If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA, 7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.
Scouting Report: Let’s just get this out of the way in the first sentence, Peters is short. At 5’9 he’s one of the shortest starters in baseball this side of Marcus Stroman. He’s not small however, as he’s stoutly built, but you do notice his height when he’s on the mound. With some injuries over the last year +, it’s fair to question the lefties durability. It’s also easy to see why scouts probably immediately dismissed him, despite playing big time college ball at Texas. Peters arsenal is a classic three pitch mix, comprised of a low 90’s-high 80’s fastball, a high to mid 70’s curveball, and a mid to low 80’s changeup. He’s often lauded for his sequencing and backwards approach to pitching, but from what I’ve seen, he still tends to lead with his heat. After watching Peters first start of his two turn week vs the Phillies, I will say I was surprised at just how hard his fastball is, touching 93-94 consistently. The announcers in Sunday’s game discussed a two-seamer, but they might have been mistaken as I neither observed nor read anything about Peters featuring a second variation of his hardball. The four-seamer accounts for a slight majority of Peters usage, checking in at a 45% rate. He generates a high amount of groundball contact with the pitch, though the batting average against of .342, calls into question it’s effectiveness. Despite often leading with his four-seamer, Peters’ bread and butter is his curveball. He has a Rich Hill like usage rate on the hook of 38%, and by all accounts and measures looks like an above average to plus offering. It’s a heavy ground ball inducing pitch with an insane 81% GB%, and a batting average against of .243. It’s also his best barrel missing offering, with a hearty SwStr% of 19.2%. His third offering is a mid-80’s changeup with some slight movement, that misses bats at a good rate (14% SwStr%), and gets the least amount of contact with a batting average against of .200. I wouldn’t categorize Peters as a junkballer, but I wouldn’t label him as a stuff guy either. He’s a pitchability and control type, using advanced sequencing, and the ability to locate any pitch, any where in the zone, in any count. Whether or not his early success, and minor league stats continue is a major question.
Starts inning off with a one pitch out as Peters gets Hernan Perez to fly to left on a 93 MPH fastball. The next at bat he hangs a breaking ball over the plate and Domingo Santana hits it through Dee Gordon for a base hit. You can see Peters curveball below.
Gets into a 2-2 count on Ryan Braun before he gets Braun to bite on a curveball, that the outfielder grounds to third.
After falling behind 2-0 to Travis Shaw, Peters battles back with an inside fastball, and then a high fastball. With the count even at 2-2, the lefty pulls the string on him with the hook to end the inning.
The second frame starts off with a hit by Jesus Aguilar on a weekly struck ball up the middle. A play the laid out Rojas should have made. But poor defensive positioning, and a subsequent injury trying to make the play led to the ball sneaking through. The next batter is catcher Manny Pina, Peters gets up 0-2 before putting Pina away on a high fastball. For such a groundball heavy starter he’s not afraid to challenge hitters high.
After getting ahead on Keon Broxton, Peters breaks out his offspeed pitch and gets the outfielder to fly out to center on the changeup.
A second slow roller makes it’s way through the middle of the outfield. That’s two hits this inning that might have been avoided with better positioning. The next batter is the pitcher Brandon Woodruff, after falling behind 2-0, Peters evens the count, and gets Woodruff to ground out to second. All in all a solid inning. Peters’ fastball is far better than I anticipated, and he does do a good job of sequencing his pitches.
The next batter Ryan Braun takes a couple of balls and a strike before grounding a 92 MPH fastball to short for the inning ending double play.
This is the inning where the wheels fell off for Peters, as he allowed 8 runs on 6 hits and a walk. The inning started out with a single by Travis Shaw, which was followed by a double off the bat of Jesus Aguilar, which was followed by a single from Manny Pina that drove in the first run. Peters then bore down and struck out Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia, before walking the pitcher. From there it was double, single, walk, and single, and voila 8 runs!
Summary: As I mentioned earlier in the post I actually intended to profile Peter’s start vs. the Phillies earlier in the week. Despite the Philly start being a better result, his stuff (at least through the first three innings) was much crisper on Sunday than it was on Tuesday. That being said, his 4th inning was disastrous leaving pitches over the heart of the plate, and then walking Woodruff was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I do like Peters three pitch mix, and think he could be a solid, if unspectacular starter in the majors. A infield with stellar defense up the middle would greatly improve Peters’ ability to sustain success. He’s so groundball dependent that the Rojas injury really had an impact as the first three hits of the game were all dribblers that barely escaped the infield.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
- Is anyone looking at what Sal Romano is doing the last month? Since August 18th Romano is 3-1 over 6 starts with a 2.09 ERA, 54% GB%, .233 BAA, and a 1.16 WHIP. He’s still not missing tons of bats (9.5% SwStr, 18.5% K%), but he’s keeping the ball in the ballpark and limiting the walks. Both of those matter in Great American Ball Park. Not sure of the long term outlook, but he shouldn’t be dismissed.
- Great starts from Matt Boyd and Daniel Mengden this past week. Boyd allowed only two baserunners to reach in his masterful complete game shutout vs the White Sox on Sunday. While Mengden only allowed two baserunners to reach in his own 9 inning gem vs the Phillies on Friday. Neither is overly exciting but just goes to show, play the matchups down the stretch.
- Rest of season Luke Weaver is well within my top 20, I was almost going to put him ahead of C-Mart, but I refrained. That said last two starts who you got C-Mart of the Dream Weaver? I’m taking Luke W.
- Yesterday’s poor showing makes my Sonny Gray rank look off, but I trust him as much as anyone these last two weeks.
- Lucas Giolito is getting by on good vibes and bad farts. Seriously he’s 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA, but the underlying peripherals are sending the regression fairies invites to a crash down party on their very best stationary. A 5.30 FIP, 1.71 HR/9, 89.4% left on base, and a .160 BABIP, scream run for the hills. So run for said hills accordingly.