Mets take Oregon LHP Peterson with 20th pick

Southpaw's 20-strikeout game highlighted 'tremendous' 2017 season

June 12th, 2017

NEW YORK -- David Peterson was sick the week of April 28. Peterson was also stressed. The pitcher's friends and family were in town to watch one of his final few starts at the University of Oregon, and feeling under the weather wasn't going to help him make the best impression -- a worry that proved unfounded when Peterson climbed atop the mound and struck out 20 batters in a 123-pitch effort against Arizona State, constructing the signature outing of his collegiate career.

Less than two months later, Peterson found himself again surrounded by family and friends in Oregon, listening as the Mets called his name with the 20th overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. Peterson buried his face in his hands as those around him cheered, craning cell phones in his direction to preserve the memory.

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"It was incredible," Peterson said late Monday evening. "It was a dream come true. My dream in life has always been to be a professional baseball player and play in the Major Leagues. Being drafted in the first round by the Mets was very exciting to me. I was very overwhelmed by joy."

• Mets' 59th overall: Mark Vientos

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Much like last June, when they took Boston College pitcher Justin Dunn with their first-round selection, the Mets drafted a college starter in Peterson who could advance quickly through their system. Oregon's staff ace, Peterson went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season. He struck out a school-record 140 batters to finish second in the nation, walking just 15 in 100 1/3 innings.

"He had just a tremendous year this year," Mets vice president of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said. "He's one of those players, one of those pitchers that you feel like every time you see him pitch, he kept getting better."

As such, accolades have rained down upon him. Collegiate Baseball named Peterson a first-team All-American. Baseball America named him a third-teamer. He made the All-Pac-12 team with room to spare, and is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which USA Baseball presents annually to the country's best amateur player.

But the boldest headlines came when Peterson struck out 20 against Arizona State, not long after also racking up a 17-strikeout game.

"I felt like I was striking a bunch of guys out, but I didn't know the number," Peterson said. "It was just a night that I felt really on."

A 28th-round pick of the Red Sox out of high school in 2014, Peterson watched his stock drop in part due to a broken leg, making his decision to attend college an easier one. He spent the next three years developing a four-pitch repertoire that he delivers out of a 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame. At his best, Peterson says, he can throw any of the four for strikes.

The Mets capped Day 1 of their Draft with one other selection, second-round infielder Mark Vientos, who could perhaps one day play behind Peterson in Flushing.

"Overall tonight, we feel very fortunate to acquire two players we had on our first-round board," Tanous said. "I think it was one of those cases where sometimes the Draft breaks just right for you. It seemed to do so tonight."