East Valley stars could be high MLB draft picks
Four local players have been pegged as top-100 prospects by Baseball America for this June’s Major League Baseball draft.
Former Gilbert High star D.J. Peterson leads the way. The current New Mexico third baseman is batting .408 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs on the season and is ranked as the No. 15 overall prospect. He is expected to go in the middle of the first round.
Desert Ridge shortstop Riley Unroe is the highest-ranked East Valley high school player. He had an impressive senior season (.553 average, 10 homers, 59 RBIs) and has risen to No. 56 overall. Unroe is committed to Southern California but if he goes in the supplemental round, a hefty signing bonus will likely make it tough to choose college.
Peterson’s brother, Dustin, is also a top prospect. The Gilbert shortstop is rated as the No. 61 overall prospect. Peterson hit .549 this season with 10 homers and 39 RBIs. There are questions about where he plays defensively at the next level, but scouts seem to like his bat, and a high selection could force him off his commitment to Arizona State.
Hamilton first baseman Cody Bellinger is No. 90 on the list. He isn’t yet a finished product, but has a nice swing and can be projected to hit for more power as he adds strength. Bellinger is committed to Oregon but is another player who could sign professionally if he gets the type of signing bonus he prefers.