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Peterson delivers on power promise
Top Mariners pick has first two-homer game in AquaSox win
07/07/2013 2:16 AM ET
DJ Peterson leads the Northwest League with five homers in 17 games.
DJ Peterson leads the Northwest League with five homers in 17 games. (Shari Sommerfeld/MiLB.com)

It's always nice for an organization when a top Draft pick immediately flashes the skills that made him such a high selection in the first place.

The Seattle Mariners can attest to that.

D.J. Peterson, drafted 12th overall last month, recorded his first two-homer game as a pro on Saturday night to power short-season Everett to a 14-8 victory over Salem-Keizer.

The 21-year-old first baseman slugged leadoff blasts in the second and eighth innings and leads the Northwest League with five in 17 games. He's also tied for second with 18 RBIs and ranks fifth with a .515 slugging percentage.

All the pre-Draft reports that cited Peterson's power, such as the one delivered by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, had this kind of debut in mind.

"He's an advanced hitter with plus power, one who's not afraid to take a walk. Some scouts felt he was the best pure hitter, especially in the college ranks, in the entire class," Mayo wrote.

Peterson hit .408/.520/.807 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs in 55 games as a junior at the University of New Mexico. Through his first three weeks in the Minor Leagues, he boasts a .250/.316/.515 line. The two-time All-American had been mired in a 3-for-20 slump but broke out with a four-hit performance on Thursday, then went 3-for-5 and scored three times Saturday.

Peterson also has played for Team USA and told MLB.com after the Draft that the experience, along with three college seasons, had given him the requisite experience to develop an advanced approach at the plate and round out his defensive game.

"Just the maturity, the plate discipline, being able to handle the bat with two strikes, cutting down on my punchouts, my footwork, my time to first base, my range at third base," he said. "I'm sure if you asked the scouting department at the Mariners, they're probably in shock about how much I improved my defensive skills and my speed. I worked on all those things, and it paid off for me and pushed me to this first-round pick."

Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara called Peterson "one of the best hitters in college baseball."

"We liked him out of high school. We liked his bat. He actually came here for the pre-Draft workout as a senior in high school. He's a likeable guy. He'll be a good clubhouse guy. But most importantly, he can hit," McNamara said.

Immediately after the Draft, Peterson said, "I'm going to come in and hit for power and drive in a lot of runs for the Seattle Mariners and hit a lot of home runs."

So far, that's been the case.

Justin Seager, the Mariners' 12th-round pick and brother of Seattle's Kyle Seager, hit his first Minor League homer, doubled and drove in two runs for Everett. Bryan Brito went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored out of the ninth spot in the lineup, while Christian Carmichael collected three hits, including his first homer.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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