Each Monday morning, we’ll ask a few of our authors and friends of the site to answer an important question concerning the Reds. Do you agree with any of our writers? Give us your opinion in the comments section.

Question: What do you make of Jose Peraza’s start and does it justify his reduced playing time?

Doug Gray: Jose Peraza is clearly pressing. When the team brought in Jose Iglesias they stated Peraza was the starting shortstop to take pressure off of him of thinking he was playing for his job. Then Scooter Gennett gets injured and immediately Peraza is removed from the shortstop position. Rightly or wrongly, he probably felt like there was something he had to prove – and it’s easier to prove it with the bat. I think he’s trying to “win” the job at the plate and he’s pressing and trying to hit everything. And, well, we’ve seen the result of that approach. It’s not good. At this point, I would certainly be trying to get Derek Dietrich more time in the lineup. If that’s at the expense of Peraza, so be it. I would not bench him outright. He still needs to be in the lineup 5 times a week – whether that’s at second or shortstop.

Wes Jenkins: Jose Peraza, for some reason, has been trying to hit dingers. Looking at his batted ball stats, the pull percentages are roughly the same, the hard-to-soft contact percentages are roughly the same, and the ground ball rate is about where it was last year. The difference: Where Peraza used to hit line drives, he’s now hitting fly balls. Coupled with his extreme strikeout rate, I think Peraza started thinking too much about his power surge from last year and has been pressing to repeat it as a result. Once the other bats come around and Peraza doesn’t feel the need to swing like Joey Gallo, I think the continued breakout many of us anticipated will come. It’s just, with such a bad offensive start by the whole team, people start to press. Jose just hasn’t stopped pressing quite yet.

Jason LInden: No. And it’s an absurd question. First of all, 2/3 of the lineup is registering negative WAR right now. None of the outfield has been hitting and it’s not like those guys bring defensive value either. So I don’t know why we’re looking specifically at Peraza here. Peraza’s BABIP as of the moment I’m typing this, is under .200 which is literally impossible to sustain. I hate how early season numbers influence our views. We’re talking about 54 PAs. That’s a meaningless sample.

Tom Mitsoff: Peraza’s slow start is a big surprise. He had the fourth-most hits in the National League last season, and was a very difficult out in the second half. He looked like he had matured as a hitter, and would be a key cog in a formidable offensive attack. Instead, he has joined the majority of his teammates in a season-opening slump, ending an 0-for-24 streak with a leadoff single Saturday night. Despite what appeared to be a breakout season offensively in 2018, Peraza’s major hitting slump resulted in body language that has reflected some self-doubt. To date, Bell has sat every position player from time to time, so Peraza sitting on occasion has not been out of the ordinary.

38 Responses

  1. greenmtred

    I share Jason’s attitude: The whole batting order–nearly–is wallowing in varying degrees of futility. Peraza is probably pressing. Probably most of them are. Maybe it will get better. Maybe not. Only my first sentence is an attempt to characterize Jason’s attitude.

    • KDJ

      Which is the anomaly . . . the second half of last year or the rest of his career to date? Though mostly a doubter of him, I really thought he had turned a corner last year and had matured/developed at the plate. I don’t see this as an all or nothing question. Should 50 at bats determine our evaluation of a player . . . no. Should a productive partial season mean we send the player out there for years with job security regardless of the output . . . no. This isn’t Little League, where everyone gets to play. It is not college intramurals, where politics dictates playing time. The players who are producing should get the most playing time.

  2. CFD3000

    I am concerned by what I’ve seen from Peraza so far. Yes, it’s a small sample size and yes, we give it more weight since it’s starting the year and the only sample available. But a .200 BABIP is absolutely sustainable if you never hit the ball hard. Right now I can remember exactly one hard hit ball that should have been a Peraza hit – the Wil Myers grab in deep right center. But that’s offset by the weak profile of the ball that finally fell for a hit. If Peraza continues to hit weak grounders, lazy fly balls, and soft bloopers his numbers won’t get better. Is he capable of more? Of course – we’ve seen it. Will he figure out how to be more productive again? I hope so but I do have some doubts.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    ZERO walks so far for Peraza (just 2 for Puig as well). I’m starting Senzel at SS at Louisville if I’m in charge and playing Jose Iglesias/Dietrich the bulk of the time for now. The 2nd half ‘breakout’ from Peraza last year was apparently just a good stretch as he has regressed back to the free swinger he seems to prefer. I mean, surely he’s been given all the data that says his plate approach is unsustainable yet at-bat after at-bat he chooses to hack away early in the count. An the ‘he’s young’ argument doesn’t fly with me in the sense that he’s in his 3rd full year.

    • VaRedsFan

      Several coaches have said Senzel will never be a SS. I saw nothing saying he couldn’t from the small sample of last Spring. But, I’ll have to defer the expertise of the people that saw him on a daily basis.

      • vegastypo

        I really wish I knew the coaches’ reasoning for making that determination. If it’s because of defense, Senzel would get better there. And it ain’t like Peraza inspires a lot of confidence defensively, either.

  4. jreis

    I Agree with Doug he is pressing too hard. He is an emotionally sensitive guy and when he feels he is competing for a spot he tries too hard and swings at bad pitches. I think it is up to David Bell to make him feel more comfortable. Y ou wonder too if the language barrier is a factor as well

  5. AllTheHype

    I can sum up Peraza’s issues with 2 stats: 0 BBs and 44.8% chase percentage (swings at pitches OUT of the zone). Last year it was 34.4%. He’s undisciplined and pitchers are exploiting it.

  6. WVRedlegs

    I had to borrow this quote from Red Reporter. Hilarious on one side, not funny at all on the other side.
    “Jose Peraza has not walked since September 6 of last year.
    Babies have been born and learned how to walk since then.”

    • greenmtred

      Precocious babies, but the point is well taken. The Reds need to get guys on base. If one of those solo homers yesterday had been a 2 or 3-run job, the seep would have been looking likely.

  7. B-town fan

    As to the language barrier. To my understanding Peraza speaks English quite well, he is just not as comfortable doing TV interviews in English.

  8. VaRedsFan

    I thought he had turned the corner last year when he banged out 180-something hits last year. So I’m willing to give him a little more rope this year.

    To me, he is all “arm swinging” with his weight on his front foot. He needs to stay back and drive the ball.

    I disagree with Wes. Last year when he was going good, he stayed back and drove the ball to his pull side.

    Iglesias’s swing is so much more authoritative and on balance

  9. David

    He’s struggling.
    Where is the Reds’ hitting coach?

    Does he need an intervention? Is he pressing, and do his pants have sharp creases?

    He needs some days off, and needs to work with the hitting coach and look at tapes of himself hitting from last year and this year. Some of the commenters above have pretty much identified his problems. Where are his coaches, or is he just being stubborn and ignoring them?

    • JB WV

      I’m with you Dave. So much was made of our new pitching and hitting coaches when they were signed. We’re one-eighth in on the year and almost the entire lineup is well below their normal numbers. I also think Peraza was thrown a curveball (inadvertent pun) with his quick move to second. But I’m more concerned with Puig’s best buddy. Time to get these guys hitting. The pitching coach is holding up his end.

  10. CP

    Peraza needs to be more patient period. Whether that translates to more walks or just better contact, it’s kind of irrelevant at this point. His strikeout rate has also basically doubled, which is how I know he’s pressing.

    The guy will hit eventually. I don’t know if he’ll replicate his power surge, but he will hit. Jason is dead on that everyone puts this weird emphasis on the first 10-20 games of the year, but he can’t keep going at this pace. Peraza does highlight the problem with low walk guys in general is they provide absolutely no value when they go into a slump, whereas more patient hitters still gobble up some walks here and there.

  11. BigRedMike

    Peraza has a wRC+ of -7 in 70 PA

    The Reds OF has a -1.8 WAR.

    Likely not sustainable and there are really no replacements for the 5 players. Maybe Senzel at some point. Puig’s numbers are pretty awful

    The hitting will certainly improve, but, can the pitching continue to be as solid.

  12. Klugo

    He, like nearly every other hitter in the Reds lineup, needs better discipline at the plate. I dont know if it’s a philosophy being pushed by a new regime, or the guys just being too amped up for the season, or what, but they are swing at too many balls.

  13. Jefferson Green

    SSS alert. Combine that with him not having the steady stream of starts at the same position as he had last year, I think the only adjustment to consider is to put him at the same position every day, perhaps back at shortstop and let veterans Iglesias and Dietrich handle the adjustments to position and playing time. He spent 4+ months – not a small sample – last season playing at a high level (3 WAR in that time) once he settled in and adjusted after his early slump. Not only did it earn him the chance to do it again this year, his return to being a player who generates .75 WAR/month at a position of need for this team would be a big contributor to team success in 2019-2021.

  14. TR

    Peraza is a hacker and working the count doesn’t seem to be a priority. He’s had some big hits the last couple years and he’s been a key to the Reds offense. Perhaps he’s a little adrift with the new hitting coach and he has some competition this year with Iglesias and Dietrich in the field.

  15. Old-school

    Kemp is out. Scooter is out. Senzel is still 2-3 weeks out. 20 games in 20 days puts the Reds at the 1/4 mark of the season coming home to face the Cubs may 14. I’d put Winker/ Schebler/ Puig in OF every day the next 10 days. Peraza and Iglesias every day at SS and 2b. Dietrich and Ervin can get worked in easily with 20 games in a row. Senzel comes up in early May if he’s ready.

    If Peraza is no better after 40-50 games and 175-200 PA , then it’s time to re-evaluate his role as an everyday player.

  16. Dougernaught

    I just cant see Paraza languishing in this slump much longer. I honestly believe he’s gonna have an Ah Ha moment and it will all start to click. That being said, I like his defense much better at 2nd. We are one CF away from have Championship defense up the middle. Not sure about the pressure to compete for a job thing. There are plenty of spots available for hot bats on this team, considering all the .200 avg’s. Hit and you play. Period. Whatever Hitting disease Paraza has, its certainly contagious!

  17. Hanawi

    Peraza is a utility player. Nothing more.

  18. doofus

    Question should be: “What do you think of the Red’s hitters so far, was Turner Ward’s signing justified?

    • Dougernaught

      Too early to tell on Ward, most around the league say we were lucky to get him.

    • Drobbo

      Slump not on Turner. Just happens. Good thing is the pitching. Reds are not chasing Pirates, they too will slump. Teams will win X number of games. Either steadily through out the summer or in the beginning or at the end. If reds begin winning series or 5 of 7, they will win 90 games. We would all settle for that. Right? At some point Kemp will have to go. Winker, Senzel and Puig must play. Schebler as backup. Ervin hitting 230 at Lville. Jury out on my favorite player, #19. Just my observations.

  19. CP

    I would love to see a Venn diagram that depicts “What Fans Think MLB Hitting Coaches Do” versus “What MLB Hitting Coaches Actually Do” and discover what the actual amount of overlap is.

  20. Big Ed

    Until about mid-May last year, Peraza was a dismal hitter. He had a bad, arms-only swing; he chased too many sliders low and away; and he hit a staggering number of weak fly balls to right field.

    He pretty much conquered that and went on to have decent production. He started out great in spring training, and seemed to be going into the season on a high note.

    Now, 21 games in, he has a bad, arms-only swing; he chases too many sliders low and away; and he hits a staggering number of weak fly balls to right field. One year of work has apparently been wasted, to get right back where they started with him. Iglesias is a far better defender, and is hitting enough to stay in the lineup.

    The Reds are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Peraza is going to mature into a consistent player. I get that it is a small sample size, and that his BABIP is ridiculously low, but it doesn’t take much of a scout to see that he is as lost as an Easter egg right now. With his swing and approach, he ought to be glad his BABIP is as high as it is. And it wouldn’t take much of a sample size for me to figure out that Thom Brennaman can’t hit, and it is getting to the point where SSS is no defense to Peraza’s production. Winker and Puig are in slumps; Peraza is just outright bad right now.

  21. ma

    I wonder if someone had suggested trading him at the end of last year. Would have gotten a bundle. Oh, yea I did. No more literal case of regressing them him. But no….. lets not make smart plays like a 4-year extension to Scooter.

    Peraza isnt getting any better, he is a garbage player who had a good half. He has until exactly 10 minutes after Scooter is off the IL to figure it out, cause scooter better not sit for him. Iglesias while not a wunderkind at the plate does have more good days than bad, and is a wizard with a Glove.

    Honestly, I think Peraza finishes August in Louisville

  22. Curt

    Peraza is an MLB utility player. He should be used and judged accordingly. Period.

    Of course he’s pressing, he’s losing/lost his starting job to Iglesias in real-time and when Scooter gets back may even be fighting for a spot on the bench.

    Tough luck for Peraza but not for the team as it appears the Iglesias and Dietrich signings were so far, good ones.

    • Drrobo

      Why is Peraza getting all the heat? Problem is the outfield that’s making Billy Hamilton look like a hitting guru. Add Suarez and Votto into the mix and Peraza is the least of their problems.

      • Curt

        “Why is Peraza getting all the heat?”

        Because the article/question was about Peraza not the outfield. 🙂

      • matt hendley

        He is also getting all the heat due to the fact that he has received MULTIPLE chances to establish himself at the Major League level. He has failed at almost all of them. He was to be the 2B of the future, so much so that we dumped BP for him. He lasted Half a year before scooter dumped him. He Lost the SS job to Cozart the year prior. He is on the cusp of losing the Backup 2B job to Detrich and the Starting SS job to Iglesias when Scooter returns. With the exception of the 2nd half of last year, he has been a horrible batter and yet he receives chance after chance to get to this phantom ‘ceiling’ that seems nonexistent. Winker, Puig and even Kemp have proven track records that indicate they can hit. Schebler has shown some ability as well. That is why, and until he is sent to the Minors to go fix himself, as you would with any other struggleing player with options, he will still receive all this heat.

      • CP

        He put up 2.7 fWAR last year. He’s basically had one bad year and one good year.

  23. Old-school

    This may be what happens. I would not play Dietrich every day over Peraza the next month. Dietrich is a great lefty bat, but not an every day player or future starter next 2-3 years ago. Scooter is injured. . Iglesias however fits the elite defensive SS 8 hole hitter. Iglesias is only 29… That glove will play several more years. Peraza may be a good utility player. If Iglesias gets hurt, who plays SS? Always need 2 SS. I give Peraza 20-25 starts and 100 more at bats before your declaration. But , it’s really one of the biggest questions in this organization. Who starts SS opening day 2020?

  24. Bill J

    I still think the batting coach change and trying to change the swing of the players is a big factor in the Reds offense including Peraza.