Dodgers: Jake Peter Making a Case for a 40-Man Roster Spot

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Jake Peter /

Jake Peter is making a name for himself during spring training. His play is warranting a spot on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

If you thought that the Dodgers’ acquisition of Jake Peter as part of a three-team deal that brought them reliever Scott Alexander was ‘meh,’ you are not alone. He was a 24-year-old that had neither seen the major leagues, nor a well-regarded prospect. And his minor league numbers were nothing other than average-to-solid. He was merely viewed as a throw-in to many.

He had the makings of a career minor-leaguer who would potentially get called up as an injury replacement. But the Dodgers saw something in him that they liked so asked the Chicago White Sox to throw him into the deal. And when Andrew Friedman and Co. take an interest in you, making you an unheralded acquisition, that is a good sign.

Just look at the Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, Andrew Toles, Joe Blanton, Enrique Hernandez, Charlie Culberson, and Brandon Morrow experiments. Even Alex Wood can be thrown into that group. And so far so good, as Peter is breaking out this spring.

Now, it may only be spring training, but a 1.507 OPS with three home runs in 18 plate appearances in any form of competition is impressive. Spring training is the closest Peter has come to facing major-league competition, and he has a 1.442 OPS with four home runs in 24 career plate appearances.

Now, no one is making a case for him to make the Opening Day roster, but inclusion on the 40-man roster should be seriously considered and even come to fruition. He is the kind of the player that the current Dodger front office loves and have utilized to excellence.

Players like Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Cody Bellinger, Austin Barnes, Kyle Farmer and (previously) Charlie Culberson are guys that can play multiple defensive positions and hit a little. And one of the main reasons the Dodgers traded for Logan Forsythe was his defensive versatility.

Peter can play all over the infield, outside of catcher, and in the outfield as well. He can be a valuable utility player such as Hernandez and Taylor. And if you do not think he can be a threat with the bat that this spring training has suggested, remember that we did not expect much from Hernandez or Taylor before they established themselves.

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Now, the odds are against him being another Chris Taylor, but he can definitely become a valuable asset off the bench. And he will only be turning 25 next month, so he is young by baseball standards.

If he continues his breakout preseason, he would undoubtedly have an argument over a few players on the current 40-man roster for a spot. Players such as Trayce Thompson, who has struggled since coming back from injury, or Tim Locastro, who has not established himself yet. Peter may even have a case over Rob Segedin, who he is similar to, and about four-and-a-half years younger than.

This is also where the question of the Chase Utley re-signing comes into play. One of the arguments against bringing him back was that he would potentially be taking a spot of someone younger and more deserving. That may be the case here.

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But even with Utley there, Peter may still have a place on the expanded roster. It is just a matter if he continues to rake and how the Dodgers view him compared to other fringe and utility players. One thing is for sure: if he continues this hot stretch, someone should have to move over.