Here is fair warning. Wily Peralta is an enigma to me, so prepare for some serious contradiction. This kid has natural talent. With the tools that he has, I doubt that he had to work very hard at being great prior to getting into the upper levels of the minor leagues. Now that he is facing major league talent, what we see (or saw this season) is a kid who has not had a great deal of time to learn how to pitch. By that I mean, he can throw the ball and get strikes…but that does not make you a pitcher. I think the greatest asset this team has right now is Kyle Lohse. Lohse can teach these kids how to pitch a game, because he is a terrific game manager. Enough about Captain Soul Patch….
Wily Peralta is what I refer to as “raw”. My definition is a little different, but mostly the same (contradiction #1. Don’t worry I am not going to count every single one, just this one and then the re-cap.) To me, a raw player is someone who looks better on paper than they do on the field. Peralta looks like he should be a superstar: he’s big(6’2″ and 220 pounds), his fastball tops out in the upper 90’s (97), solid change-up (very deceptive), and an increasingly more accurate slider (When it is on, it is a “lights out” pitch. When it is off, he comes off the rails…hard.) Yet his stats from his first full season fall short of what his “chart” suggests.
His first full season as a starter certainly had more low points than high, but we also had some really amazing performances from Wily. There was his complete game, 3-hitter, shutout against the Reds in July. He followed that up, two weeks later, with an 8 inning shutout in Miami (he also got 20 swinging strikes in this game). But the time he impressed me the most, was in a loss. It just happened back in September, against the NL Pennant winning Cardinals. Peralts (my nickname for him out of the Ron Roenicke book of nicknames) threw 6 and 2/3 innings, only giving up 2 hits (but 3 runs), and striking out 7 Cards. That game showed me that he could hang with the big boys. It gave me solid, valid hope that he could be a really good starter.
No need for formality here, I am grading the kid on Performance, Attitude, and the “Eye Test”.
Performance – C-
An 11-15 record in your first big league season is commendable. It certainly could have been worse. A 4.37 ERA is not the worst thing to happen (see Jeff Suppan, Doug Davis, Braden Looper, and Marco Estrada). There was just no consistency. Other than the month of July when he was one of the most dominating pitchers in the game, his season was chuck full of peaks and deep deep valleys. One thing that needs improvement is the number of hits he allows. In 2013 he averaged a hit per inning pitched, which is the opposite of good. Did have a solid strikeout to walk ratio, which is an added bonus. Overall though, this season was a little worse than I had hoped. It was not bad by any means, it was just below average from someone with high expectations.
Attitude – B
The guy has mastered the baseball speak, all of his sound bites sound like…well, every other sound bite from every other pitcher on earth. Seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Does have that fire that lives deep within him, that could cause a problem or two. However he seems to have Bruce Bannered any of his fiery demeanor. So…keep up the good work.
“Eye Test” – B+
The guy looks good on the mound. That fastball is nasty and if he can get that slider under control, he is going to be a solid #2 pitcher for us. In a surprising turn of events, he can also swing the stick a little bit. My eyes tell me that this kid is an All-Star in the making. But my eyes are also pathological liars who were devastated when the Brewers traded Matt LaPorta.
Overall Grade: C+
It was a little better than average. Love the potential and promise, hate the inconsistency. Often times I forget that this was his first full season as a starter. The boy does have a very veteran like presence when he is on the mound. Most of the greatest pitchers in history had really rough starts. In the grand scheme of things, this is just the start of something great. While Peralta may deserve a better grade…he earned this C+. That is something I can’t say for everyone I am going to grade and or have graded. I would like to think that Peralta would be proud…but in all likelihood he wouldn’t really give two turds what I thought.