When the non-roster spring training invitees were named for the San Diego Padres, it was a call to youth. The team is hoping for a surge from its big name prospects including former first-round shortstop, Jace Peterson. While Peterson may still be a couple years from the big leagues, his athleticism and promise are easy to see. The time with the big club will be helpful for the former two-sport athlete, but it is his own work ethic that has gotten him to this point. His work ethic is admirable, and his personality and interests erase the line between fan and professional athlete to make Peterson someone that is easy to cheer on.
It is clear that Peterson is an athlete just from looking at him. At 6-foot-0 and a little over 200 pounds, he still emits a physical presence. Peterson was a two-sport athlete at McNeese State, playing wide receiver for the Cowboys while setting a school record with 78 career stolen bases. Along the way he continues to play hard and hustle. That effort is what will get him to the Padres.
On the field he is projected as a top of the order hitter whose plate awareness is improving, and he is someone that can create havoc on the base paths. He generally makes contact, only striking out 174 times in 1350 plate appearances since being drafted in the 2011 supplemental first round. With High-A Lake Elsinore last season, Peterson stole 42 bases while being caught only 10 times. He has above-average tools across the board, including a strong arm and reliable defensive play.
Many fans will be able to relate to Peterson off the field as his Louisiana roots have given him a love for the outdoors. If you look through his social media accounts you will see plenty of hunting photos and other pictures of the wilderness. He also fondly speaks of his faith and shares his time with his family. Peterson seems genuine and shows where he learned to chase his dreams. The shortstop prospect is apparently also an expert pumpkin carver.
Peterson will join the 10th overall pick from the 2011 Draft, Cory Spangenberg, at spring training this month as the Padres hope to be looking at their future middle infield pairing. Both are among the team’s top 10 prospects according to Baseball America. Spangenberg may be closer to the major leagues than Peterson. Still, Peterson will work hard every day and could end up in AAA before the year ends.