Courtesy of GoBonnies.com
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – For the past three seasons, St. Bonaventure junior Cole Peterson has stood as one of the top shortstops in the region – and his strong play hasn’t gone unnoticed as professional scouts have followed him for more than a year. That interest resulted in Peterson being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 13th round of the 2017 MLB Draft on Wednesday.
The Johnsonburg, Pa. native has started 144 consecutive games at short for the Bonnies and has captured All-Atlantic 10 honors in each of the past two seasons including First Team accolades this spring. A stellar defender who has compiled a .966 career fielding percentage while turning 76 double plays, he also took great strides at the plate in his junior season.
Peterson, who was the 395th overall selection, led the Bonnies in batting average (.335), runs (40), hits (64), on-base percentage (.409), doubles (16) and stolen bases (24). He tied for the league lead in stolen bags and posted 19 multi-hit games including nine three-hit games. In Atlantic 10 play, he boasted a .376 batting average along with a .444 on-base percentage.
“Cole continued to make himself better through his work ethic. He has great hands, feet and a strong arm defensively and has continued to improve with the bat to the point where he was a viable candidate for the top player in the Atlantic 10,” St. Bonaventure head coach Larry Sudbrook said.
Sudbrook calls Peterson the best defensive shortstop he has coached in his 32 years with the program.
“We have had a couple other shortstops get the chance to play professionally,” he said, “but defensively Cole was heads and tails above anyone else we’ve had.”
Peterson is the 14th Bonnies player selected in the MLB Draft during the tenure of Sudbrook and 16th St. Bonaventure player taken all-time. The Bonnies have had players chosen in the MLB Draft in three straight years – right-handers Steven Klimek (Baltimore, 2015 33rd round) and Connor Grey (Arizona, 2016 20th round) were picked the past two years.
Only two Bonnies have ever been selected earlier in the draft – teammate Aaron Phillipswent to the San Francisco Giants in the ninth round just a day earlier to become the highest pick in program history while Brian Pellegrini was selected by the Houston Astros in the 12th round of the 2007 draft. Fellow Elk County (Pa.) and Bona shortstop Jesse Bosnik earned a 13th round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010, but 17 picks later than Peterson. No other Bonnies player had previously been drafted by the Tigers.
Locally, Peterson also made an impact in summer ball by helping the Olean Oilers of the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL) to back-to-back league championships in 2015 and 2016.
With a year of college eligibility remaining, Peterson will decide this month if he will sign a professional contract or return to St. Bonaventure for his senior season.
“When he looks at everything he will make a decision that is best for him and we will support him in his decision,” Sudbrook said.