Potential September Call-Ups: The Wily Peralta Edition
The Background: Wily Peralta is a big-bodied RHP in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2005 when he was 16. Peralta’s journey through the minors has been a slow process, but his upside has always been there. With four pitches — a four-seam fastball that can hit the mid-90’s, a low-90’s sinker, an above-average slider (his best out pitch) and a middle-of-the-road change — he’s had the repertoire to start, but had not showed the consistency necessary to take the next step forward until 2011.
This spring saw Peralta’s value at that highest it’s ever been. He had just put together his best minor league season, capped off with a late season promotion to Triple-A and an ensuing 5 start stretch where he went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 40 K in 31 IP. He came into the 2012 season as the consensus top prospect in the Brewers farm system — which is still impressive despite its overall lack of quality. Additionally, Peralta was ranked #46 on my Top 100 Dynasty Prospects list (published over at Fake Teams). However, this year has not gone as smoothly as both Peralta and the Brewers were hoping.
When you look at Peralta’s season stats at Triple-A, you don’t get blown away. He’s 6-10 with a 4.75 ERA, 1.61 WHIP and 128 K in 130 1/3 IP. Yea, the strikeout rate is nice and it is the PCL, but you’re not paying that much attention to him. However, you should be. What you don’t see in the stat line is that Peralta was called up to the majors in mid-April for three days to serve as the long man in the Brewers bullpen and got into a serious funk upon his return to Triple-A. In fact, in the 8 starts following that brief promotion, he had a 9.00 ERA, 2.05 WHIP, 17% K-rate and 1.2 K/BB rate. To put it lightly, that’s terrible. But the remaining 17 starts he’s had in 2012 tell a very different story:
5-4 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 24.6% K-rate (97 in 92 2/3 IP) and 2.4 K/9 rate.
That looks a lot more like the Wily Peralta scouts have been dreaming on for years. His WHIP will never be exquisite, as he’ll never have a low walk rate, but he’s a strikeout guy — don’t get too greedy. What’s also encouraging is that 2012 was the second season in a row where Peralta has put up a ground ball rate above 50%. That will certainly help once he arrives at Miller Park.
The fact is, you never know what can set a player into a slump. Maybe Peralta was thrown out of his rhythm by the promotion to the Brewers bullpen and subsequent demotion. Maybe he was just bummed out by being back at Triple-A. It happens — these guys are human, not a collection of statistics. In my mind, the run Peralta has been on since the start of June says he still has the same chance today as he did prior to the season of becoming what he’s had the talent to become — an innings-eating #3 starter who can put up some solid K numbers (~8.0 K/9). Throw the fact that he’s essentially major-league ready on top of that, and you get a very valuable dynasty league asset.
Don’t be surprised to see Peralta get a few starts down the stretch for the Brewers, as he’s already on the 40-man roster and they may want him to get a few starts under his belt before he competes for a rotation spot in the spring. And don’t let the overall stat line fool you — he’s still the guy we thought he was.