MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Improved Peterson leads Peoria to victory

Mariners prospect picks up pair of hits as Javelinas win 3-1 over Scottsdale

Improved Peterson leads Peoria to victory

PEORIA, Ariz. -- D.J. Peterson is enjoying his second trip to the Arizona Fall League more than his first. The Mariners corner infielder collected two more hits Saturday night as his Peoria Javelinas beat the Scottsdale Scorpions 3-1.

Peterson spent 2014 in the AFL with the Surprise Saguaros and struggled, batting .169/.290/.280 with 15 strikeouts in 16 games. He has fared much better this time around, notching three multi-hit games in his first five contests. He's batting .389/.450/.778 and already has more homers (two) and RBIs (seven) than he did last fall.

"Last year, I tried to do too much," Peterson said. "I tried to impress instead of sticking to my game plan and going to right-center. I was a hook monster, trying to hit everything out to left field.

"It was kind of a spiral effect. You come out here and try to do too much, and everyone is too good. The arms are too good. The defense is too good. You're not going to have success."

The 12th overall pick in 2013, Peterson came out of New Mexico with the reputation of being perhaps the best all-around college hitter in his Draft class. He delivered on that promise by batting .297/.360/.552 with 31 homers and 111 RBIs while reaching Double-A in his first full pro season, but his AFL woes seemed to carry into 2015.

Peterson dropped to .223/.290/.346 with seven homers in 93 games at Double-A then injured his left foot shortly after getting promoted to Triple-A in late July. He missed the final five weeks of the regular season rehabbing his foot, then took time off before joining the Javelinas.

"Mentally, I don't think I ever prepared to fail," said Peterson, 23. "Failing this season and in the Fall League taught me a lot as a player, what I needed to do to get back on pace.

"I went back to my college swing at the end of the season and it seemed to work. It's just approach, nothing mechanical. Swing at good pitches and drive the ball to right-center."

Although Peterson had two of Peoria's six hits, he didn't factor in any of the scoring in an odd game. The Javelinas (4-4) won despite not tallying an earned run or an RBI. They got outhit 15-6 by the Scorpions (4-5), who stranded 16 runners and had three others erased on the bases.

Big leaguer James Paxton (Mariners) earned his first victory of the AFL season while allowing six hits and eight baserunners in four innings. Shortstop Christian Arroyo (Giants), third baseman Jacoby Jones (Tigers) and DH Adam Brett Walker II (Twins) had three hits apiece for Scottsdale.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.