Former Regis Jesuit ace pitcher David Peterson was selected in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 12, 2017, as the New York Mets took him with the No. 20 overall pick. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | This time, David Peterson’s draft spot was much more to his liking and a much truer measure of his ability.

Just after he completed his senior year at Regis Jesuit High School, the ace left-handed pitcher got selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 28th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, a place he found himself in largely because of a broken leg.

University of Oregon junior pitcher David Peterson, a Regis Jesuit High School graduate, was selected No. 20 by the New York Mets in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 12, 2017. (Photo courtesy

Peterson instead headed to the University of Oregon, where he knew he might improve his draft stock tremendously the second time around. That became a black and white fact on Monday evening when the New York Mets spent their first round pick (No. 20 overall) on Peterson, a spot 834 selections higher than in 2014. gave the No. 20 pick a value of a little under $3 million.

“I knew there was interest there (from the Mets),” Peterson said at a press conference in Eugene, Oregon, where he watched the draft with family — including his mother, Shannon — and friends. “I’m beyond excited and very thankful to the Mets for drafting me. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

The hard-throwing, 6-foot-6, 235-pound Peterson’s stock rose precipitously after his 2017 season for Oregon, in which he went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA. He was the only pitcher in the country to rank in the top seven in the NCAA in four different statistical categories.

Mixing a fastball that moves at 94 miles per hour and a slider clocked regularly in the mid-80s, Peterson piled up a whopping 140 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings on the mound for the Ducks and posted those whiffs against just 15 walks. His strikeout total put in him a tie with two other pitchers — Louisville’s Brendan McKay (who went No. 4 overall to Tampa Bay) and UCLA’s Griffin Canning (who went No. 47) — two behind leader JP Sears of The Citadel.

Peterson’s strikeout total included a school-record 20 in a single Pac-12 contest against Arizona State, a game in which he threw nine shutout innings and allowed just four base hits. That performance and others helped him end the season as a first team Collegiate Baseball All-American and semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top player.

University of Oregon junior pitcher David Peterson is pumped about one of his 20 strikeouts in a shutout win over Arizona State during the 2017 season. (Photo courtesy of Larriva)

His time playing for coach George Horton and Oregon put him in the place he needed to realize a major league dream he said he’s held since the age of 3.

“I think it was crucial for me,” Peterson said of his time with the Ducks, during which he went 19-15 as a starting pitcher.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play professional baseball and it took me three years of development here to get there,” he added. “It’s definitely been huge for me to grow as a player and a person.”

At Regis Jesuit, Peterson helped the Raiders win the Class 5A state championship as a freshman and also got to play under the guidance of Walt Weiss, a former MLB player who went on to manage the Colorado Rockies after he left Regis Jesuit. His co-ace at Regis Jesuit in 2012, Peter Bayer, got drafted in the ninth round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016 out of Cal Poly Pomona.

Although not due to injury, Peterson is on a similar path that another former Aurora ace — Grandview right-hander Kevin Gausman — took on his way to the Baltimore Orioles.

Gausman passed on a chance to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, but two seasons at LSU helping his get selected No. 4 overall by the Orioles in 2012. Gausman was Baltimore’s Opening Day starter this season.

Seventy-five players went on the first day of the MLB Draft, which included the first two rounds along with competitive balance round picks. The draft continues through Wednesday, with a number of other Aurora products — including Regis Jesuit pitcher Caleb Sloan — expected to be selected.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...