Stolen bases are harder to find so it makes sense that fantasy owners would be skeptical about cutting bait and moving on from Jose Peraza. That said it’s getting harder and harder to stay patient, as the poor numbers continue to pile up. Just look at the meager numbers he’s posted through Wednesday:
.157 (11-70), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R, 2 SB
It’s been an awful showing, including 17 K vs. 0 BB. An inability to draw a walk has always been one of the biggest questions facing him, especially with a relative lack of power, as he owns a 3.7% career walk rate. Still he had at least appeared to be capable of making consistent contact. However his approach has taken a dramatic turn for the worse this season:
- SwStr% – 10.5%
- O-Swing% – 43.2%
While the approach of opposing pitchers have changed slightly, he’s still seeing hard pitches 54.59% of the time (62.72% last season). Instead he’s just taken a dramatic step backwards in his ability to make contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):
- Hard – 4.87% to 6.40%
- Breaking – 9.64% to 20.27%
- Offspeed – 12.77% to 20.00%
We have to believe that this is more of an aberration and the result of a small sample size (especially since they’ve all improved over the past week), but how long will that patience last? How long will the Reds continue to run him out there? The strikeout issues are magnified for a player who has never shown a propensity for hitting the ball hard (24.5% Hard% in ’19, 24.9% for his career). Speed or not, strikeouts and weak contact are never a combination for success.
The Reds have tried top prospect Nick Senzel at 2B before, if they lose patience before Scooter Gennett is healthy and ready to return. Is that such an unbelievable move, should these struggles continue to drag on?
Given the state of speed around the game it makes sense to keep Peraza stashed on your bench to see if he can figure things out for now. That said it’s not unthinkable that he struggles enough to warrant a change in Cincinnati (and a loss of his spot on your roster).
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, ESPN