Even after the loss of Noah Syndergaard the Mets have five viable MLB starters, but we all know in a typical season a teams depth will usually be tested. It’s not abnormal to use seven, eight or nine starting pitchers in a season (if not more). Considering the uncertainty facing the 2020 schedule and having depth becomes that much more important. For the Mets, that could mean a significant role for David Peterson.
The Mets’ first round pick in 2017, while Peterson hasn’t pitched above Double-A (he spent 116.0 innings at the level last season) he is the most likely starting pitcher prospect to make an impact in 2020. While the overall numbers weren’t impressive (4.19 ERA), the skills tell a little bit of a different story:
- Strikeouts – 9.47 K/9
- Control – 2.87 BB/9
- Groundballs – 52.6%
He did an even better job of generating groundballs in 2018 (66.7% at Single-A, 62.9% at High-A), though he also saw his strikeout rate rise. That’s a tradeoff that fantasy owners should be willing to accept, because even at his Double-A rate it’s easy to expect success for the southpaw.
Of course the repertoire, as described by MLB.com, isn’t going to blow you away:
- Fastball – “fastball is average in terms of velocity, as he’ll sit at 89-91 mph and touch 93, but few starters in the Minors can sink and command it as well as he does…” Baseball America adds that, “the extension in is delivery that makes his 87-92 mph fastball look faster”
- Slider – “plus slider that has good depth and bite, registering in the 82-84 mph range…”
- Changeup – “fringy changeup registers in the same velocity band and would benefit from more separation…“
The limited offerings is going to impact his ability to consistently work deep into games. How many times will he be able to get through a lineup with two pitches? Is that why, while still solid, his groundball and walk rates took a step back in 2019? It’s something to watch, and against even more advanced hitters it’s not impossible that the results go in the wrong direction once again.
Peterson should get an opportunity, and that’s going to put him on the map. At the same time his ceiling isn’t particularly high. He could have value, especially initially, but chances are he won’t be a difference maker in the Majors. Consider him more of a streaming option.
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball America
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball preseason rankings: