Milwaukee Brewers Manager Craig Counsell announced the starting rotation and coming in at the fifth spot is Freddy Peralta. Is Peralta better suited as a starter than in the bullpen?
Many Brewers fans, myself included, have been hoping Freddy Peralta would make the starting rotation this season after an impressive spring training and solid 2020 season, which he spent almost entirely in the bullpen. Peralta has also showed promise as a starter in previous years, his performance put him in the conversation for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Freddy Peralta does have better career numbers as a reliever (3.59 ERA and 13.2 K/9) but the main reason I think Peralta will fare better as a starter than he has previously is the ever expanding pitch arsenal he has, which has been noted by manager Craig Counsell and catcher Manny Pina.
Before the 2020 Brewers season, Freddy Peralta added a slider to compliment his already dangerous fastball and curveball. Peralta spent most of 2020 working on perfecting his slider.
As Peralta began throwing his slider more effectively his numbers improved, raising his K/9 rate to 14.4 in the 2020 season.
In addition to adding a slider before last season, Freddy Peralta has also added a changeup to his repertoire heading into the 2021 season. The addition of a fourth pitch will make it a lot harder on opposing hitters to guess when his scorching fastball is coming or the slider that moves so much while also having to wonder when Peralta will throw his effective curveball.
Freddy Peralta’s previous success even with just two pitches, his effectiveness last season as a reliever with three pitches and now the addition of a fourth gives me cause for optimism for Freddy Peralta as a starter this season, even if it means we see some games where Peralta only pitches four or five innings.
With at least three pitches in his arsenal now, consistent success in the rotation is within reach. Consistency has eluded Peralta to this point in his career, but at just 24 years old, he can still find some.
The potential ceiling that Peralta has is immensely high, and he should be given every opportunity to reach it. He can be a mid-rotation or better starting pitcher in this league, and it’s great that the Brewers are giving him the opportunity to start the 2021 season.
Peralta belongs in the rotation long-term, and this is a great call by Counsell to give him the opportunity. He’s earned it with a strong spring training, and this could pay big dividends for the Brewers down the road.