Mattingly impressed with Peters' 'demeanor'

Prospect showing poise facing big league hitters

Mattingly impressed with Peters' 'demeanor'

JUPITER, Fla. -- Word started getting out this past year that left-hander Dillon Peters was on the fast track to reaching the big leagues. The 24-year-old, ranked by as the Marlins' No. 5 prospect, was successful at Class A Advanced Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.

On Saturday, Peters looked like he belonged on the game's biggest stage in the Marlins' 8-6 win over the Braves. He faced big league hitters, and he showed plenty of poise in two scoreless innings.

"I think we see a guy that is confident," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's on the attack out there. He doesn't look like a guy that is afraid at all. I heard about him all last year. Our guys in development really like him. In camp, they're proven to be right. He's a guy that's aggressive. He has good stuff."

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It wasn't completely smooth sailing for Peters when he faced mostly Atlanta regulars in the third and fourth innings. He yielded a leadoff double in the fourth to Freddie Freeman. But with one out and a runner on third, Peters had a take-notice, nine-pitch showdown with Nick Markakis. With the count full, he flipped a 78-mph curveball and got Markakis to tap a lazy fly ball to left field for the second out.

"He doesn't chase off the plate," Peters said. "I learned that really quickly. Basically, I was just throwing competitive pitches in the zone and trying to let him get himself out, because he's good enough to spoil my good ones."

Peters worked out of the jam by striking out Adonis Garcia with a breaking pitch.

"I'm just trying to show my competitiveness, my work ethic," Peters said. "I'm not scared to face any of these guys. I'm excited to get the opportunity. Just working hard and showing them what I've got."

The Marlins selected Peters in the 10th round in 2014, and the left-hander ran his fastball up to 92 mph on Saturday. He's been tracked at 94 mph this spring.

Most likely, Peters will start the year at Double-A Jacksonville. By midseason, he could be ready for the big leagues. The Marlins would like to see him build upon a strong 2016, when he went 14-6 with a 2.38 ERA in 24 starts over 128 2/3 innings, with 105 strikeouts and 20 walks. At Jupiter, he was 11-6 with a 2.46 ERA in 20 starts.

Peters got a taste of Double-A, where he went 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA in four starts in 22 2/3 innings.

"More than anything, not necessarily having success or lack of success, it's the way he's handling himself," Mattingly said. "It's the way his demeanor is, he's not afraid. He's attacking the strike zone. He's just going after people. That's what we really like to see."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.