Liam Peterson is part of a loaded Calvary Christian (Fla.) High School pitching staff this spring. Calvary Christian boasts a rotation with three Power Five commits in Peterson, Hunter Dietz and Landen Maroudis.
Peterson is a Florida commit, Dietz is an Arkansas commit, and Maroudis is a North Carolina commit. Pitching alongside two other well-regarded pitching prospects has aided in Peterson’s development.
“We all throw with each other, so it allows us to bounce ideas off each other,” Peterson said. “Having two other minds that think alike and are really good pitchers and willing to give you information helps a lot. They help me a lot, and I think it is great to have them.”
Besides their status as Division I signees, all three Calvary Christian pitchers are prospects for July’s MLB draft. Peterson possesses an exciting combination of size and potential on the mound. Scouts project the right-handed pitcher as a potential early-round pick.
“It’s a really cool experience talking with scouts,” Peterson said. “But I try to focus on one thing at a time. The draft is still in a couple of months, and my high school season is coming up soon. I’m trying not to focus on the draft, but it is still a cool experience to go through.”
Peterson, a 6-foot-5 and 206-pound righty, throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, slider, changeup and curveball from a three-quarters arm slot and athletic delivery.
Despite throwing two fastballs, he primarily relies on his four-seamer. He fills up the strike zone with his fastball and uses it to challenge hitters in any count. It is a quality low-90s offering and features some natural movement.
Peterson’s slider is his best secondary pitch and serves as a put-away offering. The 78-82 mph pitch has a high spin rate with quality movement that consistently generates swings and misses.
His changeup and curveball are developing offerings. He prefers to use his changeup against left-handed hitters but is working on developing more consistency and confidence in throwing it against right-handed hitters. Peterson’s curveball is more of a “get-me-over pitch” right now.
“My competitiveness is my biggest strength,” Peterson said. “I really like to compete. You can put me in any situation, whether starting a Game 7 or bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. I love to compete. That really helps me perform. It also helps my team with that leadership.”
Peterson has solid control of his pitches but sometimes lacks command of his secondary offerings. His delivery also occasionally gets out of sync.
This offseason, Peterson has gained about 10 pounds as he has worked on adding strength to his frame. He also has worked on his mechanics. Peterson believes the combination of improved mechanics and additional strength will lead to an improvement in fastball velocity and pitch command.
“I want to gain weight throughout the season and maintain my mechanics,” Peterson said. “I want to get my mechanics a lot smoother going into the season and maintain it throughout the season. It’s not only a long-term goal of mine but also a goal right now. I want to be crisper and smoother with my mechanics.”
If the draft doesn’t work out in Peterson’s favor, he will attend the University of Florida in the fall. Florida is one of the premier college baseball programs and consistently produces talent for the pro ranks.
Peterson’s relationship with Florida’s coaching staff significantly influenced his decision to commit to Florida over other top programs.
“Florida has always been my dream school,” Peterson said. “On top of that, the brand-new stadium is really cool. The connection I had with the coaches during the recruiting process was sincere. They want to make me the best I can be.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.