Jhonny Peralta: Welcome Back

It’s a rare thing these days when success by a shortstop goes under-reported. I’ve beaten you all over the head with the fact that the position is the weakest it’s been in some time. Asdrubal Cabrera came out of nowhere to surprise people this season and has gotten a lot of burn in the fantasy world because of it.

Another American League Central shortstop is having a very nice season after spending the past two living in fantasy irrelevance. Without much fanfare Jhonny Peralta is having the best season of his career.

Aside from his 2005 season with Cleveland in which he hit 24 home runs and put up a .376 wOBA, Peralta has had a pretty up and down career. His fantasy value outweighed his real life value, especially if you don’t play in an OBP league (though I think everyone should). The 2006 campaign was a disaster. Peralta hit .257, even though he had a .327 BABIP, with just 13 home runs and 68 RBI. He looked to have bounced back in 2007 and 2008, averaging 22 home runs, 80 RBI, and a .273/.336/.451 triple slash line. Things were looking up. Then the past two seasons happened.

Peralta still put up good RBI numbers, 83 and 81 respectively, but his hits, runs, home runs were all significantly down, as were his batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentages. His ISO, a better indication of a hitter’s pure power, which was .228 in 2005 and .197 in 2008 dropped to .120 and .143 in 2009 and 2010. He hit 26 total home runs in those two seasons after averaging 22 in the two seasons prior. It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what Peralta was doing wrong without taking a few liberties.

His BABIP fell every year from 2005-2010, but only dipped below .300 in the 2010 season. Wild fluctuations in his 2009-2010 batted ball data surely doesn’t help. It’s hard to know what you’re going to get when your data looks like this

2009 2010
LD% 19.2 22.3
GB% 50.2 34.3
FB% 30.6 43.4

This season, however, Peralta seems to have found it again. His BABIP is up to .321, he’s hitting nearly .300 and already has 11 home runs. He’s hitting far more fly balls than he ever has. Last season’s FB% of 43.4% was the highest of his career by 7%, and he’s at 48.2% this year. It’s hard to look at any specific set of data and determine why that change has occurred. That’s usually the outcome of a change in a player’s swing, but I couldn’t find anything when Googling. I don’t put too much importance on these numbers yet, but he’s swinging at fewer pitches in the zone (68.5%) than he has in the past four seasons. He’s also making contact with more pitches overall (81.2%) and more pitches in the zone than he ever has (90.6%). His O-Swing% hasn’t changed drastically, which is why I caution you in putting a ton of faith in those numbers going forward.

Last season Peralta finished ranked 297th overall. To this point he’s sitting at 93rd. A stark improvement. You likely got him fairly cheaply in your leagues, and the man with the funny name is paying dividends thus far.

Print This Post

Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Read my mind with this article, was just browsing the top ss-eligible performers and this guy was up there. Boggles my mind that he’s surpassed even the highest expectations for him so far.