With the 2021 season having come to a close, we are looking back at the year that was for members of the Texas Rangers.
Today we are looking at outfielder DJ Peters.
The DJ Peters Experience was fun. In a lost, terrible 2021 season, DJ Peters offered excitement and joy in a fashion that we rarely saw this year.
Claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 2, Peters essentially replaced Joey Gallo on the roster and in the lineup. He was fast and made great plays in the outfield and hit home runs that went really far, and you’d hear the occasional “maybe the Rangers got someone almost as good as Gallo for free.”
The problem is that, while Peters hit the ball really far like Joey Gallo, and struck out a lot like Joey Gallo, he didn’t walk like Joey Gallo did. In 206 plate appearances for the Rangers in 2021, Peters struck out 68 times, and walked just four times. That’s really bad.
How bad? Well, in the history of the Rangers, this was only the 6th time that a player had 200+ plate appearances in a season with a walk rate below 2%.
Of the other five, two are names that are remembered less than fondly by those who experienced the days of Rangers early-80s baseball — infielders Doug Flynn, in 1982, and Pepe Frias, in 1980. Tom Paciorek, bench bat extraordinaire, accomplished the feat in 1986. Pudge Rodriguez walked just 5 times in 288 plate appearances as a 19 year old in 1991, and Todd Greene drew a paltry 2 walks in 210 PAs in 2003.
In any case, striking out 33% of the time while walking less than 2% of the time resulted in Peters putting up a .218 OBP as a Ranger. A .218 OBP isn’t going to cut it, even with a .426 slugging percentage, as reflected by Peters’ 72 OPS+ on the year. And thus it wasn’t surprising when the Rangers waived Peters, providing him the opportunity to sign with a team in the KBO, where he’ll get an opportunity to mash home runs in Korea while earning more money than he would in the minors in 2022.
Peters made some great catches while he was here, though, and hit some impressive home runs, and he was fun, if not good. He also was, interestingly enough, a member of the Rangers’ 2015 draft class, which was so bad at the top of the draft and surprisingly good in the later rounds. Peters was a 36th round pick out of Western Nevada Community College that year but didn’t sign, returning to school and being picked in the 4th round by the Dodgers the following year. So that’s interesting.
We’ll be watching to see how he does overseas, and rooting for him to tear it up across the Pacific in 2022.