You often see a hitter’s performance presented as their “slash line.” The first number is the batting average (AVG), the second number is on-base percentage (OBP) and the third number is slugging percentage (SLG). Slash line stats depict three distinct skills of the batter: hitting, on-base and power.

Here are three examples of career slash lines:

  • Sean Casey: .322/.381/.392

  • Johnny Bench: .267/.342/.476

  • Adam Dunn: .237/.364/.490

Slash line data as presented is a vast improvement compared to simply using a hitter’s batting average for evaluation. You get much more information about the hitter’s production and value. But the way slash line data is presented makes it needlessly complicated to figure out the on-base and power tools. It’s an easy problem to fix.

On-base Skill

A player’s on-base percentage shows how often he gets on base, either by hit, walk or being hit by a pitch. OBP includes the player’s batting average. So if the purpose is teasing out the players added on-base skills in addition to getting hits, OBP is an inefficient way to show it.

We can isolate and quantify the on-base skill by subtracting a player’s AVG from his OBP. Or, a simple direct formula is:

Walks + HBP/Plate Appearances

This identifies the percentage of times the hitter gets on base by walks and being hit by pitches. For the rest of this post, let’s call it the on-base margin (OBM).

For the vast majority of hitters, walks earned are a much larger number than HBP, so the difference between batting average and on-base percentage is roughly the percentage of plate appearances the batter walks. The league-average walk rate (8.5%) produces a .060 OBM, again, the difference between AVG and OBP.

So when you look at a hitter’s slash line, subtract the first number from the second and compare it to .060. You’ll know whether the hitter has good or bad “on-base” or “plate discipline” skills, at least based on his walk-rate.

Power Skill

People often assume SLG is a good measure of power. It is to an extent, but can be misleading because it gives hitters credit for reaching first base, like through a single. A simple example makes this point. Which of these players hits for more power?

  • A: .325/.375/.450

  • B: .265/.335/.425

If you judge by SLG, the last number, Hitter A hits with more power. But if you leave out getting to first base – which you can do by subtracting AVG from the slugging percentage, that leaves you the extra bases earned from doubles, triples and home runs. That number (SLG minus AVG) gives you the batters “isolated power” or ISO. In our example, Hitter A’s isolated power is .125 while Hitter B’s isolated power is .160. Hitter A gets more singles, but hitter B gets more extra-base hits. ISO is a better measure than SLG of the skill of hitting for power.

Improving the Slash Line

The slash line provides important information about three of a hitter’s offensive skills. If we modified the conventional slash line by presenting the same information in a slightly different way, the data would be clearer. We should substitute OBM for OPS as the second term, isolating the on-base skill. We should use ISO instead of SLG, better defining the power skill. Here are our two players with the modified slash line:

  • A: .325/.050/.125

  • B: .265/.070/.160

With the new formulation we can easily see that Hitter A has a much better hit skill, while Hitter B has a better on-base and power skills. Let’s do the fix for the three Reds players above:

  • Casey: .322/.059/.070

  • Bench: .267/.075/.209

  • Dunn: 237/.127/.253

Sean Casey had the best hit skill of the three. Adam Dunn was a monster when it came to on-base and power skills. All this information is already present in the conventional slash line format.

Enough dry statistics theory and history. Let’s talk about Jose Peraza.

Photo: Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer

Jose Peraza On-Base and Power

Jose Peraza has about the same number of plate appearances this year with the Reds as he did last year. Here are his batting lines:

  • 2016: .324/.352/.411

  • 2017: .254/.280/.335

At first glance, Peraza has been much worse across the board than last year. But if we use our new-and-improved slash line:

  • 2016: .324/.028/.087

  • 2017: .254/.026/.081

It turns out that Peraza’s on-base skill and power skill are almost identical in 2017 as they were in 2016. Neither year is good. In fact, his on-base number is one of the lowest in the league. In Peraza’s case, he’s actually been hit by pitches more often than he’s walked. Peraza hasn’t walked at all in June.

Peraza’s power (ISO) is down a little bit, but is essentially the same. League average ISO in 2017 is .170. So as with on-base skills Peraza is also extremely poor at hitting for power. But the point right now is that he’s been roughly the same this year. Albeit both bad.

But what about his Batting Average?

Jose Peraza Batting Average

Peraza’s batting average is .070 lower this year. That’s a gigantic difference. Can we figure out what’s behind it?

Thanks to the data collected by StatCast, we have detailed insight. Peraza is hitting the ball with less authority this year. His average exit velocity is down from 84.2 mph to 82.2 mph. The average distance his fly balls travel is down from 163 feet to 157 feet. Peraza’s percent of “barrels” per plate appearance is down from 1.6% to 1.4%. While his percentage of hard-hit balls has remained steady at 21.3%, Peraza’s soft-hit percentage has jumped from 19.4% to 26.8%.

These numbers are all incredibly low. MLB average exit velocity is 87.4 mph, fly ball distance 182 feet and barrels per plate appearance 4.4%. Other Reds (through Monday):

  • Adam Duvall: 89 mph, 202 feet, 7.5% barrels

  • Joey Votto: 87.6 mph, 207 feet and 8.4% barrels

  • Billy Hamilton: 78.5 mph, 160 feet and 0.3% barrels (1 barreled ball in 232 balls in play)

So one reason Peraza’s batting average is down is that he’s making worse contact. Why? He swings at 41% of the pitches out of the strike zone, compared to 38.3% last year. League average is 30.7%. That’s a big factor. Quality of contact suffers for every hitter when he hits a ball not in the strike zone. Plate discipline and batting eye are huge problems for Peraza. It manifests as softly hit balls.

But another difference from 2016 to 2017 is luck. Jose Peraza has been unlucky this year and was bigly lucky last year. Based on his hit portfolio – line drives, fly balls, pop-ups, hard-hit balls and running speed – Peraza’s expected BABIP last year was .325, but it actually was .361. This year, his expected BABIP is .303, but is actually .292 (Chamberlain, 2.0). So if you add the extra 36 points from last year with the 11 points this year, about two-thirds of his fall in batting average is explained by worse luck.

Jose Peraza hit .324 last year and – surprise! – he isn’t a .324 hitter. He’s batting .254 this year and he’s been a little bit better than that. The 70-point drop in batting average from last year to this year is about one-third worse hitting and two-thirds where the ball has landed. But still roughly a 20-point increment of worse hitting.

To finish analyzing Jose Peraza, we need to take a quick detour back to Barry Larkin’s career.

A Short Point About Barry Larkin

23-year-old (1987) Barry Larkin produced this line: .244/.306/.371

Here it is in our easier-to-interpret version: .244/.062/.127

At age 23, Larkin had a worse batting average than Peraza does. But even early in his career, the University of Michigan grad was showing much better on-base skills and power than Jose Peraza. Larkin finished his Hall of Fame career .295/.076/.149.

Slash and Learn

Jose Peraza remains a severely flawed hitter. He has a horrible eye at the plate. This results in too many swings at pitches outside the strike zone and lots of soft, lousy contact. It also means he hardly ever, ever, ever walks. In addition, Peraza has exhibited little power.

On the other hand, Jose Peraza is just 23 years old and hasn’t played a full major league season yet. It’s too early to judge whether Peraza is going to be an average or even good major league hitter. Chase Utley didn’t make the major leagues until he was 24. Brandon Phillips was playing for a Cleveland minor league affiliate at 23. But there are examples on both sides. Cal Ripken won the MVP at age 22; and Alex Rodriguez had 150 home runs, 130 stolen bases and won a batting title by age 23.

What Peraza needs most right now – desperately – is to work on his approach. Playing every day, which he didn’t do for a chunk of last year, is part of the solution. It’s necessary, but not sufficient. Peraza is playing every day now and his approach is getting worse. That’s a conclusion based on fact, not opinion.

What the front office needs to figure out is where Jose Peraza has a better chance of making a significant change in his hitting. Does Peraza need to be facing major league competition? Maybe the minor leagues, where focus can be on developing the player, would be better. There’s ample evidence the former hasn’t been working.

70 Responses

  1. Derek Bryant

    Johnny Bench was better than Adam Dunn and Sean Casey. No stats will ever convince me otherwise.

    • Big56dog

      the position he played has a lot to do with it, if we are really going to compare hitting its hard to argue considering the prior to the 80’s season Bench had

    • docmike

      Dunn was a better hitter, although as a left fielder he is expected to be better than a catcher.

      Considering the positions they played, and also taking in defensive skill, Bench was the better all-around player.

      Still, Adam Dunn was grossly underappreciated by the fanbase during his time in Cincy. People just couldn’t look past that .237 BA.

      • Derek Bryant

        I never liked Dunn as a player and was happy when he was gone. His strikeouts and poor defense were tiresome.

      • mdhabel

        He has a 129 wRC+ during his time with the Reds. High strike out but also very high walk-rate and 21.6 fWAR. That is 24th all-time in Reds history.

        My dad always talked about how much he didn’t like Dunn and it rubbed off on me because I didn’t know any better but looking back he was a very good player.

      • greenmtred

        Or the hundreds of strikeouts and defensive incompetence.

  2. doofus

    Thanks for the clear OBM and ISO explanation.

    Peraza’s reports from the minors illustrated his low walk rates, but indicated that he made good contact. Perhaps his falling contact rate is due to him trying to hard?

    • Patrick Jeter

      It is due to him swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone. it is harder to make contact with balls than strikes, thus, a lower contact rate.

      • MrRed

        Another way to put this is that major league pitchers both know that they can get him to chase outside the zone against him and they execute that strategy. He’s been figured out and he hasn’t adjusted. He’s also 23. I’m not against sending him down and having him work on selectivity. But boy, that’s a hard thing to learn and master. Add to the poor hitting profile the fact that he doesn’t utilize his speed well and he really isn’t a standout defender and what you have is the makings of a bust…

      • doofus

        Thank you for the clarification. I was alluding to the fact that he is trying to do to much (aka trying to hard); therefore, the low contact rate.

      • Grand Salami

        Joey is the inverse. He barrels more and hits balls further even with a lower exit velocity than Schebler or Duvall. In other words, selectivity in the swing is perhaps the most impactful underlying skill in the hitting approach.

  3. I-71_Exile

    Excellent work, Steve. Thank you. I completely agree that the age at which a player makes the majors plays a huge role in their future success and that’s a big reason why Peraza remains an exciting prospect despite his current struggles at the plate. That said, could he be an example of an early bloomer who really has little room to grow? Doug Gray brought this up a few days ago on his excellent site. He sited a number of scouts who felt Peraza had basically tapped his potential already. That’s disturbing if true.

    My hope—like you suggest—is that he utilizes his think tool and reworks his approach at the plate so that he can be an asset there instead of a big, black hole.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    He is who we thought he was. At least so far. The major area of deficit in Peraza’s skill set has long been his ability to get on base by drawing walks. The question at the time when he was acquired was if his batting average could carry him? The answer so far has been no. Optimists hoped for some gap power to show up and good contact skills combined with speed would enhance his offense. He’s young, so maybe it will improve. I still hold my doubts.

    Which brings me to the question: Can the Reds offense overcome having Hamilton and Peraza in the line up at the same time? Both have similar profiles. Neither gets on base well, neither hits the ball hard, neither has much power, speed is a big part of their game.

    No matter what you think of batting order construction, when you have Hamilton, Peraza, and the pitcher’s spot in your everyday line up, 1/3 of that line up will be relatively easy outs. When Mesoraco isn’t playing it looks even worse as Barnharts offense is still a bit below average. If Hamilton or Peraza bats lead off, and one bats 8th, you’re still going to have a sequence where they bat in a row: 8, 9, 1 That’s a rally killer more often than not. Or an easy inning if the sequencing falls right. I realize the bottom of most team’s order is there for a reason. But it still feels like we’re making it too easy for opposing teams by trotting out Hamilton and Peraza on a regular basis.

  5. sandman

    This article only proves to me that Peraza sucks. I don’t like Peraza and I don’t believe in him. Maybe he’s best suited as a bench piece/pinch hitter. You say he hasn’t played a full season at the big league level yet and that’s true. But, we’re about halfway thru his first full season of starting and it looks as if Reds brass are bound and determined to have him go the rest of the way as the starter, and the results haven’t been good. You pointed that out in good detail here. With all his problems I say send him back to the minors so he can work on changing his approach/swing. I’d think that’d be harder to do at the major league level for a youngster. So send him down. Now, some of you will probably argue that since the Reds aren’t going to do anything this year, that what’s the harm in continuing to let him start. I guess you might have a little bit of a point. But, it seems as if there is a fundamental problem with Peraza that I feel would be best suited to be worked on in the minors. As far as the comparison to Larkin, I’d almost say blasphemy. Peraza is no Larkin nor will he ever be. Larkin was special Peraza is not. Now, I’ve said some pretty harsh things about Peraza here so I will say that I guess I hope he proves me wrong.

  6. VaRedsFan

    I think it’s great that you substituted Hard/Weak contact for BABIP. I personally, don’t care for BABIP as a stat. It can tell a very small story, but far from the whole book. Conclusion – Peraza’s numbers (hitting numbers) are worse this year, because he is making weak contact, not because of some bad luck on balls in play.

    If a guy has been making hard contact all over the yard, then you might point to his low BABIP as unlucky.

    It’s the same for pitchers. Bronson Arroyo wasn’t getting “unlucky” (high BABIP). He was getting pounded because his skill at throwing a baseball is terrible. Luck didn’t have anything to do with it.


    • docmike

      I think it’s better to look a player’s expected BABIP, based on hard/weak contact and grounder/line drive/fly ball rate. Then compare that to their actual BABIP to see if luck is in play or not.

      I think it is silly, though, to dismiss the effect luck can have. A player that is spraying liners all over the place but right at fielders who catch them, is clearly having bad luck. A player who is hitting soft grounders that find holes, or popups that drop in, is clearly having good luck.

  7. james garrett

    Peraza needs to be sent down to work on the hitting just as soon as Cozy returns.The scenario that Hotto outlines of 8,9 and 1 is a big time flaw in our line-up.None of these guys hit the ball hard enough to get a runner in from 3rd and with men on its a joke.Billy won’t go down so Peraza at 23 is the odd man out.He has pop but hits with his hands only and swings at everything. He needs some help in a big way from a hitting coach.

  8. Patrick Jeter

    I think Steve hit the nail on the head regarding Peraza’s “approach” being the problem.

    We usually Judge (see what I did there?) power based on results, which is usually fine since most guys are trying to hit the ball hard. Problem is, Peraza is trying to not hit the ball hard on purpose, seemingly.

    All you have to do is watch Peraza from a side view to understand he is not trying to hit the ball hard. At some point in his career, either he or a coach decided it was best of he attempted to bloop the ball in front of outfielders on pitches away, and pull the ball on the ground on pitches inside. It’s two distinct swings that play out nearly every time. (On pitches in the heart of the plate, he’s actually quite quick and direct to the ball and hits a lot of line drives up the box)

    He has the physical strength to hit for some power, as evidenced by the fact that he has several balls hit in the 103-106mph range this year. For reference, Joey Votto’s hardest hit this year is like 109.8mph, I think.

    He CAN hit the ball harder, he’s just not doing it because of approach and coaching. This is something that needs to be addressed, in my opinion, by coaches at AAA. Peraza should try to put good wood on the ball and let it fall where it may. Stop trying to serve the ball in front of the RFer.

    • VaRedsFan

      Uhhh YEAH! Derrick Jeter was was known as an oppo-type of hitter, but he kept his weight back and drove it the other way. Ivan Rodriguez…Yadi Molina….
      Hit the ball with authority no matter where it goes. He loses that power when he is arm swinging on his front foot. (from mainly swinging at bad pitches)

    • MrRed

      Patrick, you are dropping some truth here. Peraza has a tall order to fill if he’s going to improve at the plate. Not only does he have to change is approach with the strike zone, he has to overhaul his swing. He reminds me of a very effective wiffle ball player. Striving to make contact and hitting it where they ain’t. But he’s getting overpowered and he doesn’t need to. I’ve seen some very easy swings from him that have produced some well struck hits. The ability is there but seems to be tough for him to tap into. Does anybody know why Atlanta and LA traded him away?

  9. Nick Carrington

    Peraza’s profile is the kind that busts frequently. Guys with little power and poor plate discipline have to hit for a really high average to be productive at the plate. Only 25 guys hit .300 or better last year; it’s just really hard to do. I’m certainly not giving up on him yet, but the profile is really concerning.

  10. cfd3000

    Not a Peraza fan and on this site that’s no secret. The fact that he’s young doesn’t somehow automatically mean he’ll get better, only older and more experienced. Better? Maybe and maybe not. My concern is that he seems to be getting worse, whether that’s an eye test or a numbers test they come to the same conclusion. So… on what basis is their cause for optimism? He’s young, but so is nearly every player in the Reds minor league system, the large majority of whom will never make a difference in Cincinnati. So where is the upside or the reason to expect him to get better? Other than driving high fastballs I don’t see anything to get excited about, and major league pitchers are smart enough and good enough to avoid doing just that. Extend Cozart, end the Peraza experiment. At least at the major league level and at least for now.

    • mdhabel

      Im not going to advocate for Peraza but I really don’t think they should extend Cozart. This injury will certainly not be his last and in 3 years it will turn out to be just as frustrating as the BP contract. The most I would do is offer him the QO and overpay for one year to give the plethora of middle infielders we have in the system one more year to develop.

    • Mike Adams

      Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I got to see another young infielder who had difficulty hitting when he came to the majors. He hit under .200 for the first couple years at least.
      His defense was really good and the rest of the team could hit. He ended up being a good hitter and excellent shortstop (Dave Concepcion).
      Peraza may not get better but here is hoping he turns out like Concepcion.

      • Mike Adams

        My mistake. Concepcion hit .260, .205 and .209 in 1970, 1971 and 1972 respectively. After that he was a good hitter with some HR power.

      • MrRed

        Weeelllll let’s slow our role on that one. Davey was an “ok” hitter with little power. Using Steve’s slash line, he was .267/.079/.090. So while he had some on base skill he had very little power and had in fact an 88 OPS+ (or 88 wRC+ if you prefer). What you probably remember was that he was on one of the best offensive teams of all time and benefitted greatly from that.

  11. big5ed

    Peraza is a guy that the scouts and analytics guys would converge on, all proclaiming that he can’t play.

    His swing is utterly awful, using no lower body at all and thus generating limited bad speed or power. The pitch literally knocks the bat out of his hands. It’s hard to believe he got as far as he did with such a bad swing, and it explains why both the Braves and Dodgers gave up on him at such a young age. And that doesn’t even address his inability to understand the strike zone. Not that he is on base very much, but he doesn’t use his speed when he does get on; he’s become a timid base stealer, getting no real lead at all. Nor does he appear to have good baserunning instincts, as I’ve noticed several times that he didn’t take an extra base that Hamilton would have had standing up.

    I think that Peraza right now is the 5th best second baseman in the organization, behind Scooter, Dilson Herrera, Alex Blandino and Shed Long (not necessarily in that order). I don’t know why Peraza is in the major leagues, frankly, other than somebody upstairs doesn’t want to admit a mistake. I would send him to Daytona to start over with the swing and with plate discipline; he probably wouldn’t make it back.

    • IndyRedMan

      Wow…that’s a little rough….maybe a lot rough? Somehow I don’t think those other guys could hit .324 over half a season? Its not that you’re wrong per se…but he is actually rated as a good baserunner. He has a lot of range on defense and a good arm as well. Many great players have started slow with their bats and picked up a slight mechanical adjustment to their swing and took off! I was in Texas when Pudge Rodriguez came up and he swung at everything and was a .260s hitter. He started picking up his leg and striding towards the pitcher and ended up being one of the better hitting catchers ever!

      Peraza will probably never have much power but I like the way he naturally went with the pitch last year and it seemed like he was a timely bunter as well. I wouldn’t give up on him but I don’t see how they can carry him & Billy unless Peraza just becomes a utility guy? If they don’t trade Cozart then I’d send him down and try to make some adjustments at Lville.

      • big5ed

        The league has figured out how to pitch him, which is pretty much expand the strike zone by six inches in every direction. He at best makes weak contact with a defensive, arm-only swing, for what is typically an easy out.

        If you throw him a cookie down the middle at the hitting speed, then he is strong enough to make decent contact. But that requires a major mistake by the pitcher, which will happen every few games, but not enough to make him serviceable.

      • MrRed

        Indy, what you’re probably forgetting about Pudge’s “improvement” at the plate was that he had a little synthetic help.

    • Dewey Roberts

      But Peraza was a player we eagerly traded for.

  12. WVRedlegs

    Very well laid out with good information to have while watching or listening to the game. I have routinely looked at that difference in BA and OBP, but never had a name for it. OBM is great. And the knowledge now of using the .060 difference (BB rate) as the league average marker really helps a lot. I know it doesn’t include the HBP, but it is a good baseline marker, not exact, but close enough.
    We just got OBP on the TV graphics this year. Introduce this into the TV and Radio booth and watch heads explode. Welsh would buy in. I think he read your bullpen piece before going on the air last night. He wasn’t buying “the bullpen is tired” bit either.

  13. IndyRedMan

    What are the Reds other options for SS if they trade Cozart? There’s another Zach at AAA in Mr. Vincej. He’s hitting .286 in his last 10 games (4 walks/3 Ks)…no power but doesn’t K much either and will take a walk unlike Peraza. Have they ever considered Blandino at SS? It doesn’t seem like there is going to be anything available at 2B for the Reds anytime soon?

    • G L

      There has been some talk of moving Suarez back to SS. That leaves a spot for Senzel when he’s ready. Until then, Hernan Iribarren (who really deserves some big league time) can hold down 3B. Scooter could also hold down 3B, but I have him at 2B.

      • mdhabel

        I would not move Suarez with how good he has been at 3rd. We have spent like $30MM on Cuban middle infielders so there are still other potential options that could pan down the road

  14. Old-school

    Nice summary.
    I understand Peraza is just 23….but approach is hard to change…you are hardwired a certain way and this is who Peraza has been. It’s also very difficult to teach plate discipline and inches of the strike zone. It takes years and years and years and is part of who you are as a hitter.

    I think Peraza profiles as a nice utility player.
    I am fine with him playing shortstop and getting more time to develop there once Cozart is traded.. I have a hard time though saying Gennett should go the bench so Peraza plays.

  15. NashvilleRed

    Very good article, but I have never liked ISO as a true measure of power. It is too influenced by batting average. If a player A and player B only hit doubles they have the same power. However, if player A hits .250, by definition his slugging percentage is .500 and ISO is .250. If player B hits .300, he has a SLG of .600 and has an ISO of .300. ISO credits player B as having more power, which is false. Player B is a better hitter but his “true power” is the same as player A. (They both only hit doubles). If you divide total bases by the number of hits it excludes the influence batting average has on ISO. Because both player A and Player B only hit doubles, they would each have 2 total bases per hit. I think that is a better fit for this article.

    Applying that to this years Reds, Votto has the most power by ISO, but Schebler has the highest total bases per hit. Also, by ISO Mesaraco and Cozart are supposed to be similar in power, but Mesaraco’s TBs/H is much higher and closer to that of Duvall and Votto. Off the top of your head, If you were to list the Reds in order of power, the average person’s list would be much closer to the one of the right than the left.

    ISO TB/H
    Votto .289 Schebler 2.09
    Gennet .283 Duvall 1.96
    Schebler .280 Mes 1.96
    Duvall .274 Votto 1.95
    Mes .243 Gennet 1.93
    Cozart .242 Suarez 1.78
    Suarez .203 Cozart 1.76
    Barnhart .123 Barnhart 1.43
    Peraza .81 Hamilton 1.33
    Hamilton .79 Peraza 1.32

    MLB Avg .170 1.67

    • Steve Mancuso

      If two batters get 100 at bats. They both hit nothing but doubles. One batter hits 60 doubles, the other one hits 20 doubles. I’d be willing to say the one with 60 doubles hits with more power. Seems wrong to ignore the percentage of their PA when they hit for extra bases as though that’s just batting average.

    • Streamer88

      Agree with Steve. Your logic is sound but I think your thought experiment misses the essence or spirit of ISO. It attempts to isolate power, which requires hard contact presumably, unless you leg out a weakly hit triple.

      Player B would have more power in your scenario I argue. Power derives from hard contact otherwise, a prerequisite. You cannot stand on 2nd base after a ball in play unless you’ve “not made an out.” Your attempt to tease this out further I think moves further away from the spirit of the stat. I.e. Using your own data, if you needed a double to win the WS, would you want Votto or Schebler at the plate? Your data makes that unclear whereby more vetted metrics make the answer crystal clear (The MVP).

      Good stuff though.

    • mdhabel

      This is interesting but it does seem wrong to be ignoring the fact that one player would be hitting more doubles, even if they both only hit doubles.

  16. msanmoore

    Back to L’Ville and AAA to see if he can change his approach. Your article illustrates the facts very well. Cozart comes back and we have a SS to man that position. Scooter stays at 2B until he proves he isn’t what we’re seeing (even through to the end of the season). We have a whole crop of middle IF guys who might be given a “shot” when/if we trade Cozart. And even with Billy at the top of the line-up, this removes another near-sure out (or that’s what I’ve seen) based on all the plate discipline issues you noted.

    The experiment may not be over … he is VERY young … but it needs to play out the next chapter in AAA.

    • big5ed

      You need to watch Peraza live for a few games to understand how truly bad his swing is. I saw him in the Dodger series and was slack-jawed at how weakly he swings. He is Dal Maxvill/Ray Oyler/Hal Lanier, for those of you old enough to remember.

      He has some good athleticism and perhaps could be rehabbed. I’d send him all the way back to High-A and start all over again, because he is also going to need 2 years to learn the strike zone, as well. He is pretty much useless at this level now, though.

      • msanmoore

        I’ve seen him plenty in the games I’ve watched. “Slack-jawed” is an apt description. Not sure anything less than AAA will help though. He just needs time out of any kind of MLB pressure to be coached into better plate discipline and swing habits.

  17. DavidTurner49

    Thanks for another informative piece Steve.

    I’m not a Peraza fan. The Reds are what, his third org.? Which is most likely- 1) he hasn’t been coached on improving his eye, swing, and contact, or 2) he has been coached and won’t listen or try to change, or 3), he has been coached but doesn’t have the ability to change, improve.

    I think 3) is most likely. I hope I’m wrong. At this point he is a utility guy at best because unlike Billy his fielding and base running are not that great either.

    • IndyRedMan

      3 organizations just means 2 other teams saw some talent and wanted him. He is very smooth and turns some nice double plays. I think he has the bat control to be a good hitter if he gains some plate discipline and can make some mechanical adjustments. This might sound silly but I think it takes some talent to swing at literally everything they throw up there and not K half the time. We’ll see? You guys are probably right but I’ve seen hundreds of guys over the years will themselves into being a pretty decent player with less talent then Peraza. Its up to him?

    • Still a Red

      Hmmm…I agree with INdyRed below…to some extent. It takes some talent to make contact with pitches out of the zone. That skill is hand/eye coordination…otherwise he would be striking out much much more than he does. Not a bad skill to have. Now, #3 above is interesting…to me that means he quite literally cannot physically discern whether a pitch is 1 inch or 6 inches outside the zone…or is emotionally incapable of keeping himself from swinging a bat. That said, i would say he is #2 above…because if he was listening, trying to learn the strike zone better, you would expect him to be taking a hell of lot more strikes. There is a #4 possibility and that is he needs glasses.

  18. Jason Linden

    I think this is, in general, a pretty excellent article. I just have a few things to add.

    1. I saw Jose Peraza play a lot last year in Louisville. Before he was called up the first time, his plate approach was much different. He was still a contact guy, but he was walking more (around 7%) than he ever had before. I asked him about it and he told me it was a conscious effort (that RN post is kicking around somewhere, I’m sure). When he came back down to Louisville, it was completely different. He was swinging at EVERYTHING. I don’t know what happened in Cincy or if it was just being sent down, but something went amiss.

    2. I’ve become really cautious about using exit velocity as a barometer for anything. It doesn’t correlate nearly as well with results as you would think (though there is some correlation). When looking at BABIP contributors, I look first at batted ball type (LD%, FB%, GB%) and then I’ll look at the soft, medium, hard hit buckets. I pretty much never look at average velocity, because these other tools do a better job of telling me what I need to know. To put it more aptly: an 80 MPH line drive is way more likely to be a hit than a 90 MPH fly ball.

    Anyway, good post, Steve, and I agree. The plate approach needs an adjustment. Perhaps we can get JDV working with him.

    • Grand Salami

      That makes it sound like he needs to make the adjustment at the MLB level.

      A 7% walk rate would net about 23 BBs thus far (instead of 5). That puts him where, at about a .320 OBP?

      Man that seems incredibly but a drop of water in a desert seems like an oasis to the dehydrated.

      Can’t Long (is that our hitting coach?) just emphasize taking pitches?

  19. DavidTurner49

    Jason, re your 1. point, how does he come back to AAA with a worse batting approach after getting MLB coaching? Did the pressure of the show and the better pitching override what he was being taught, or was he not getting good coaching? Or . . . ?

    • Jason Linden

      I’d assume pressure. But I don’t really know. I think, though, that it’s easy for all of us to forget what it feels like to be 22. Now imagine being 22 and in the majors. Now imagine being 22 and the heir-apparent to a player who’s been with the team for 10 years and was integral to winning seasons.

      Now, don’t press. At all. yeah.

      • Matt WI

        “I don’t know about you, I’m feeling 22 oooooh ooh.”

        Yes, I did just quote a Taylor Swift song on Redleg Nation. Please don’t ban me.

      • MrRed

        Mind the TOS Matt! That’s a clear violation.

  20. seat101

    Thanks for the effort you put into the article. when so much about how to appreciate baseball and better and different way since I started coming here.

  21. Derek Bryant

    I like Perraza and am willing to put up with his growing pains. I like what he can do and look forward to see what kind of player becomes.

  22. JB WV

    I was impressed with the way he squared the ball up last year, and as Steve notes, not hitting the ball as hard this year. He continues to swing at way too many balls, and of course ML pitchers know this. Adjustments. He has to make them, as pitchers have adjusted to him. Way too early to write him off, as many did with Duvall, Suarez, and Schebler. Oh, that’s right, Cozart was never going to hit, either.

    • Mike Adams

      Hey, JB. You are right about Cozart, like my point above on Concepcion. I think I used to call on you at the coke plant when I worked for circle bar W.

  23. David Eberly

    Thanks for the article. My question for the universe – can someone who is this bad significantly improve? I have always felt that it might be easier to, say, improve batting average or power, but not “on base skills” even if willing. I hope I’m wrong in Peraza’s case, because if he cannot, he is a replacement level player.

  24. Chuck Schick

    23 year old Dave Concepcion was
    .205/.246/.251. If RLN had existed in 1971 Concepcion would’ve been crushed and Sparky would’ve been called a clown for not giving more time to the reliable Woody Woodward.

    • Streamer88

      I laughed at your comment at first. And I don’t mean to ruin the legend of Concepcion but if he played today it’s very much possible he would go down as a decent starter or perhaps a very, very good 5th infielder. Especially if he wasn’t in the core of one of the greatest teams ever assembled.

    • larry

      Great comment. Excellent comparison between Concepcion’s 23 season and Paraza’s 23 season. Here’s hoping that he develops into another David C.

  25. Streamer88

    While I’m starting to worry about his OBP (and hence largely his ability to generate offensive value) I remain a Peraza guy for now. He will proceed to his true BA mean which I truly believe is near .300 which will buoy his OBap in the .330s. With exceptional defense at SS (must be a SS, a great defensive SS, to make my prediction even plausible), and learns to be lethal on the base paths, he can take his below average offense and create 2.5-3 WAR per year from age 26-31. Tell me it’s possible!! We landed on the moon, cured smallpox, tell me it’s possible!

    Otherwise he’s got grit. We know teams love that.

    • Darrin

      I don’t feel like it’s that far of a stretch. Somebody needs to tell him he’s not 160 pounds anymore, he can do more than the “just put the ball in play” philosophy. I really think the pressure not to strike out is really hindering his approach.

  26. Dave Bell

    This post kind of depresses me. Not just the Peraza stuff, none of which I can argue with. But also this little nugget: Billy Hamilton has barreled exactly one ball out of the 232 he’s put into play this year. Can we puhleeeze start targeting baseball players instead of toolsy projects?

    • greenmtred

      Target hitters, is what your comment implies. BH is scarcely a project in the other areas of his game.

  27. doctor

    “…Sean Casey: .322/.381/.392…..”

    Casey wishes this was his actual career slash line. Alas, only its his line of his time in Boston. 🙂

  28. j.wood

    Peraza is thinking of results, not the process. He needs to be thinking about if he made the right swing on the right pitch, then letting the hits fall or not.