2017 MLB Draft: David Peterson is first Pac-12 player taken; 4 players selected on first day
The 2017 MLB Draft is underway, and we'll update this piece every time a Pac-12 player is taken.
— Rob Moseley (@GoDucksMoseley) June 12, 2017
David Peterson, Oregon: New York Mets (1st round, 20th overall pick)
The Mets picked themselves a strikeout machine. Peterson, a massive presence at 6-foot-6 and 240-pounds, took two full college seasons to grow into his potential. His stuff has long made scouts salivate: A tall southpaw who can reach the mid-90s with sink on his fastball generates intrigue without fail.
But Peterson's command didn't kick in until his recently completed junior year – and that's what converted intrigue into a first round draft selection.
Peterson struck out a remarkable 140 batters over 100 innings of work in 2017, walking only 15 batters in that span. That's better than a 9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for Peterson, which was the best figure in Division I baseball for most of the season.
Now that Peterson has his control issues figured out, the Mets will hope that he can take the fast track to the majors. There's true workhorse potential here, especially given the lefty's size. He'll work to increase the bite on his curveball to complement an already formidable fastball-changeup combination.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 13, 2017
Drew Rasmussen, Oregon State: Tampa Bay Rays (Compensatory Round A, 31st overall pick)
The Beavers are Omaha-bound, and it comes as no surprise that one of their pitchers has gone high in the 2017 MLB Draft. Oregon State's staff leads the nation witha 1.80 ERA, and Rasmussen is one of its stalwarts: His 0.83 ERA represents a sensational return from Tommy John surgery.
There was uncertainty about Rasmussen's ability to play at all this season after he completely tore his ulnar collateral ligament in March 2016 following a freshman year during which he threw the only perfect game in Oregon State program history.
But Rasmussen recovered and has returned with a bang this year, hitting the mid-90s with his fastball while showing familiar sink with changeup and bite with his slider. At 22-to-5, Rasmussen's strikeout-to-walk ratio has been excellent, and the Rays have certainly considered his recovery from elbow reconstruction surgery a success.
Tampa Bay fully expects this strong-shouldered, 6-foot-1 hurler to pitch for the big club in the future.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) June 13, 2017
Griffin Canning, UCLA: Los Angeles Angels (2nd round, 47th overall pick)
Canning posted an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a freshman at UCLA three seasons ago, a stellar figure that immediately put him high up on the 2017 MLB Draft board. Now finished with his junior campaign, Canning still isn't a physical specimen, checking in at a modest size 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. But he throws like an exceptionally tall pitcher, sitting in the 90s with the fastball while commanding a full curve, slider, and changeup arsenal to complement that heat.
Canning's excellent numbers this year – a 2.34 ERA with 140 strikeouts over 119 innings of work – are a testament to his versatility and polish. He's a bona fide middle-of-the-rotation MLB prospect, and the Angels fully believe that, even despite a recent MRI scare.
— UCLA Baseball (@UCLABaseball) June 13, 2017
J.J. Matijevic, Arizona: Houston Astros (Compensatory Round B, 75th Overall Pick)
Houston has netted an excellent and supremely athletic shortstop – something that always comes with significant value in professional baseball. Matijevic has been a key piece of Arizona's successful machine over the past three years, and he has shown proficiency with his bat as a consistent line drive hitter to complement excellent defensive play.
Matijevic has one of the smoothest left-handed swings in the draft – it's built to shoot doubles down the line, but has also developed power after he made key adjustments in the Cape Cod League as a freshman. These fixes turned Matijevic into a bona fide threat at the plate, and the silkiness that the Astros like is evidenced here:
When @ArizonaBaseball's JJ Matijevic is at bat, count on this: That ⚾️ stands no chance.
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) June 12, 2017
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