The Milwaukee Brewers have faith in the players they acquire and usually give them ample time to settle in and succeed. For some players it takes a little extra time to do so and the Brewers more often than not are rewarded for their faith.
During that extra time it takes to allow a player to work through struggles, there are moments where things look hopeless, and it takes faith in that player turning things around to keep them around. If they do turn it around, the team looks smart. If they don’t turn it around, the team looks like fools.
The Brewers have shown faith in numerous players despite struggles. Here are a few that rewarded the team for their faith, and one that didn’t.
Rewarded: Freddy Peralta
Will Sammon of The Athletic had an excellent article go up recently (subscription required) on Freddy Peralta becoming an organizational win for the Brewers after acquiring him as a teenager in the Adam Lind trade and developing him into the 25 year old stud starting pitcher he is now.
The Brewers had to have plenty of faith in Peralta in the early days and even after he made his Major League debut in 2018, there were plenty of ups and downs. Peralta, just 21 years old at the time, had mostly just one pitch, a fastball, that didn’t even have elite velocity. Still, it played up and he dominated in his first start.
Peralta has shown flashes of brilliance since, with a few more strong starts in 2018 and 2019, but some more struggles in 2019 led to him going into the bullpen for most of that season. He was having more success in the bullpen than in the rotation and there was a belief among some that that was his long-term home.
The Brewers showed incredible faith in Peralta when they signed him to a five year, $15.5MM contract extension prior to the 2020 season. The financial security it provided Peralta has helped him settle in. If Peralta stayed in the bullpen going forward, that money still wouldn’t be a lot, but if he became a rotation piece, that deal becomes a bargain.
Peralta started 2020 in the rotation, but made just one start and then went back to the bullpen for the remainder of the season.
Then as 2021 began, the Brewers announced Peralta would be in the rotation yet again, the fourth year they would be trying him out as a starter. The previous three times had not gone all that particularly well, outside of a few outings. This time? Peralta has more than rewarded the Brewers for their faith in him.
Through his first 12 outings, Peralta has a 2.25 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 64 IP. He has become the 3rd-best pitcher in the rotation for the Brewers, behind Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. He’s become consistent, and has begun to limit his walks as well.
Peralta’s arsenal has expanded to four pitches, up from the essentially just one that he had when he made his debut in 2018. The Brewers have been patient and continued to have faith that Peralta could be a big rotation piece instead of just a high leverage bullpen arm, and Peralta has proven them right.