Top pitching prospects in the Brewer organization don't often live up to the hype. Guys like Mark Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress and Ben Hendrickson have all been promising future Brewers at some point in the last decade, only to fizzle out without making a major league impact. So, despite the fact that we've been hearing about him for years, we can forgive those who were skeptical about Wily Peralta's ability to hold up under the big league spotlight.
Peralta earned a spot on the Opening Day roster, however, and managed to hold onto it through some challenging times. He struggled mightily out of the gate, posting a 6.08 ERA in his first 15 starts. Entering his start on July 2 he was leading all NL pitchers with 57 earned runs allowed, and I wrote this about him:
I guess from our perspective it's hard to tell if this is a learning experience for him or simply a recurring, demoralizing, confidence-shaking nightmare at this point.
The second half of Peralta's season, however, was remarkably better. He wrapped up the season with a 3.05 ERA over his final 103.1 starts, recording 84 strikeouts with just 41 walks. He pitched a complete game shutout on July 9, the first a Brewer had thrown in over two years, and had a stretch where he allowed just one earned run over 31.1 innings.
Peralta's stuff is clearly good enough to work consistently in the majors, now it's just a matter of finding a way to avoid a cold start in 2014. He also struggled out of the gate in 2012, which is a big part of the reason he had a 4.66 ERA and almost five walks per nine innings before being called up from AAA. He also posted a 7.46 ERA in May of 2011, and a 5.40 mark in May of 2010.
Peralta also looked much better in 2013 when pitching to Martin Maldonado, who had caught him previously in the minors. Maldonado caught 25 of Peralta's 32 appearances and guided him to a 3.90 ERA and .696 opponent OPS. In seven starts pitching to Jonathan Lucroy opposing batters hit .309/.369/.447 off Peralta, who had a 6.31 ERA.
Peralta's flashes of brilliance were almost certainly enough to earn him an opportunity to build on his 2013 season. Now we'll just have to wait and see if he learned from his early struggles.
Brewer starting pitchers have thrown 203 complete game shutouts in franchise history, but had gone almost two years without one before Wily Peralta, dragging a 5.27 ERA, took the mound against the Reds on July 9. The Reds, by the way, finished third in the NL in runs scored in 2013.
Putting Peralta up against Reds rookie Tony Cingrani didn't seem like a recipe for success at the time, but it worked out all right. Peralta held Cincinnati to three hits and four walks while pitching nine scoreless innings, striking out six.
Here are the highlights from the game:
And here's Peralta afterward:
Peralta has just over a year of MLB service time, so he'll be with the team for several more years. He projects to be arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2016 and a free agent in 2019.
Previous MVBrewers posts can be seen at the links below: