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Don’t overlook Marlins rookie Dillon Peters

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Miami’s southpaw starter Dillon Peters reaches the major leagues on talent and success, not hype.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

On September 1st the Miami Marlins promoted pitching prospect Dillon Peters to the major league roster. His MLB debut against the Philadelphia Phillies was a resounding success: seven shutout innings, three hits, three walks, eight strikeouts. His second start against the Washington Nationals on September 6th was a bit more human, with three runs over five innings on six hits and two walks, though he did fan six.

The Marlins will take a good look at Peters the rest of the month and you should too. He hasn’t received a lot of hype but there are a lot of positives here.

Peters was drafted in the 10th round in 2014 from the University of Texas. The draft position was deceptive: he was viewed as a second round talent by most but he needed Tommy John surgery so his draft stock dropped.

After successful rehab in 2015 Peters came out strong in ‘16, posting a 2.38 ERA with a 105/20 K/BB in 129 innings between High-A and Double-A. Pre-season, Peters ranked seventh on the Miami Marlins Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with this comment:

7) Dillon Peters, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 10th round pick from University of Texas in 2014; posted 2.38 ERA with 105/20 K/BB in 129 innings between High-A and Double-A; undersized even for a lefty at 5-9 but there’s some zip in the arm with 92-94 MPH fastball and a solid curve; also has a decent change-up and throws strikes with everything; quite polished with good mound presence and make-up; potential number four starter. ETA 2018.

Another injury struck Peters this spring: he suffered multiple fractures in his throwing thumb in April, but he came back in July and was extremely effective, posting a 1.97 ERA in 46 innings in Double-A with a 40/11 K/BB. This was enough to earn a major league look and so far it’s gone well.

Peters is smaller than typical for an MLB pitcher at 5-9 but he has no shortage of arm strength, with a fastball at 90-94 MPH, occasionally a touch higher. The heat plays up due to contrast with his plus curveball and he’s developed his change-up into a quality pitch as well. He throws all three pitches for strikes, and can hit every velocity spot between 75 and 95 MPH. His stuff is pretty “heavy” and he generates a lot of grounders, avoiding home runs (at least in the minors). Makeup and mound presence are also positives.

With just 13 Double-A starts and no Triple-A starts on his resume, it is tempting to say that Peters could use more minor league polish. I’m not sure that’s true in his case. Sometimes a guy is just ready and Peters has certainly looked that way in his first two outings.

He’s always been an effective pitcher when healthy and that could very well remain true in the majors. Peters may end up having a longer and more successful career than other pitchers with more press clippings.