UO's David Peterson goes to Mets, 'honored and thankful'
The New York Mets selected University of Oregon pitcher David Peterson with the 20th pick in the first round of the MLB draft on Monday night.
"A dream come true," Peterson said. "My dream in life has always been to be a professional baseball player and play in the major leagues.
"I was very overwhelmed with joy."
Peterson, a 6-6, 240-pound left-hander, was a 28th-round selection, 854th overall (by the Boston Red Sox) when he came out of high school in 2014. He chose to play college baseball instead of signing with the team.
Peterson, 21, said he was "honored and thankful" for being chosen by the Mets.
"Such a wonderful orgnization I watched growing up," he said. "I look forward to celebrate being picked and in the coming days will move on with things. I'm honored and very excited.
"My goal is to be an impact in the rotation and play in the major leagues for a long time."
Scouts report that Peterson has a fastball in the range of 94 miles per hour and a slider in the mid-80s. He said he uses four pitches, and "when I'm my best, I believe I can throw any of those pitches for strikes."
This season, as a junior, Peterson was 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA and a school-record 140 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings. He walked only 13 batters.
"My greatest strength is probably being the competitor I am," he said. "Giving the team 100 percent is always my motto."
He was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was a semifinalist for national player of the year honors.
He ranks second all-time at Oregon with 273 career strikeouts and is sixth in wins with 19.
He was named national pitcher of the month twice in 2017, gaining the honor for March and April.
Peterson hails from Denver and prepped at Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, California.
Peterson had a 20-strikeout game, with four hits allowed, this year as Oregon beat Arizona State 2-0 at PK Park.
"It was one of the best performances in my life," he said. "Definitely a win I'm very proud of.
"I didn't know how many I was at. I felt like I was striking a bunch of guys out. It was a really special night. It was just a night I felt really on."
The Mets also selected pitcher Mark Vientos, a high school third baseman, with their second-round pick, No. 59 overall. He played for American Heritage High in Florida, and is 6-4, 190 pounds.
"Sometimes the draft breaks just right for you, and it seemed to do that tonight," said Tommy Tanous, the Mets' vice president of internatonal and amateur scouting, adding that both picks were on New York's first-round draft board.
"David pitched for Team USA last summer, probably the highlest level you can pitch as an amateur," Tanous said. "We came into the year with both players fairly high on our radar.
"David had just a tremendous year. He's one of those players, you feel like every time you saw him pitch, he kept getting better."