Ed Gardner - Mississippi Braves

Mississippi LF Dustin Peterson getting into the conversation for the future

Who has likely been the player of the year in the Braves' farm system? Most likely Dustin Peterson in Mississippi.

Mississippi left fielder Dustin Peterson is having a tremendous season. Peterson turns 22 on September 10, but you'd never think this young man is overwhelmed by the Southern League. In fact, he's one of that league's best players this season.

Peterson is now hitting .296 with 9 home runs and 75 runs batted in, a .353 on base percentage and 34 doubles.

Since June 1, Peterson is hitting .333 (79-237) with 4 home runs, 49 RBI, 21 doubles and a .381 (98-257) on base percentage.

Peterson leads the Southern League in hits (127) and doubles. He is second in RBI and is tied for fifth in batting average.

Has Peterson improved over the last three years - his first three years in pro ball? Yes.

Peterson's batting average has gone from .233 in 2014 to .251 last season and then .296 this season.

Peterson's on base percentage has gone from .274 in 2014 to .317 last season and then .353 this season.

Peterson's at bats per strikeout has improved:
2014 - 3.85
2015 - 4.90
2016 - 5.64

The Braves currently have a lot of outfielders for next season. Matt Kemp was just acquired last week. He can play left and right field. The same for Nick Markakis, who is mainly a right fielder, but he could play in left.

Ender Inciarte, who has his batting average up to .269 for this season, can play all outfield spots. The same for Mallex Smith, who is on the disabled list with a broken thumb.

That's four players. The Braves could decide to trade one before next year. But Peterson's solid play in left field for Double-A Mississippi now has him in the conversation.

Peterson is still very young, and the chances are he'll start next season back in the minor leagues. But if Peterson does well in Triple-A, he's going to be knocking on the door for a spot in Atlanta sometime next summer.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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