To play in the All-Star Futures Game is an honor for everyone involved, whether you’re playing for America or the Americas. For many, like Seattle Mariners prospect and Gilbert’s own D.J. Peterson, it’s a glimpse of the big league dream.
“Getting to see what the average day life is for a big leaguer is the biggest experience here,” Peterson said. “They get to fly charter. The hotel: they get to stay in a very nice hotel and get escorted in and out as they go.”
Although the purpose of the All-Star Futures Game is to showcase Major League Baseball’s shiny new toys, some toys are shinier than others. Some even get the MLB All-Star treatment.
“I saw [Chicago Cubs top prospect] Kris Bryant in the airport getting escorted out by police because he was being swarmed by fans,” Peterson said.
Right now Peterson doesn’t command that type of star power yet, but there has been progress. This season, the 22-year-old first baseman has a slash line of .323/.380/.606 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs in both Single-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, where he was recently promoted.
Peterson is not just in the Futures Game for himself or the Mariners, who will likely call him up after their Justin Smoak/Corey Hart/Logan Morrison experiment. He’s also here for his younger brother Dustin Peterson.
The younger Peterson has been following his older brother’s example since the very beginning. He saw D.J. go through college at the University of New Mexico and after learning what college ball is like from him, he decided to sign with the San Diego Padres upon being selected 50th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft rather than play for Arizona State University.
Now he’s trying to gain insight on the All-Star festivities through D.J.’s experience.
“[Dustin] has been texting me wanting to know what it’s like,” Peterson said. “I just keep telling him ‘You’re gonna be here in two years anyway, so you can tell me what it’s like.’”
Playing in the Futures Game serves a getting one’s foot in the door to the major leagues. Eight players from last year’s USA roster currently play in the big leagues while four more made their MLB debut that same season.
It won’t be long before Peterson starts getting countless texts from his brother about the big league experience.