Now in the San Diego Padres organization, infielder Dustin Peterson has transitioned well from the aluminum bats of high school to the wooden bats in the Arizona League.
He’s batting .266 with four doubles and five RBIs through the first 15 games of his minor league career.
But at one point, the former Gilbert high school star could’ve been one of Arizona State’s top baseball recruits.
Peterson was fortunate enough to choose between playing for hometown Arizona State and starting his pro career with the Padres’ Arizona League team. Because of the great legacy of the Sun Devils baseball program, he felt there was no such thing as a wrong choice.
Even though he chose to go pro after being selected 50th overall by the Padres in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft, he appreciated being wanted.
“It was a tough decision,” Peterson said. “I got what I wanted from the draft. It was kind of just seeing how high was I going to get picked and what was going to get me to not go to college.”
“ASU is a great school, a top-notch school. It was tough to turn down.”
He was also joined in the draft celebration by his older brother D.J. Peterson, who was taken 12th overall by Seattle. D.J. played college ball at the University of New Mexico for three years, which allowed Dustin to gain an understanding of what being a collegiate baseball player was all about.
“It gave me a lot of leverage with the draft, too, because scouts and people seeing him go to college for three years and do what he did in college and then, ‘Oh shoot, he’s got a younger brother!’ Let’s not wait three years for him,’ Dustin said. “Let’s get him out of high school. It helped me and it helped me understand the whole process.”
The two were lucky enough to be drafted by two teams who share the same minor league complex. Even though D.J. is playing for the Everett Aqua Sox in Single-A and Dustin is playing rookie ball, they will be each other in Peoria when their first professional seasons are over and they’re working on opposite sides during the instructional league.
It could make for the beginning of a sibling rivalry.
“Absolutely,” Peterson said. “Anytime I get to see him it’s a privilege. We’re best buds.”
For now, the Padres’ infielder is enjoying the life of a minor league rookie in his own backyard: Living in a hotel suite that resembles a college apartment, traveling within the Valley and playing baseball with his new teammates reminds Peterson of his high school days.
“I’m still pretty much at home,” he said before heading out for the first inning.