This week’s respondents are Nick Carrington, Chad Dotson, Chris Garber, Bill Lack and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: What do you expect from Jose Peraza’s career with the Reds?
Nick: I still think he has starting potential, but if you made me place my bets right now, I’m wagering Peraza is a solid, part-time player who never hits enough to warrant a full-time gig. I was concerned when they traded for him because of his poor walk rate and low power numbers. Guys like that rely so much on their batting average that a little bad luck can result in a dismal offensive output. If Peraza could become an 85-90 wRC+ guy who plays shortstop, then maybe he becomes a reliable starter. But right now, we don’t know if he can consistently play short, and he’s a long way from getting on base enough or hitting for power.
Chad: I expect Jose Peraza to be the next Zack Cozart. But not necessarily with the All-Star selection and the donkey. I guess I need to explain this one. Remember back in 2014, when Cozart was pretty much the worst-hitting regular in all of baseball? (Cozart hit .221/.268/.300 as a 28-year old.) Well, that season, thanks to his elite defense, Cozart was still worth two and a half wins, which isn’t great, but is enough to justify a starting spot.
I think Peraza has the tools to be an outstanding defensive player. Sure, some people disagree with that, but I see a 23-year old kid with good instincts, good speed, and good hands who has played four different defensive positions since debuting in the big leagues at age 21. If Peraza gets the chance to play shortstop on a regular basis beginning in 2017 — and that’s what I expect to happen, unless the Reds can pull off a trade for another young shortstop — I fully expect Peraza to develop into a really good defender at that position.
The question then becomes: Will he hit? If the gains he made in the second half — Peraza hit .268/.333/.305 after the 2017 All-Star break — are real (and if you want to be optimistic, there is a data point in your favor), then he can be an average offensive contributor with an above-average glove. There is real value in a player like that. Most likely, in my mind: Peraza will be just good enough to justify having him in the lineup (at the bottom of the lineup) while waiting for the Reds to acquire an upgrade. Of course, that’s exactly how I would have described Zack Cozart three years ago.
Chris: Peraza has walked 29 times in 799 major league plate appearances. He has 33 extra base hits. He’s not fast enough, or a good enough defender to survive that. Peraza’s game might have played in 1978, but could you imagine him stepping onto the field during the 2017 World Series? He doesn’t even play the same sport. The Reds may give Peraza first crack at the 2018 shortstop job, but my prediction is that he doesn’t start 100 more games in a Reds uniform.
Bill: He’s young, so I think the jury is still out on him, but the closing is ticking. If he’s the first half of ’17 – Peraza, he doesn’t help this team at all, if he’s the second half, he might. With his lack of power, he simply has to get on base to help the team. For the first time since coming to the Reds his BABIP was close to average, and that doesn’t bode well, as his performance dropped so much. His defense isn’t good enough (at 2B or SS) to make up for not getting base and combined with his lack of power, his offense is going to determine his playing time.
Steve: Jose Peraza’s career with the Reds will be as a utility infielder, at best. He hits for no power. He does not walk enough to put up a decent on-base percentage, even assuming he can develop an average hit skill. In short, Peraza is one of the least productive hitters in baseball. His defense can favorably be described as so-so at 2B and SS. The Dodgers and Braves moved Peraza off shortstop and scouting reports about his defense have been mixed. He may get some extended play at short this year if the Reds don’t address that problem through a trade. It’s hard for an organization to admit they made such a colossal misjudgment in a trade. But the sooner they move on from Peraza, the better. He’s young. I hope Jose Peraza proves me loud wrong.