MadFriars' Spring Training: Dustin Peterson

Peoria, AZ - Dustin Peterson, 19, was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by the San Diego Padres. Dustin's brother D.J., a star at the University of New Mexico and four years older, was taken in the first round by the Seattle Mariners in the same draft. Last year he was part of one of the more talented teams that the organization has sent to the Arizona League in a long time.

He hit .293/.337/.344 as part of a talented infield and moreover of a team that was considered one of the best in the league. The 2013 AZL Padres sent 12 players to Fort Wayne, an unheard of number when usually two or three players at the most are sent to the Summit City.

At six-foot-two and 200 lbs. the Padres immediately moved him from shortstop to third base as a professional, but some also believe he has the ability to play second as well. He had a bit of a rough start in the field with an .827 fielding percentage but he was also playing a new position.

As he becomes more acclimated to the pro game we should see more power out of Peterson than last year in the AZL league when he had only eight extra-base hits in 38 games. So far in the first seven games with the TinCaps he has four extra-base hits but the transition to third base is still a work in progress with four errors in six games.

As with most of the young guys at Fort Wayne there will be some growing pains to go along with a lot of talent and potential.

We caught up with Dustin at the end of spring training.

How did your first season go? How was the adjustment from playing in high school to playing as a professional?

Dustin Peterson: The first season was good and it was definitely a good experience. It really helped me being at home, it was just so convenient.

How was changing from playing a couple times a week to playing every day?

Dustin Peterson: You know its a job. That is what I signed up for. It's awesome and there is nothing that I would rather be doing.

In high school you played shortstop and with the Padres you have been at third base. How much of an adjustment has that been for you?

Dustin Peterson: Not much really. Its still the same side of the infield. A bit of a hockey goalie?

Dustin Peterson: [laughs] Maybe in a way, but its still the same side, so I enjoy it.

Hopefully I can stay there as long as possible.

Arizona is a good state for high school baseball, so how did you find the competition?

Dustin Peterson: Mainly just the pitching. You see consistent 90 MPH everyday while in high school its not as common.

The biggest adjustment was just shortening up and not trying to do too much.

Since there is an earlier signing date how much did it help you to get a season of the AZL under your belt as compared to in the past when you may not have been able to get out here?

Dustin Peterson: It helped me a ton. I definitely got some good work in and it was to my advantage.

What was the big lesson that you took from playing last year?

Dustin Peterson: Mainly just getting used to playing everyday and how much you need to prepare to play everyday.

How do you deal with wanting to do well and at that same time trying to not press too much? I'm sure you would like to hit 30 home runs this year in Fort Wayne.

Dustin Peterson: I don't think any of us really press too much because we chose this and had a pretty good idea of what it was going to be like by not going to college.

You just relax and go about your business. When you don't do that is when you get in trouble.

How big a decision was it for you to not go to college? Now when they write the contracts they also guarantee the organization will pay for you to go back if you choose.

Dustin Peterson: The toughest thing for me was that my brother went to college and I thought I could also have had some success. But the spot I got selected at was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

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