"I've always liked second base and I've always grown up playing shortstop, so I like playing both of those," said Peters, who has played in 35 games this season. "Getting to play third, it's something new. It's a new learning experience and it's been fun. It's stepping out of your comfort zone, and playing all three has been fun. You learn a lot."
Listed as a shortstop on the team's roster, Peters spoke about the transition he has to make between games, or even mid-game, moving from one position to the other.
"It's a lot longer throw from third base to first than it is from second to first, so it takes some getting used to, but I always played shortstop while growing up, so that was always a long throw," he said. "I'm kind of used to having a longer throw. It wasn't that big of a difference."
Hitting coach Paul Elliot discussed Peters' defense, stating that he sees action in three or four games per week. The righty will get starts at third and second, then sometimes come on in relief for Thon at shortstop. Elliot said that the better Peters can be at those three positions, the more valuable of a prospect he is for the Jays' organization. It's also just a matter of learning the game of baseball more that is so important at this stage of a player's career.
"He's gonna be a solid player for us I think through the organization. He's learning to play all three positions — third, short and second—and the more he can grasp that defensively, the more valuable he'll be. But at the moment, it's a process we're working through," Elliot said.
"He's learning the game. You get a lot of these guys who come in here, they may have come from high school or college, but their knowledge of how to play the game isn't very good. It's not their fault, so it's just a whole retooling for a lot of them."
In 104 at-bats, Peters holds a .240 average accompanied by 11 RBIs, four doubles and three triples. He has struck out 25 times and walked 12, leading to an on base percentage of .316. The part of his offensive game that Elliot would like to see Peters improve on most is staying in behind the ball.
"He drifts through his swing a lot, but he's [in the cage] working on that exact same thing, so once he stays in behind the ball, stays back behind his swing, he's gotta pretty eye at the plate, some pretty good plate discipline," Elliot said. "He's gonna have some gap power for us, and probably hit for average, so he'll be alright."
A right-hander, Peters naturally has a better average against southpaws than he does against right-handed pitching. Against lefties, he's batting .346. Facing righties has been a challenge, however, as his average against them dips to .205.
"You like to see a lefty on the mound more because you know the breaking ball's gonna be coming into you more than coming at you and breaking away from you, so I think for a lefty, you understand you gotta go the other way with it more and keep that front side closed," he said.
"With righties, that's the one thing I've been struggling with, is keeping my front side closed, so I'm trying to keep that closed and focused through the middle of the field. I'm getting more used to it and getting more comfortable with either [a] right hander or left hander."
Having his ups and downs throughout the season, Peters wants to be more consistent with his at-bats. He said that's the main thing he needs to improve on while he is in Dunedin for GCL play.
"I need to be more consistent at the plate and bringing good at bats every day to the field," Peters said. "When I get in those struggles, don't get in such a deep rut. Just keep yourself going and don't dwell on the past because tomorrow's a new day."
The GCL infield is crowded with young talent all sharing valuable playing time. Dickie Thon, the Jays' 2010 fifth round pick, is at shortstop, Jorge Vega-Rosado, the 28th rounder of this year's draft, is at second base and last year's 48th rounder Seth Connor is at third. This leaves Chris Peters, the 22-year-old out of the University of Cincinatti, splitting playing time in the infield.
Peters Learning The Utility Position
A shortstop throughout his amateur days, Chris Peters is learning how to become a utility man.
Dunedin Beat Writer
Peters is hitting just .217 in his last 10 games
Aug 17, 2011