The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t add a veteran starter to boost their rotation. They still could, but they may have to roll with the staff they have. Can they rely on rookie Freddy Peralta down the stretch?
Unless the Milwaukee Brewers can pull off an August deal for someone like Matt Harvey or Ervin Santana, they’re stuck with the starters they have. Zach Davies could still return, and there’s still hope for a Jimmy Nelson comeback. However, Freddy Peralta will still start every fifth day. Can the Brewers trust Peralta down the stretch?
What do the numbers say on the surface?
They say that Peralta has been really, really good. He’s made 10 starts at the Major League level, and owns a 5-2 record with a 3.54 ERA. He’s struck out 71 and walked only 28 in 53 1/3 innings of work.
How about the peripherals?
Peralta’s 4.06 xFIP is concerning, but it’s not awful.
He does own a .208 BABIP, but we lack the track record to know if it’s an aberration or not. A sub-.250 BABIP is usually likely to rise, but Peralta owns a 0.58 GB:FB ratio. He’s profiling as an extreme fly ball pitcher. Pitchers who put the ball in the air are more likely to carry a lower than average BABIP because fly balls typically result in outs or homers. If they’re outs, they result in a low BABIP. If they’re homers, they aren’t counted towards BABIP.
Peralta has also shown a platoon split that indicates a weakness against left-handers. He owns a .176 wOBA against righties, but a .339 wOBA against left-handers. Four of the five homers he’s allowed have come against left-handers.
Any other numbers to worry about?
Just one. Peralta has worked 116 1/3 innings across three level, including 53 1/3 innings in the Majors. He only tossed 120 innings across two levels last year. The innings could start to catch up to Peralta, especially if the Milwaukee Brewers win a wild card berth or clinch the division.
How would the Brewers use Peralta in the playoffs?
Sparingly? Peralta is going to end up close to 140 innings if he stays in the rotation through August 31st. If he continues to start in September, he could finish near 170 innings. A deep playoff run could put Peralta close to 200 innings. There’s no way the Milwaukee Brewers will let him go from 120 innings last year to 200 innings this year.
Peralta makes a lot of sense for the bullpen if the Milwaukee Brewers win the division or make it past the one-game Wild Card playoff. Peralta is only in his age-22 season and he’s still a rookie. It’s unlikely that Peralta is going to work a full load this year. While banners fly forever, the Brewers are very clear that they won’t mortgage their future for a few wins. Peralta could very well end up in the bullpen or have his innings limited as the season draws to a close.