The Phillies announced this morning that they’ve acquired outfielder Dustin Peterson from the Brewers in exchange for cash and assigned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Peterson, 27, was the No. 50 overall draft pick by the Padres back in 2013 and was well-regarded enough a year later to be one of four players San Diego traded to Atlanta in exchange for then-star outfielder Justin Upton. Peterson, however, never put together a particularly lengthy run of success in the upper minors. He made a brief big league appearance with the Braves in 2018, going hitless in two plate appearances, before the rebuilding Tigers plucked him off waivers that September.
Detroit gave Peterson a bit more of a run in 2019, but he still received what could charitably be described as a cup of coffee in the Majors. Peterson logged 17 games and 47 plate appearances as a Tiger in 2019, hitting .227/.277/.318 with four doubles, a stolen base and a 14-to-2 K/BB ratio.
The 2021 season was perhaps Peterson’s most productive in Triple-A, as he spent the year with the Brewers’ top affiliate and posted a solid .271/.347/.416 batting line with nine home runs and 15 doubles in 329 trips to the plate. Encouragingly, the righty-swinging Peterson walked at a 9.1% clip that ranked as the best mark of his minor league career and struck out in just 13.4% of his plate appearances — far and away the lowest rate of his career. He’s only had 11 plate appearances in Triple-A so far this season but has continued those trends in that microscopic sample, walking four times against just one strikeout. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Peterson is a .268/.327/.394 hitter.
Originally drafted as a third baseman, Peterson moved to the outfield after just two minor league seasons and has been primarily a left fielder to this point in his professional career. His 3826 innings there are more than he has at every other position combined, though it’s worth pointing out that in addition to his third base experience back in 2013-14, Peterson has logged more than 1000 innings at first base and more than 400 in right field.
The addition of Peterson is likely more about minor league depth than it is near-term help for the MLB roster. The Phils lost both Odubel Herrera and Mickey Moniak to early injuries, and they also traded Adam Haseley to the White Sox late in Spring Training. That’s prompted them to bring Simon Muzziotti up to the big leagues and lean on Matt Vierling in center field. Peterson will join Roman Quinn, Justin Williams, John Andreoli and Jorge Bonifacio in the outfield mix with Lehigh Valley for the time being, though it’s possible that with a big showing in Triple-A, he could work his way up to the Majors at some point.
This marks the second time in as many weeks that Milwaukee has traded away a fairly productive depth option in exchange for cash. The Brewers traded infielder/outfielder Jamie Westbrook to Detroit in exchange for cash on April 13.