2017 Reds

Jose Peraza Is Not Brandon Phillips

Peraza.Fielding

In the wake of last week’s trade with Atlanta, an article at FanGraphs by Jeff Sullivan asserted that Jose Peraza was a lot like Brandon Phillips. Certainly, some reasonable points were made in the piece, especially regarding batted ball profile, and I encourage you to go read that piece first. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

–waiting–

–waiting–

–waiting–

Okay, are you back? As I was saying, Sullivan made some reasonable points in that article. In general, however, I respectfully disagree. The primary problem is that the FanGraphs piece mostly ignores who Phillips was as a player when he was Peraza’s age. Let’s look at different aspects of their games when Phillips was younger and see what the comparisons are like:

Defense

Phillips, at his best, was all-world defensively. I don’t need to tell you this. Peraza, while not a bad defender, is unlikely ever to win a gold glove. His issues mostly have to do with his lateral range being somewhat less than ideal. His arm is solid enough for short or second. The point, however, is that he’ll never be BP defensively.

Power

Phillips, for most of his career, had solid power. It’s evaporated over the last few years, but that doesn’t make the early part of his career a mirage. Peraza has about as much power as Phillips currently has. This is not necessarily a problem, but power simply isn’t Peraza’s strength. In terms of power, Dilson Herrera is a much better match for Phillips.

Speed

Now, here’s a place where Peraza outshines Phillips. He is much, much faster than BP ever was. In fact, were it not for Hamilton, Peraza might be the fastest player in the organization. Given a full year of playing time, I would be absolutely shocked if he didn’t steal at least 40 bases with 50-60 more likely. Peraza brings a lot of value with his speed.

Contact/Plate Discipline

Peraza profiles right now has a high-contact, low-walk hitter. At the beginning of last season in Louisville, I noticed he wasn’t the free swinger we’d been led to expect and when I asked him about it, he said it was something he was working on. In Cincinnati, he seemed to return to his free-swinging ways, so the jury is still out. That said, he’s unlikely ever to walk a ton.

Peraza does, however, have excellent contact skills. He strikes out less than BP (who never struck out a ton) and his speed means he generally maintains a high BABIP. As with most contact-dependent hitters, we can reasonably assume that he’ll have big swings in results from year to year as the luck dragon treats him differently.

Overall

If Peraza has a place to grow, it’s with his power. He’s still young enough to add a bit of bulk and that would help. Right now, as a hitter, I’d say he profiles as a sort of hybrid of Phillips and Billy Hamilton. More power than Billy, but with swing tendencies that are more in line with the career Phillips has had. In the end, as long as his BABIP stays up, he should be able to maintain a league-average (ish) batting line with solid defense, which is good enough to make him a valuable player, albeit one who doesn’t bear much resemblance to who he’s replacing.

45 thoughts on “Jose Peraza Is Not Brandon Phillips

  1. Interesting. But, then, you also have to consider that, at Peraza’s age, BP wasn’t even starting for the Indians. And, he is looking at starting for the Reds. Also, given that Peraza hasn’t played much of any position for the Reds so far (5 different positions, no more than 29 games in one position), it really isn’t a very good comparison to use Peraza’s major league stats in this case. It would probably be a better comparison to use Peraza’s minor league stats. Let’s look at that.

    BP’s RF/G, a measure of a player’s range in defense, was in the high 4’s during his prime. And, he’s kept it in the low to mid 4’s. Peraza’s has been in the low 4.29 for the minors. Not too much of a drop there.

    Power, let’s use slugging %. BP’s is .421 for his career, slipping to about 400 these past recent years. Peraza’s is 386 for the minors. Not much of a slip there.

    Not to mention, it’s not as much power I would be interested in from Peraza. We have Votto, Duvall, and Devin for power. We need guys on base. So, let’s look at the OBP. For BP, career .320, similar to the recent years. For Peraza in the minors, 341, slight improvement there.

    Speed, agreed there.

    BP definitely strikes out more often. But, BP actually walks more often.

    But, then, the attitude, also. At least so far, and it’s not much to go on, I like Peraza’s attitude more than BP’s. BP has been getting sloppy the last several years. And, I didn’t like his tirade against C Trent at all. With Peraza, I don’t believe we will see any of that.

    Listen, no one could replace what BP has done with this team. The only one I believe could at 2nd base would be the second coming of Joe Morgan, and that likely won’t happen. But, BP’s time is gone. Instead of looking for the next BP, we ought to be looking for a new player. There are plenty of players who contribute just as much if not more than BP does.

    What I don’t like is the potential of Peraza playing all over the field. He’s going to be busy just getting his fielding straight, where he’s going to be playing each day. Where I can’t help thinking maybe we shouldn’t be expecting an “improvement” necessarily from Peraza this season. I mean, if he is the 2nd baseman, though, then he can concentrate on one position defensively and, thus, concentrate on other things as well, like taking more walks, etc.

    • Just to be clear, I barely looked at Peraza’s MLB stats for this. I used almost exclusively minor league stats and my own observations from watching him play every day at shortstop in Louisville.

      I would also disagree that a 35 point drop in slugging is not much of a slip. Further, if you look at ISO (a better measure of power), the drop is more in the 60-70 point range.

    • Peraza being called the 2B is window dressing. It’s media tactics employed in homage of Cozarts veteran status, and pluses up his value in the trade market – I.e. He’s still too good for the hot shot prospect to take his job.

      The number of games Peraza will play 2B will be directly related to how early a major SS from another playoff caliber team gets injured.

      I appreciate the comparison contrast piece but IMHO it will be a short term comp. Come 2018 maybe do a Peraza Vs Larkin piece? *cackles aloud*

      • I don’t see how you can call it a media tactic. It comes from the Reds. Even though he play SS every day in Louisville, he was still listed as a 2B on the roster.

      • But Peraza v, David Concepcion might not be an unfair comparison. I teased this a little bit on down the thread.

        At the plate, I see a lot of the same upper body “whipiness” in Peraza that I recall in Concepcion. DC came up a a lanky stringbean of a guy (in MLB to stay at age 22) and filled out nicely as Jason suggested Peraza might do.

    • I’m as big a Peraza cheerleader as you will find, but there is no way in heck that Peraza is remotely close to a prime BP in any part of his defense, I don’t care what any numbers say. You can get off my lawn With that one 😂 With that being said, the speed and contact of Peraza should limit DP opportunities, which BP seemed to have in abundance. Versatility is also a consideration, and that might speak to willingness and attitude as you suggest. I’m excited about this kid. I think he’s going to be a good one.

      • He’s 22. Is there a chance he could be close to prime BP defensively by the time that Peraza actually reaches his prime?

        I don’t know the answer to that. BP was amazing. But I’m not ready to count Peraza out, either.

    • We have Votto for power? That is an interesting comment! I love a lot about how JV approaches hitting and how he has had success with it. The one thing way down near the bottom of JV and hitting is power! Power Really?

  2. Peraza’s fellow Venezuelan David Concepcion might provide a good power profile for JP to seek. DC put together a decade of consecutive years in which he exceeded 20 doubles. He had 25 or more doubles in 7 of those 10 seasons, exceeding 30 twice.

    For the same decade, Concepcion had a yoyo of an OPS+. Five seasons he placed above 100 (best of 114) but three seasons he dropped off into the mid 80’s.

      • Another side of the coin, in 1980 Concepcion’s OPS+ was 83 (lowest of the 10 year span I referenced) despite 31 doubles and 8 triples. A major culprit was likely that his BB rate fell to 5.5% that season versus 9% the previous year and a career average BB rate of around 7.6%

  3. I loved watching Phillips in his prime. The thing that made me admire him as a player with not only his talent and production, but also his unbridled joy (that smile!) as he played the game. Because of his enthusiasm, I was willing to overlook the deficiencies in his game (i.e. strikeouts and a sometimes reckless approach at the plate).

    As he aged, though, he cannibalized the goodwill he built up in Cincy until it was gone. I hate it that he was bitter the last three years he was here.

    That is water under the bridge, though. I’m ready for a new generation of young players to emerge.

  4. I agree with Jim & Steve that, long term, Paraza is the shortstop. I would be interested in how he compared to Concepion defensively. I understand that everyone seems to be waiting on a injury to a contender to move Cozart, but how about the mets current situation? Both Wright and Walker have had major back injuries, and both are infielders. It seems that they could use a elite defender who could play both second and third (as well as shortstop). The mets have indicated they have enough funds available this year to make another move. Would they shy away from a deal with the reds due to the unpopular Bruce trade?

  5. I don’t get the theory that Peraza has little power potential. I suppose it comes from some extrapolation/projection/guessing from minor league stats, but at some point you have to open your eyes, look, and perhaps believe what your eyes are telling you.

    Jose Peraza is listed at MLB.com at 6’0″, 196 pounds. From reading about him last year as a punch-and-Judy hitter, I had it in my mind that he was the physical clone of Freddie Patek. When I saw him–a big strong guy, bigger than Willie Mays–I began to have my doubts about the projections/guesses. When he got regular playing time in the second half last year, I thought that he made very solid, line-drive contact, such that the power would come soon enough. I loved what I saw.

    While it is a small sample size, and both the league and Peraza will make adjustments; Peraza last year slashed .352/.410/.762, at age 22 over 241 ABs. (Phillips at age 22 for CLE slashed .242/.311/.553 in 370 ABs.) Post All-Star game, when he began to play regularly, Peraza slashed .380/.477/.857 over 172 ABs (yes, a high BABIP, which doesn’t quitey mean he’s only lucky); Phillips in his 30-30 year at age slashed .331/.485/.816. How is it a stretch to think that Peraza can hit 10-12 homers this year, and quite a few more as he hits his prime at ages 24-29, when he was pretty much on target last year to do so, as soon as he played regularly?

    The most poignant part of Moneyball to me was Billy Beane’s relating how he played with Lenny Dykstra in the minors. Beane completely understood by watching Dykstra that Dykstra commanded the plate when he hit, and that Beane himself did not. Beane just wanted to figure a way to quantify what he knew qualitatively. That’s kind of what I feel about Peraza: jeez, just look at him; he commands the plate, hits the ball hard, and looks comfortable doing it. His MiLB stats came at very young ages for his level. Trust your eyes on him; that guy can hit.

    • Peraza’s lack of power has nothing to do with his size. As you mentioned, he is not small for a middle infielder. It has everything to do with his swing. Most of his swings are all arms. Power comes from the hips and legs and Peraza doesn’t incorporate his lower body into his swing very well.

      Now that can be changed. He could add a leg kick like Suarez did and try to sacrifice some contact for power. But I don’t think he is a 10-15 homer guy with the swing he has right now. More like 5-8. He has good bat control and gets the barrel on a lot of balls, but there just isn’t much behind it at this point.

    • I think Reds scouts were seeing a lot of what you are seeing. I don’t see the power projection but at GABP, 10-12 HR wouldn’t be that surprising for him. I don’t know if he’s a 10-12 HR/year guy year after year though. He hits the ball hard enough though that teams won’t be able to cheat on him like they do Hamilton. He hits the ball a lot harder than I thought he would based on his numbers and what I’d seen from some scouts.

  6. Personally, I think the Pereza will be an overall improvement in the field at 2B over BP at least over BP’s last two years. And at bat although we all like power, I would prefer a 20 point higher OBP than 6 to 7 more homers. And when we talk about power those line drives in the gaps or down the lines that provide doubles and triples are often as valuable as homers. The one statement the I read in the comments about BP and his attitude would be I know the many of us have had a problem with BPs attitude he has shown in the media, his rants and refusing to talk to certain reporters, but to be honest and fair I never heard any of the players complain about his attitude. And on the field is where attitude counts the most.

  7. 22 year old prospect Brandon Phillips didn’t project into having the actual career of Brandon Phillips. No one knows anything.

    • Amen.

      When Joey Votto was about 23, the consensus was that Jay Bruce was the better prospect. Other than for the very select few like Mike Trout and Griffey, Jr., they are for the most part guessing. They are generally right on guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, but they miss on Desmond Jennings, Bryan Buxton and Grady Sizemore (and Clint Hurdle, if you remember back that far).

      They are truly guessing with pitchers. No truer words in the English language than “There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.”

      • I wouldn’t lump in Sizemore to that group. He was the real deal and the first years of his career matched the hype. He suffered a couple major injuries and that was pretty much the end of his promising career. Overall however, he was a good player and considering his run of his first few years, he wasn’t a miss.

      • I think I remember Hurdle being on the cover of Sports Illustrated his rookie year, or thereabouts. He came up as a 20 year old after being 9th overall pick two years before his debut.

        • Yeah, and he was only played over a 100 games a season twice, I believe. That was in the hey day of my baseball card collecting.

      • I remember Hurdle as a player and a big bust when he came to the Reds for the 1982 season (his age 24 season). Up to that point he had an MLB slash line of .276/.353/.432, good for a composite OPS+ of 116 on 1240 PAs in 359 games over parts of 5 seasons all with KC.
        He seems to me less a case of the scouts “missing” and more a case of something going awry at the point where he should have been settling in for at least a long solid career based on what he’d done in MLB to that point.

  8. Well, this article did nothing to sell me on Peraza. I don’t know if that was the intent of the article but there are definite overtones that would suggest just such an effort. It wouldn’t of worked anyway bcuz of my thing about having favorite plyrs. Again though, it seems as if people are willing to accept average offense. Not feeling good about Peraza, sorry…or not. Take it or leave it….I don’t care. Like you basically said….he’s no BP. For me that’s a bad thing but I know there are probably some for who that’s a good thing.

    • “It wouldn’t of worked anyway” because you refuse to believe that anyone could be better than your favorite player? Just trying to understand your logic.

      • Mr. Dotson, it wouldn’t of worked bcuz of my thing about not having anymore favorite players. From the sounds of it Peraza’s offense and defense aren’t going to be as good as BP’s. Bcuz he’s young Peraza has time to prove me wrong I guess. By the way, BP is not my favorite plyr, Votto is, but BP was a close second. Yes, I did want BP to finish his career in Cincinnati, but that didn’t happen. But at least replace him with someone who’s at his level (before the supposed decline) both offensively and defensively. But, like I said, maybe he’ll prove me wrong. But I don’t think we should just accept average or mediocrity.

        • I wish the Reds could have replaced BP “with someone who’s at his level” before he declined. But there aren’t many 2Bs out there like that, you realize? BP was really good at one point. He’s not at this point in his career.

          And when the Reds gave BP the second base job, he was a young guy who was below average in his first season. Did you dislike him at that time? And did he eventually win you over?

          • Ok, points to you Chad. Yes, I guess he did win me over. But I’m not gonna let that happen anymore so I can avoid getting mad, sad or disappointed when this current crop of young plyrs gets traded as part of the next rebuild. So if I don’t care about these new plyrs enough to make them one of my favorite plyrs, I won’t care as much when they eventually get traded. Like I said though, I hope they do well or even fantastic for us while they’re wearing the Cincinnati uniform. I could even appreciate if one of them or several of them have good or great careers for the Reds. I’m just not gonna get too attached. Again, I would suggest others do the same.

    • BP was great, one of my favorite Reds ever! You do realize he’s too old to be apart of the team when the team is competitive again. He’ll have his own strengths, higher avg, more bags swiped, less hitting into double plays. I think he will be our 2B for a long time. Reds clearly want a faster more versatile team, A Rodriguez will be turning Double plays with Peraza for years!

      • Mark Z, I don’t care about Peraza personally. I think he’ll be an average hitter (as so many suggest) and that would make him worse than BP. I guess he could learn from Votto. Really, I don’t even care about the numbers he might put up (even if they’re good) or the spectacular defensive plays he may make. He’s just one small cog in the machine. All I care about is the Reds winning a championship or two or three. If his numbers help that cause then so be it. But that don’t mean I’m gonna like him or any other Reds player (asside from Votto).

      • Mark Z, also, who’s Rodriguez? According to Reds mgmt we’ll be competitive again next year (2018). BP will likely still be playing next year. His defense (as of last season) was still average. That’s not the worst thing in the world. So, say like we kept BP in ’18 and we still took that next step that year and challenged or even made the playoffs “in spite” of BP’s defense. Now, say that BP’s defense kept declining that year. Well, ok, then. You release him or bench him. And since the Reds have saved some money they could go out and get a better secondbaseman (assuming we didn’t have Peraza or Herrera). I know that sounds ridiculous to some of you and I don’t care. But, with all the kids that we did get whose defense is supposed to be good I think we would’ve still been good and competitive even with BP. I guess that makes me crazy, huh! CRAZY MAN TALKING!!!!

  9. Look, it’s just not that Peraza is “replacing” BP. It really wouldn’t matter what position he played bcuz he projects to be average on both sides of the ball. Ok, solid defensively, but that says slightly above average defense at best. Now, one could argue that BP was so good defensively that few could equal or even surpass him in that area. But does that mean we should accept average?

    • Let’s presume that Peraza is average as a 23 year old, as you suggest. If so, he’ll be WAY ahead of your guy at that same age.

      When Brandon Phillips was 23, he hit .182/.250/.273 for the Indians. That was only in 6 games. And he only played 6 games in the majors at age 24, too. Because he wasn’t good enough yet.

      The Indians shouldn’t have let him play at all. And the Reds probably shouldn’t have handed the 2B position to BP at age 25 either, right? Because BP only hit .206/.246/.310 in four years before his first season as a Red. And in that first season as a Red, Phillips was a below-average player.

      But aren’t you glad the Reds took a chance on that young second baseman Brandon Phillips? Well, why shouldn’t they take a chance on another one?

      Because Phillips ended up being one of your favorite players? By that logic, Johnny Bench should still be the catcher for this team.

      • Bench! That’s ridiculous! I understand that plyrs get so old that they have to retire. I don’t expect them to play into their 50’s or beyond. But I wanted BP to retire a Red just like I want Votto to retire a Red. There are some plyrs that are just so iconic that you just want them to finish their career in Cincinnati. But Peraza projects to be average for his entire career. Ain’t that what analytics are about, predicting just what a plyr can do? Again, though, I hope he does well or even great while with Cincinnati. But that don’t mean I have to like him or make him one of my favorites.

        • Sandman, I think I get some of what you are saying, because I’ve always had favorite players and have been pissed when they were traded and melancholy when they started to decline. The consolation, for me, is having a favorite team and watching how it changes. New favorite players come along, then they get traded or decline and it starts all over again…

          • Greenmtred, exactly. So why put myself thru the anger and sadness again and again. That’s why I’ve tried to get others to understand this in the hopes that they’ll stop getting attached to the new players. I find it a little amazing and ridiculous how upset people are getting over this new batch of Reds whenever one of their names get brought up in trade rumors. They ain’t even done anything for us yet and still people act like they’ve been with us for 10 yrs and have endeared themselves to us. But with my new stance it won’t matter how well they play or for how long. They are an asset and the only reason I’d get upset about the future trade of an asset(s) is bcuz of how good they might be at that time and how we’re losing that kind of production they bring. And we’ll likely trade such production for some kid(s) who has to “learn” all over again.

        • No, that isn’t what analytics are about at all. Prediction is dubious, even to “analytics folks.”

          • Patrick, well someone’s saying/predicting him to bea league average hitter. What is a league average batting or slash line?

      • Also, I don’t suggest that Peraza is average, this article and analytics suggest he’ll be average.

  10. I’ll take a batting average fueled .350 OBP and 50+ steals hitting 2nd with 5-8 HR a year every day of the week over a 20 HR guy with a .310 OBP. It won’t hurt having Joey Votto as an example to help learn a little plate discipline as well. If BHam and Peraza can get on base at a .330+ clip each, their speed is going to drive opposing pitchers nuts.

    I don’t think Peraza hits .324 continually, but I expect his walk rate will inch up a bit with more experience.

  11. Right on it, I ‘d say. BP was definitely all-world on defense, a superior athlete who was magical with his feet, his glove, and his arm. The last few years, as he shown in various higlight films on difficult grounders, force-outs, or DPs, I often wondered what player people were talking about when they said he was losing his speed, or his range, or his whatever. His defensive play was like an ESPN highlight film. I thought his bat was okay, too, except there wasn’t a lot of home run power in it, but there never was. He was just a good all-around athlete playing 2nd base, who often won games with his consistency in the field, or at the plate. All you have to do is look it up.

    • BP still made great-looking plays last year, but it started to dawn on me that, a few years previously, he would have made the same grounder look routine. He just wasn’t covering as much ground. Neither am I.

  12. The cliff we have been thinking BP would fall off for the last 4 seasons definitely showed up last year! He was still a plus defender but there were balls he didn’t get to that would have been routine the year before! I hate the deal they made with paying so much of his salary and getting about 9 balls in return not even a dozen! I only know what I watched and those who have followed him or the eternal optimist will surely disagree but Peraza is a less than average middle infielder and fades away within 6 years! I am not saying that he will have a 6 year ML career I am saying after bouncing back to the minors and between teams as a bench piece he is out of the league in 6 years! He has plus speed and better than average arm and nothing else to get excited about! The problem is to show off that better than average arm you must get to the ball that is not happening! The speed, that is the part I have been reading in here about Hamilton the speed is something to hang his hat for the next 3 years or so but then birthdays will rob those legs! I cannot imagine comparing the two favorably to Peraza I hope he proves me to be the village idiot but he won’t!

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