Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Mid-rotation workhorse that looks the part and executes with strikeout and ground ball inducing stuff.
The Player: Wily Peralta (RHP, Milwaukee Brewers) – Signed by the Brewers out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, he struggled in his pro debut the following year before going under the knife for Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2007 season. He returned in 2008 and has proceeded on a steady ascension through the Brewers system. In 2011 he struck out a batter per inning and posted one of the best strikeout to walk ratios of his career en route to a 3.46 ERA in 21 starts at Double-A. He pitched even better following a late season promotion to Triple-A, notching a 2.03 ERA in five starts, allowing just 21 hits and 11 walks in 31 innings with 40 strikeouts.
Body: Broad. Everything about him is broad, from his shoulders, to his back, to his waist, to his legs. Thick and burly, he is built for durability. Has good stamina and moves well for a guy his size. Has maintained his conditioning well and will need to continue that.
Makeup: The Brewers love his work ethic and desire to receive instruction. He works hard at every part of his game and has consistently made improvements from one year to the next. Overall plus makeup on the field with no off-field issues.
Delivery/Mechanics: Momentum driven, uses rocker step to really get things moving. Has some drop at the balance point then drives down the plane of the mound. Low-3/4 slot but still gets good angle to the plate. Quick arm with some effort on the follow through. Falls off to first base side but collects himself quickly and is prepared to field his position. Solid all around delivery with no glaring concerns.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 98, Low – 91, Average – 92-94, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 97, Low 91, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Two-seam fastball shows good sink and some boring action when he doesn’t over-throw it. Four-seam has explosive life late and will seem to jump at hitters when it gets to the plate. Both pitches can induce weak contact and miss bats with ease. Grade – 60/60
Overall Fastball: Good hard pitch with life in the low-90s and the mid-90s. Can blow it by hitters or get out of at-bats quickly with it. Loves to throw it and believes he can get you out with it. Very little projection remaining with FB but a consistent plus pitch in every facet. Grade – 60/60
Slider (SL): Can show an 80-83 mph SL with tight spin and darting break at the plate. Still very inconsistent and has to work hard to stay on top of the pitch given his low-3/4 slot. When he gets around the outside of the ball it becomes more of a middling cutter that lacks distinction. Grade – 40/50
Change-up (CH): Throws more of a straight CH with some sink and good arm speed. Movement is inconsistent and he will leave it up a lot. When down, it is a reliable pitch that helps control bat speed and keep hitters back. Potential average offering. Grade – 40/50
Control: Has improved since A-ball and now more consistently finds the strike zone. Will get wild when he over-throws and often leaves the ball up or pulls it to his glove side. Has potential to pound the zone as he matures and becomes more experienced. Grade – 40/50
Command: Can locate two-seam fastball at times but struggles to command four-seam, SL and CH. Can move two-seam to both corners. Four-seam tends to be all over the place in the strike zone. SL and CH both need big steps in command. Not a great athlete and the aggression on the back end of his delivery may always leave him short of good big league command. Grade – 30/40
Summation: Despite the lack of polish on his secondary pitches and command, Peralta could succeed in the big leagues very soon. Understands pitch sequencing and will work to set hitters up even without his best secondary stuff. Can miss bats bud doesn’t fall in love with the strikeout and will take a quick out on weak contact if the batter is willing. Body screams durable workhorse with number three starter potential and a slim chance for more if his command ends up average down the line.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Nearly big league ready. Major elbow surgery is well in his past with no hint of injury since. Should be a big league starter very soon.
Future: The Brewers starting rotation is pretty well set in 2012. Peralta is the most big league ready starter in the club’s minor league system and he should be ready to step in should something happen to one of the current starting five. Zach Greinke, Shawn Marcum and Randy Wolf (club option for 2013) are all free agents following the 2012 season which gives Peralta a window to seize a big league rotation spot. He has a good chance of seeing some time in Milwaukee in September this year, just to get his feet wet.