Jose Peraza has had a good month. Over the past 28 days (24 games) Peraza is batting .337 with a .360 OBP and .823 OPS. If the season were only 24 games old, Peraza would be top 5 in the National League in batting average, top 30 in OBP, and have a higher OPS than Joey Votto. What’s remarkable is that the season is 27 games old. Those THREE games where Peraza batted 0-12 to start the season manipulate his split mentioned above to the tune of .299/.321/.733. Not awful by any means, but certainly not as good if we were to discredit the first 3 games of the season.

Sample size is everything. Although Peraza has had a good month, you can see just how small the sample size is by how much his numbers are affected by taking only 3 games out of the equation. That being said, I think the last 24 games have been important for Peraza. He’s hitting the ball consistent and for some power. You can tell he has confidence at the plate.

I’ll be honest; so far in his career Jose Peraza has been a little puzzling. He burst onto the scene in 2016 with solid numbers, regressed in 2017 over a full season, and has performed relatively well, much like his 2016 self, in 2018. You can see the stats by year below:

I think a lot of this is to be expected for a young player such as Peraza. Although it feels like he’s been around forever, you have to remember that he’s only 24 years old and has only had 1 full year starting at the major league level. So far in his career he’s shown that he’s capable, but inconsistent at times.

The one thing that does worry me about Peraza’s stat line and his overall approach at the plate is his walk rate. Among all qualified hitters in baseball this year Peraza is dead last in walks (2). In 2017 he was third last (20) and had the lowest walk rate in baseball at .017. That is alarming.

So, what does this all mean when we try to decipher who Jose Peraza is as a hitter? Well, I think his numbers speak for themselves. At this point in his career, Peraza is pretty effective when it comes to purely putting the bat on the ball. He is a competent hitter but lacks the ability to draw walks and get on base at a respectable clip. With a player like Peraza (and all players, honestly) showing the ability to get on base by walking is so important because when the bat goes cold (like it can for Peraza at times) the player still has value and can still reach base by their ability to work the strike zone and draw a walk. Jose Peraza at this point in his career is one dimensional. If he aint hitting, he aint getting on base.

The biggest question moving forward in my mind is if Jose Peraza can improve upon his approach at the plate and get on base at a higher percentage. Again, he’s only 24 years old and this is only his second full season starting, so I don’t think it’s completely out of the question. The largest concern right now for me is that there has been zero progress so far this year to convince me of that. His approach this year is exactly the same as it was last year and his walk rate is comparable.

So, what if Jose Peraza is who he is and he can’t improve upon his walk rate and OBP? Are you happy with him as your starting shortstop? I think a lot of that is to be determined by his production the rest of this season. If his hitting can continue to elevate his OBP and make up for his lack of walks then I think he has a spot on this team, maybe just not in the number 2 spot in the lineup.

Jeff is Cincinnati born, Ohio University educated. Reds baseball has been a central theme of his family ever since his mom and dad helped him skip school to attend Opening Day. Jeff has been accused of having a “man crush” on Joey Votto and longs for the day that he gets to witness the Reds finally win a playoff series. You can follow him on Twitter @Gaaangs

Join the conversation! 31 Comments

  1. Peraza’s entire approach is puzzling to me sometimes. Like last night for example, I think it was his first at bat and he flew out with a little easy swing to either the right fielder or somebody else.
    What bothered me about it was the fact that he just had a real easy swing like he was just trying to make contact, instead of trying to punish the baseball. And it was in an 0-1 count.
    With the few times I’ve seen him hit some really hard balls off the bat, I feel like there’s more power in there than he uses.

    Like he’s really reducing the potential for more power by swinging at an 0-1 breaking ball just trying to make contact. At least, that’s what I can tell from arm rest analysis. Does anybody else get this feel from Peraza? It just seems like he never sells out and tries to kill a ball instead of just making contact.

    • The Brewers SS Arcia was swinging for the fences 0-2. With the pitcher behind you it makes sense, but still, you have to admire the guts.

      Whether it’s Blandino striking out looking 7 out of 50 at-bats, Hamilton looking completely lost, or Peraza not in kill-mode w/ less than 2 strikes, this team could do better at adjusting within the at-bat. Good gravy, it’s not like they don’t have the best hitter in baseball to observe night in night out!

      • I call it “controlled aggression” … Early in the count and ahead in the count, look for one pitch and do with it what you want to do with it. In most cases you’re looking for a pitch in your wheelhouse (usually a fastball but sometimes you may be looking for a hanging breaking ball) and you’re going to try to hit it hard from up-the-middle to the pull side. In some cases, you may be looking for a pitch away that you can try to hit the other way. In some cases you may be looking for something else in particular. Then behind in the count, you get less aggressive. With two strikes you try to make contact on pitches at the margins or if you’re really good, you try fouling off those marginal pitches until you get one to your liking to hit hard.

    • I notice the same thing. He just tried to intercept the ball with his bat. It’s like if he could he would literally stop the ball in mid air and after playing with it for a second, placing it out beyong the infield but before the outfield. I’m just not buying into him. The only way he wins me over is if he not only hits .300, but if he’s at .320 or even higher. With him, his AVG is his OBA. If he can keep his AVG up for a prolonged time, they’ll stop coming right at him and maybe his walks will jump a little. History shows though that guys will low walk rates, stay guys with low walk rates.

      • I don’t know about the last part. Suarez and many others have upped their selectivity by seeing pitches and making it a focus to be more selective. Other guys are free swingers their whole careers. Two of them are Berra and Vlad Guerrero so it can work if you’re that kind of good – Peraza is a good contact hitter but I think everyone reading agrees that’s a bad idea for him.

        I have no idea what numbers say about players’ changes in K/BB% over their careers. I would love to know, though. I’d also imagine it improves slightly as you age One thing I’m certain on, however, is that it can be improved if you try. I’ve coached a lot of people to improve that aspect by simply looking for the right pitch (usually drive a fat fastball early or take). Let’s see if he works on it and improves – he’s still pretty young.

    • Pete Rose and Ichiro both did that often, seeking singles contact instead of driving the ball. Peraza doesn’t have that much power anyway (though he hit two homers in game recently), so it’s not like he’s wasting an opportunity to hit the ball out of the yard most times.

      My bigger worry about that sort of swing is the effect it has on his selectivity. If you’re just playing pepper and trying to make solid contact with everything tossed your way, you can. Well, at least, he does. It’s a nice display of his contact ability, but sitting more on a pitch to drive would also reduce the times he chases anything else that is not that pitch, such as sliders and curves in the dirt, which he struggles with.

      The reason Peraza looks so strange up there is because he approaches every pitch like an older player would’ve approached an 0-2 or 1-2 count – just get a bat on it. That’s a fast disappearing approach with two strikes and is ineffective (see the sub – 2% walk rate) as an every pitch tactic. Hopefully, as he ages, he’ll go up there looking to hit a hard line drive in his pitch and, if he doesn’t get it, taking a walk or getting the bat on tough strikes (see Votto, Joey).

  2. It is germane Peraza is batting in front of Votto. It’s Entirely possible that We can’t judge his batter’s eye until he’s batting in front of someone else. It’s obvious he’s better at the plate. Much better. Right now his grade on his walk rate is incomplete.

    • I’m thinking we got 3303 PA in professional baseball of an abysmal 4.5% BB rate that says we know his walk rate grade is an F.

  3. Good comments. Welsh touched on this Seat101 not too long ago. He attributes some of Peraza recent hitting to batting in front of votto. They are attacking him often and trying to jam him, but for now he is turning on it and pulling the inside pitch. That’s a good adjustment. What I’ve noticed for power is that when he really has his legs in his swing and keeps his shoulder and hips in linelhe can really hit it hard. He has a tendency to get out on his front foot and swing with all arms on outside pitches. Thus the lazy right field pop ups. Which could be a long term problem or just a bad habit born out of being better then your competition growing up. Perhaps Peraza could take a lesson from the mes school of deep crouching and attempting to murder baseballs.

  4. Peraza is 329 out of 336 ranked players on exit velocity. I will let you guess who is 336.

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_leaderboard

    Peraza does not walk and does not hit the ball hard. I have never been impressed.

    • Yeah, no matter what he does this year, I am so, so, SO ready to move on from Peraza and especially Hamilton. I don’t give a flip about his D, he leaves more runs in the dugout on offense than he ever saves in the field over an average CF.

      Peraza needs his swing and approached tweaked for more power. If he does that, keep him, if not, make him a last throw in on a trade to a SS starved team for a good SP1/2 type or a really solid hitting CF.

    • That’s kind of where I’m at. If he can turn himself into an above-average fielder, especially at a premium position like SS, then a BABIP-driven high-contact/low-power bat can work. If not, then he’s a very marginal player assuming his walks don’t increase and/or his power doesn’t increase.

  5. And his defense is improving. Who coaches these guys in the field? Suarez has shown great strides and now Peraza is showing good progress.

  6. I agree that Peraza is hitting better, and am pleased by that. But I’m still disappointed with his production. EVERY batter should walk at least 5% of the time. Sometimes a walk is entirely the pitcher’s fault (or intent) and that’s a couple percent walk rate right there. But learning to take borderline pitches and lay off pitches you can’t hit hard is as important to being a good hitter as hard contact on fat pitches. I would actually rather see Peraza strike out more AND walk more than always put the ball in play and very often weakly so. I’m guessing his BABIP is unsustainably high in this positive recent run. Call me when he’s not in the bottom 10% of the league in exit velocity, his walk rate breaks 5%, and his OBP stays over .350. Then I’ll start thinking that the Reds wouldn’t be better off with Senzel or Suarez at short. Kudos for improvement but let’s not get carried away.

    • I saw a couple of the Braves games here (in metro ATL). Peraza, for all his solid contact, sure can’t judge pitches very well. He looked like a little leaguer swinging at a ball a foot off the plate. Worst part? It was the FIRST pitch with mildly wild pitcher. TAKE PITCHES if they aren’t down the middle on strike one and RECOGNIZE the spin on the ball to know it ain’t no fastball.

      I could do most of that in little league. I didn’t have much power either because no one ever taught me to GET EXTENDED. I swung VERY fast bat, but because I didn’t get my arms fully extended (longer lever arm) I didn’t have the power that looked like it should have went with it. Oh to go back to little league and know what I know now. I’d have lead the league in HRs and been one of the shortest players in the league. Sigh.

  7. If Votto were batting 9th would everyone in front of him see better pitches? (too many holes in this lineup)

  8. I can give him this year to prove he can or can’t be the Reds shortstop for the next 10 years.I would like to see him walk more of course.The thing that is troubling me is he has some pop but he just slaps at the ball and well it goes no where.He needs to just swing and swing hard.

  9. He might have to hit like Tony Gwynn in order to get a good OBA. Pitchers are going to concentrate on throwing strikes to him since he is dangerous on the bases. If he develops some power, that could change as they would likely pitch more carefully to him.

  10. Give me .325/.350 like he did in 2016 and I can live with the low walk rate. It’s just who he is.

  11. The good news is this 2018 season is back on track in terms of answering questions.

    .The offense is purring and could be really good in 1 month. Winker is hitting..Senzel is back healthy and looks like he’s ready to have a big May. Suarez is back 100% . My sleeper pick for 40 home runs is Scott Schebler. He’s the 5 hole hitter if I’m managing for 140 games. Scooter is not looking like he’s going to generate any real trade interest other than a salary dump.

    It’s back to Pitching and shortstop and the outfield.
    Mahle +2
    Garrett +2
    Castillo -2
    Romano +1
    Finnegan -1

    Peraza +1
    Hamilton -2
    Duvall -2
    Winker +2
    Schebler +3

    • I love Schebs. As long as he stays healthy (which is iffy) I think he has a spot on the roster of the next good Reds team.

  12. Would the LA Dodgers like to have Jose Peraza back? Now that SS Corey Seager is out for the year. If they cannot afford Manny Machado since he would put them over the luxury tax threshold?
    Peraza could play SS this year and 2B afterwards. Dodgers don’t have a real 2B other than 40 year old Chase Utley for the future.
    I know the Dodgers pedaled Peraza to the Reds. But his salary would keep them under the threshold. There isn’t another SS on a bad team that would keep the Dodgers under that threshold. O’s Machado won’t. Texas’s Andrus won’t. Rays Hechavarria at $6MM probably doesn’t. SD’s Galvis $7MM probably doesn’t. And the Twins Escobar at $5MM might not. Without LAD making another trade to pare some payroll to make one fit.
    The White Sox are probably not trading Anderson.
    And LAD probably wouldn’t want KC’s Escobar or DET’s Iglesias.
    The LAD could turn to Miami and make a trade for Starlin Castro and move him back to SS, But maybe not at $10MM this year and $11MM next year. That puts him in Machado and Andrus neighborhood on the salary hit. Castro is having a nice season s far though.
    That really leaves only Peraza and Miami’s SS Miguel Rojas, a former Dodger like Peraza. So LAD will know each very well. Both at near league minimum in salary. Rojas had a good year last year, not so much this year. Peraza is riding a hot wave now. If Senzel or Suarez are going to get another look at SS, the Reds could try to trade Peraza while he is riding high. Peraza also figures in post-2018 at 2B more than the others.
    Machado might be LA’s plan-A, but Peraza could be plan-B.

    • Probably more of a plan Z. There is enough talent on the team to fill the position internally. If that doesn’t work they have prospects to trade and the other team eats the salary

  13. He needs to start walking some. Like 5-6% of the time, which at this point is a big increase but still under league average. If he can’t, then he’s a utility guy and we sort out the left side of the infield with Suarez and Senzel.

  14. Goodness gracious MLB needs a pitching clock. Anderson is measuring the grass out there between pitches.

  15. Well, anybody who knows me knows I’ve never been a supporter of Peraza. So, I see “one-dimensional” and his seeming inability to draw a walk, as confirmation of my stance.

    So, to answer your question…no, not happy with him as the starting shortstop. Again, no surprise to anybody who knows me.

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About Jeff Gangloff

Jeff is Cincinnati born, Ohio University educated. Reds baseball has been a central theme of his family ever since his mom and dad helped him skip school to attend Opening Day. Jeff has been accused of having a "man crush" on Joey Votto and longs for the day that he gets to witness the Reds finally win a playoff series. You can follow him on Twitter @Gaaangs

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