Dillon Peters flashes his promise in Angels' victory over Mariners

Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

SEATTLE -- Dillon Peters may not be the long-term solution to the Los Angeles Angels' pitching woes.

But in Sunday's 9-3 victory over the Mariners, the 5-foot-11 left-hander made a case for why the Angels should consider keeping him around until Andrew Heaney recovers from a shoulder injury.

In his first start for the Angels this season, he struck out four batters and scattered four hits over five scoreless innings. His pitch count ballooned after facing five batters in the fourth inning, but he was mostly efficient. His fastball hovered around 91 mph and was effective enough to draw five swings and misses and receive eight called strikes. He flashed a promising curveball, too.

Yet it was Peters' sinker -- a pitch that bears in on left-handed hitters instead of cutting over the plate like his four-seam fastball -- that exalted this outing above others catcher Dustin Garneau witnessed as Peters' battery-mate in triple-A Salt Lake.

"In Salt Lake, with the altitude, it's hit or miss," said Garneau, whose solo home run in the eighth capped the Angels' offensive onslaught. "When it's on, we're running with it. If not, we stay away. But today, we were running with it. When he's got a feel for it, it's lights out for him."

The added offering strengthens a repertoire that was once advanced enough to earn Peters, 26, distinction as one of the best prospects in the Miami Marlins organization. And its development was one thing that underscored the Angels' under-the radar acquisition of Peters during the winter.


Peters had been designated for assignment after scrabbling to find a foothold with the Marlins last year. He battled command issues upon making his first major league opening-day roster and spent the year shuttling between triple-A and the big league club. He had a combined 5.94 earned-run average over 26 games (24 starts) in 2018 and did not earn a September call-up.

A restart with a new organization has helped Peters flourish, his 6.47 ERA at triple-A notwithstanding. His command has improved and with it his ground-ball rate.

"I've thrown the ball, for the most part, where I wanted to," Peters said.

The series victory did not do much for the Angels (52-49) in the standings. They remain six games out of second-place in the wild card and 12 games out of first place in the division.


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