The Tigers agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder DJ Peters, as first indicated on the transaction log at MiLB.com. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Toledo.
The 27-year-old Peters ranked among the Dodgers’ top 20 prospects at Baseball America from 2018-21, reaching the big leagues as a 25-year-old during the ’21 season but struggling in limited opportunities. Peters logged just 34 plate appearances with the Dodgers before being designated for assignment after they acquired Danny Duffy, at which point the Rangers claimed him off waivers.
While the Dodgers’ outfield was generally full at the time of that transaction, the Rangers had far more opportunity. Peters appeared in 52 games and tallied 206 plate appearances down the stretch in Texas, showing impressive power but also extremely shaky plate discipline. Overall, between the two clubs, Peters hit .197/.242/.422 with 13 home runs, nine doubles, a triple, a pair of steals, and 34.2% strikeout rate against a 5% walk rate in 240 plate appearances.
The Rangers retained Peters’ rights into the offseason but granted him his release in order to pursue an opportunity with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization. Peters improved on his K-BB profile in the KBO, fanning at a reduced 21.8% clip against a more palatable 7.3% walk rate. However, his .228/.299/.402 batting line in 354 trips to the plate still resulted in him being waived this past July.
Peters has long been touted for his above-average speed, huge raw power and the defensive tools needed to play center field, but he’s yet to break through in the game’s upper levels. He’s a career .240/.343/.415 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons, but he’s also punched out in 30.2% of his 540 plate appearances at that level. Unlike his brief stints in the Majors and in the KBO, Peters does have a strong 11% walk rate in Triple-A, at least.
It’s an intriguing set of tools overall, particularly for a Tigers club with little certainty in the outfield (as recently explored by MLBTR’s Anthony Franco). Former top prospect Riley Greene will presumably return to his role as the everyday center fielder, and he’ll be joined in the outfield by veteran Austin Meadows, who struggled at the plate in 2022 before missing time due to vertigo-like symptoms, a pair of Achilles injuries and eventually an agreed-upon absence with the team that allowed him to focus on his mental health, which he candidly disclosed to fans via social media.
The other outfield reps will be divided up among players like Akil Baddoo, Kerry Carpenter and trade acquisition Matt Vierling. Outfield prospect Parker Meadows — Austin’s younger brother — is also on Detroit’s 40-man roster, and they’ll have veteran speedster Jonathan Davis and well-regarded prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy (acquired from the Braves in exchange for Joe Jimenez) in camp as non-roster invitees. It’s feasible that the right-handed-hitting Peters could eventually play his way into that mix, especially when considering that each of Greene, Baddoo, Carpenter and both Meadows brothers bat from the left side of the plate.