Glendale, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training camps, we'll sit down with prospects and get to know them a little better. At Dodgers camp, it was No. 6 prospect DJ Peters. The Dodgers' fourth-round pick from the 2016 Draft has huge power that
Glendale, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training camps, we'll sit down with prospects and get to know them a little better. At Dodgers camp, it was No. 6 prospect DJ Peters.
The Dodgers' fourth-round pick from the 2016 Draft has huge power that he showed off in college -- setting a Westen Nevada CC record with 16 homers in the program's final year -- and has continued to do so as a pro, hitting 13 homers in 66 games in 2016 and hitting 27 in 132 games in 2017.
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MLB Pipeline: As someone who was a two-sport athlete growing up, was it tough to give up basketball?
Peters: No, it wasn¹t because I always kind of knew that baseball was what I'd go on to play in college and hopefully professionally. I loved playing basketball, loved the atmosphere of it -- I was a power forward and center -- but I knew after high school I wasn¹t going to go as far in that as baseball. It turned out to be a good decision on my behalf, and I still like to go shoot around, check out some games and practices.
MLB Pipeline: Who would you say is responsible for helping get you to this point in your career?
Peters: I would have to say my grandfather and my dad. They pushed me. They were the ones who introduced me to the game, and my grandfather introduced me to the Dodgers when I was 6 years old.
MLB Pipeline: Since you grew up a Dodgers fan, how crazy is it to now be a part of that organization?
Peters: When the Dodgers drafted me in 2016, I saw it as a blessing, like, 'This is where I need to be, this is what I want to do.' It was a no-brainer.
MLB Pipeline: You were drafted twice before the Dodgers took you in 2016. Did you come close to signing at all?
Peters: Out of high school I knew I wasn¹t ready, I guess you could say. I knew that whether I wnet to college for one, two or three years that I¹d be ready. So I opted out, went to Western Nevada and was drafted again by the Rangers, but I loved Western Nevada so much that I wanted to go back for my sophomore year.
MLB Pipeline: What happened between the first and last time you were drafted?
Peters: I kind of just matured and grew into my body. I was always big and strong, but understanding the nutrition and workout parts and working on the things I needed to work on and not being stubborn. Really understanding myself, my body, and just growing up.
MLB Pipeline: Who was your favorite Dodger growing up? Why?
Peters: Shawn Green was my favorite Dodger growing up. Honestly, I think it was the game where he hit four home runs out in Milwaukee -- I was, I think, six-and-half years old when that happened, and I wanted to model my game after him. I have not met him yet, but hope to during Spring Training. I hear he's out there from time to time.
MLB Pipeline: Talk a little bit about the game last season in which you hit two home runs off of Madison Bumgarner in the same inning.
Peters: It was just like any other game. It was the day after the Fourth of July, my girlfriend was in town with me, and I remember being excited to face him that day. I wanted to see what the Major League level was like. I got to face him three times, got a hold of him twice. It was a time and a moment that I'll never forget, with my teammates there and my girlfriend being there. I got both balls back, the tickets to the game, the lineup card -- the whole deal. Things I'll cherish forever.
MLB Pipeline: When you're the California League MVP and had the type of season that you had, what do [the Dodgers] tell you that you need to work on?
Peters: Kind of just grow up, like I said, mature more, work on my game here and there. I did have a great year, but I know there are things that I need to improve on. The organization knows that as well.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.