with a 1.250 OPS with runners on base and a .417 mark with the bases clear.
"I couldn't even tell you what the deal is. It seems like every time I come up with a guy on base, I focus up better and drive him in," he said.
"It's just been a weird start for me, a weird two weeks. I'm just trying to get all the hits I can get. I ran into a couple of balls and they left the ballpark."
The adjustment from college ball at New Mexico has featured a twist for Peterson, selected 12th overall after earning co-Mountain West Player of the Year honors.
"It's been different. Guys are a little more wild [in the Northwest League], it's not quite as consistent as what I'm used to in college," he said. "The stuff is better, they have more tools, they're just not quite there with their control yet."
Despite the two grand slams and three-run homer in 37 at-bats, the 21-year-old first baseman is looking to work on all facets of his game and raise his average, which stands at .216.
"I'm an average guy, too. It's been a weird two weeks for me," he said. "I'm just trying to make the adjustment to playing every day."
Everett starter Thyago Vieira yielded one hit and five walks while striking out one over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. The 20-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has allowed only six hits over 17 1/3 innings and ranks second in the Northwest League with a 0.52 ERA. A year ago, he posted a 6.05 ERA over 55 innings in the Venezuelan Summer League.
"He was good. He pounded the zone, he had a good changeup, he stayed consistent, kept the ball down and pounded the strike zone," Peterson said.
Nick Valenza (3-0) picked up the win, despite allowing three runs on three hits over the final three frames.
Everett extended its winning streak to six games and improved to a league-best 13-2.