When DJ Peters made his Triple-A debut last month, Oklahoma City knew it was getting a power-heavy right-handed bat. But after nearly three weeks in the Pacific Coast League, the Dodgers' No. 10 prospect is managing to exceed the already high expectations. Peters capped his second straight two-homer game with a blast
When DJ Peters made his Triple-A debut last month, Oklahoma City knew it was getting a power-heavy right-handed bat. But after nearly three weeks in the Pacific Coast League, the Dodgers' No. 10 prospect is managing to exceed the already high expectations.
Peters capped his second straight two-homer game with a blast that left the stadium as Oklahoma City rolled to an 11-3 win over San Antonio on Friday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. He went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, giving him seven RBIs in the last two contests.
Since his PCL debut on June 23, Peters has shown why he has a 60-grade power tool, according to MLB Pipeline. He laced two singles and drove in a run in his first game with Oklahoma City and has tacked on nine multi-hit games. After being promoted from Double-A Tulsa, Peters has put up a .370/.478/.795 slash line with eight dingers, five doubles and 21 RBIs.
He's made the jump from the Texas League look effortless, but he's had some help. A majority of Peters' success has stemmed from the relationship with Oklahoma City hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. Peters grew close with Coolbaugh prior to the season, and the two worked together often in Spring Training. Now, Coolbaugh helps guide Peters before each game.
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"I knew that I was ready," Peters said. "I was already very familiar with Coolbaugh. Him and I clicked right away.
"When a player has a really strong relationship with a coach, as a hitter it helps a lot," he added. "You trust that person, you trust the game plan they came up with. You get to talk with them about your own personal game plan, which is what Coolbaugh and I did today."
Whatever game plan the two agreed on definitely paid off. After connecting on a pair of two-run homers Thursday against Iowa, Peters did not miss a beat against the Missions. Leading off the bottom of the second, the 23-year-old barreled right-hander Thomas Jankins' 1-1 pitch to straightaway center field, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Peters wowed the crowd of 9,496 with his second blast. With one on and two out in the third, he worked the count to 3-1 against Jankins and uncorked a mammoth homer that hit the Hampton Inn hotel located across the street from the ballpark. The moonshot was his fifth homer in six games.
"He threw two balls in my 'go-zone' in counts that I was very comfortable in," Peters said. "[The second] one felt good, definitely a lot better than the first one. I knew it went far when I hit it, but I didn't know how far until after."
Peters weaved quickly through the Dodgers farm system, jumping straight to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga after his rookie season. He spent the 2018 season with Double-A Tulsa and played 68 games with the Drillers this season before being promoted. He debuted in the PCL alongside Dodgers second-ranked prospect Gavin Lux, joining a team already stacked with talent, including fourth-ranked prospect Will Smith, No. 6 Dennis Santana and No. 12 Edwin Ríos.
For Los Angeles' future, the development of his Triple-A teammates excites Peters, who grew up roughly 40 miles from Dodger Stadium.
"When I was drafted by the Dodgers, it was an absolute blessing," he said. "This is a special place and a special team. We have really good players, even though the record in the first half doesn't really show that. It's a really good group of guys here.
"Our lineup is packed every night," he added. "We're going to have six elite guys that will kill the ball. I would not want to be the one to make the lineup out, that's for sure."
Lux, MLB.com's No. 30 overall prospect, extended his hitting streak to 16 games, dating back to his Triple-A debut, but snapped his streak of five straight games with a home run. The team backed him up plenty, though. Besides Peters' two dingers, Smith, Kyle Garlick and Zach Reks all slugged long balls, with Smith and Reks each blasting a two-run jack, while Garlick connected on a solo shot. Reks finished with three RBIs and Smith tallied two.
For the Missions, Brewers No. 7 prospectLucas Erceg ripped a solo dinger and 30th-ranked Trent Grisham also homered, extending his hitting streak to seven games.
Katie Woo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.