Usually we don't get too excited about undrafted free agents. Well that's not as true as it once was with the influx of foreign born players into the majors. One of those players, a fella born in the Dominican Republic, is Wily Peralta of the Brewers. How did the highly thought of righty perform in his first extended look as a starting pitcher in the big leagues? Some good, some bad I'm afraid.
Peralta stands 6'1” and weighs about 240 lbs. He's big, and the throws hard. Really hard. After 212.1 big league innings this young buck is averaging 94.9 mph on his heater, which he throws 67 percent of the time. His slider, which he tosses at a 26 percent rate, is flat out hard too at 85 mph. His stuff might be called dominating in some quarters, and when he's on he can be a handful for any club. That's something to remember with Peralta. Even if the results haven't necessarily been there the stuff is. This guy is no Barry Zito.
Looking at his minor league track record, we seem some good, some bad with Peralta (a theme that will be repeated throughout). In 620.2 innings spread out over six seasons, Peralta owns a 3.99 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. That's league average kind of stuff. His 4.0 BB/9 rate is poor and that does offset a bit the fact that he brought the K-ball with great frequency (8.5 K/9). The same old story. Big time stuff but little control out of a young hurler.
In 2012 Peralta was brought up to the bigs, made five starts, and appeared in six games. He was impressive with a 2.48 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 7.14 K/9 an a 2.33 GB/FB ratio (more on that in a moment). The excitement wasn't to the level of a guy like Shelby Miller or Jose Fernandez coming into 2013, but folks in Milwaukee were rightfully excited.
Then April came and the excitement was on the wane: 2-1, 5.02 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 1.25 K/BB.
The May came and the excitement was replaced with consternation: 1-5, 7.71 ERA, 2.00 WHP, 1.58 K/BB.
Then came June and no one cared any more: 2-3, 4.33 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 1.31 K/BB.
Just when everyone gave up, Peralta exploded.
July was his best month as a big leaguer. In six starts he only won two games, but he had a 2.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and his K/BB ratio rose to 2.2.
Moreover, if you look at his last 15 starts these are the numbers you find: 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 mar over 91.1 innings. Those aren't special numbers, but think of this. Matt Latos had a 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP an a 7.99 K/9 ratio. That's nearly identical is it not? Obviously Peralta can be a pretty good big league hurler.
Now the youngster needs to show... consistency. That's often the bane of young hurlers, the lack of an ability to produce positive results start after start. Hurlers don't always have their beset stuff. In fact, they often don't. A true pitcher, a successful pitcher, is someone who can win even when they don't have their best stuff. Peralta needs to prove he can do that, and he would be wise to do it by throwing more strikes, a long time bugaboo of his.
Looking at his overall numbers they aren't at all worthy of a second look, but again, he showed marked improvement in the second half so don't just look at his overall numbers and think he's a lost cause.
6.33 K/9 3.58 BB/9 4.37 ERA 1.42 WHIP .293 BABIP 21 percent line drive rate
All of that is league average or worse, but Peralta has three things going for him
(1) He's got great stuff.
(2) He was very successful in the second half.
(3) He gets grounders, lots of them.
What do I say all the time? I say “give me a guy with a big arm, the strikeouts, an a high groundball rate and I want that guy on my team.”
Peralta can run it up there at more than 95 miles per hour.
As we've seen, he has been a strikeout arm at times.
The grounders? Love what I see there. Through 212.1 innings as a big leaguer Peralta owns a 51.5 percent ground ball rate. That's a big number. Couple all those grounders with an ability to keep the fly ball down, just 27 percent of batted balls, and you've got a fella who owns a 1.89 GB/FB ratio. There were only eight pitchers in baseball, who threw 162 innings, who could better that mark last season. That means Peralta was a top-10 arm in this measure. I like that a lot.
Peralta isn't going to match Mat Latos in 2014, expecting that would be foolish. At the same time Peralta could very easily improve upon his overall numbers from 2013 and if he does he will certainly be a solid value on draft day. Most folks won't look to Peralta on draft day, he doesn't have a big name, he doesn’t pitch in a big market, and his overall numbers were plain Jane. Looking a bit deeper though, as we have done, points out that there is plenty of talent to mine with Peralta. A reserve round selection in mixed leagues that could return big value in 2014 is what Peralta is.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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