Dodgers prospect D.J. Peters did something no player has ever done against the Giants' ace lefty.
Madison Bumgarner is good. You don't need me or any expert to tell you that: It's a simple fact, born out of the last few years of dominance by the Giants' ace lefty.
Yet even the best of the best get dinged by the unlikeliest of players, and that's what happened to Bumgarner on Wednesday night while making a rehab start for the Class A San Jose Giants. Facing the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes—the Class A affiliate of the Giants' longtime rivals, the Dodgers—Bumgarner was pounded for nine runs and four homers in just four innings, with eight of those runs and three of those dingers coming in that final frame of work.
That's where D.J. Peters comes in. A fourth-round pick of the Dodgers in the 2016 draft out of Western Nevada College, Peters is a 21-year-old outfielder trying to make a name for himself amid a crowded and excellent farm system. He definitely gave his resume a boost against Bumgarner, taking him deep not once, but twice—in the same inning, something that's never been done against him before.
"Whenever you face a guy like that, you want to enjoy the moment and gauge the situation you're in and the atmosphere," Peters told MiLB.com afterward. "My whole mind-set was to just have fun because I got to face one of the best pitchers in the game of baseball."
Madison Bumgarner was the unstoppable hero of the 2014 World Series. He has won three championships. Anthony Rizzo is 3-for-22 against him in his career, as is Andrew McCutchen. Yoenis Cespedes has a .214 batting average and not one homer against Bumgarner. Bryce Harper, who blew up the universe two years ago, has managed a meager .235 average against him. Yet here is D.J. Peters, bashing two homers in an inning against one of the league's best pitchers like it ain't no thing—and one of them went 474 feet, no less.
Most importantly for Peters, though, was knowing that against the mercurial Bumgarner, you don't want to admire your work, no matter how proud you are of it.
"With that one, I knew right when I hit it," he said of the 474-footer. "But out of respect for the game, the other team and the pitcher on the mound, I put my head down and started to run. That's how I am, no matter if it's a World Series champion on the mound or someone who just signed two days ago."
Peters and Bumgarner may never meet again, but at least he'll always have those two at-bats.