Do you remember those Will Smith albums? Yikes – hard to believe he actually does serious movies. As in, “seriously?” Like Seven Pounds. ”Oh I want to donate my heart to some chick with a heart problem that somehow got affected by my texting and driving accident. So why don’t I hop into a bathtub with an extremely toxic jellyfish – that’ll make my heart just fine for a transplant, right?” Seriously? This got greenlit!? Oh – spoiler alert! Wait, isn’t that supposed to be before you say what happened? Work on your timing!
Well the Fresh Prince of Milwaukee (wait strike that, you can’t call another Brewer “Prince”…) Wily Peralta burst onto the scene last year with huge power stuff, then Sky went out and wrote a sleeper piece on the big guy before the season started, and it looked like Sky would be the butt of our jokes early this season. And my, besides writing on Bartolo Colon, tough to get more butt. Ok I kid – as a Brewers fan I can tell you Peralta is just an overall big dude – he’s not sporting a David Wells gut.
After getting over all the fat jokes, Peralta rebounded after a horrific first 2.5 months – that saw his ERA at 6.08- then started gettin’ jiggy with it and got his ERA down to 4.61 prior to yesterday’s game. Struggling with too many walks and too many hittable fastballs in hitters’ counts, I’ve only been able to watch one other Peralta start during this surge and didn’t fully buy it after seeing so many bad starts. So I decided to watch Peralta’s start at home against the Marlins to see what kind of adjustments he’s made and if I’ve changed my mind on Peralta’s fantasy outlook going forward:
First Inning: The first pitch of the game is a 94-MPH fastball high in the zone that Adeiny Hechavarria fouls off, then Peralta gets it up to 96 and it’s hit weakly off the hands for a weak grounder to Jean Segura, one down. Peralta starts Ed Lucas with a 95-MPH down the middle for a strike, not bad velocity for a get-me-over, then again a fastball at 96 on the hands jams Lucas for a weak groundout to third, two down on four pitches. So up now is the only real hitter for the Marlins Giancarlo Stanton who takes a fastball in, then fouls another off, 1-1. All heaters from Wily thus far. Peralta dials up a nasty 4-seamer with a little sink on the bottom black at 96, then a slider at 87-MPH, his first breaking ball, gets Stanton to miss by over a foot as it dives in the dirt, inning over.
Second Inning: After a quick first inning, Peralta dots the inside lower black with a perfectly placed 94-MPH fastball to Logan Morrison for strike one, then goes high in tight trying to get him off the plate, then a 96-MPH heater is laced hard to right, but it’s right to Norichika Aoki, one down. The first pitch to Marcell Ozuna is a 96-MPH fastball that’s high but cut on and missed, then misses low, then the 1-1 is another fastball grounded weakly to short, two down quickly again. The first pitch to Derek Dietrich is an 84-MPH slider, absolutely nasty, stayed in the zone either way, but Dietrich was sitting dead-red fastball and missed by a mile. Then Peralta goes to another slider, this one dips low and gets another hack and miss, then goes even lower and Dietrich swings again, this one bounces into the mitt of Martin Maldonado and the play is made at first – a strikeout on three straight whiffs on the slider – wow.
Third Inning: After mowing down the first six, Peralta is low with the fastball to Justin Ruggiano then is low again, then just a perfectly placed four-seamer with sink at 94 gets a swing-and-miss, 2-1. That’s the pitch right there that Peralta couldn’t make early in the year, a perfectly placed fastball that a hitter can’t easily sit on in a hitter’s count. The 2-1 is another heater at 95 that looked pretty straight and down the middle, but Ruggiano flies out weakly to center, one down. Peralta starts Rob Brantly with a slider low, then a fastball on the hands gets fouled off, 1-1. A slider is cut on and missed, just nasty boring straight down, then another slider is low, then another fastball high and on the hands breaks Brantly’s bat and is flared to Aoki for out number two. Up is opposing pitcher Henderson Alvarez who takes a fastball for a strike, then a 94-MPH fastball pretty well placed on the outside lower corner gets a slashing swing and a weak grounder barely makes it through the gap between first and second for Alvarez’s first career hit. So runner on first, and first pitch to Hechavarria is a fastball banged hard right up the middle for back-to-back singles. Hechavarria is a hot hitter right now looking at his stats. So consecutive two-out singles and Peralta starts Lucas with a slider that dips low, then a fastball low, and things looking shaky. The 2-0 is another fastball right on the black fouled off, again Peralta able to locate even when behind in counts, and another heater is grounded weakly to third to get out of the inning.
Fourth Inning: Peralta bends in a slider in the top of the zone for strike one to Stanton, then misses low with the heater, then spikes a fastball at about 56 feet at 91 MPH, 2-1. Peralta throws a nasty slider but it dips too low, 3-1, then misses the outside corner with a 94-MPH fastball for a walk. So three of the last four Marlins have reached, and Peralta starts Morrison with a slider taken, 0-1, then a fastball barely outside, 1-1. Peralta then throws I believe his first change-up, 85-MPH on the inside lower corner, and Morrison was out in front by a mile. Great pitch. The 1-2 is a change-up in the same spot and Morrison pulls it way foul, then a fastball perfect on the lower black gets Morrison to tap over it and grounds into a double play. Peralta starts Ozuna with a fastball barely off the outside corner at 96, then a nasty two-seamer sinking way deep out of the zone gets a swing-and-miss, 1-1. Peralta then pounds the high inside corner on the hands with a 96-MPH four-seamer for another swing-and-miss, then a 1-2 slider is tapped weakly to third for a groundout to end the inning.
Fifth Inning: The first pitch of the 5th is a slider taken by Dietrich for a strike, then another slider is cut on and missed dipping out of the zone, then Peralta again goes slider, it bores into the dirt but gets another hack and Maldonado throws Dietrich out again. Dietrich has seen only 6 sliders, swung-and-missed on 5, and all 6 strikes. Wow. 3 Ks now for Peralta, who starts Ruggiano with a slider for a strike, then a fastball is in, then again in at 96, and the 2-1 is another heater poured in there at 95 to even the count. Peralta spins a great slider bending on the outside corner, Ruggiano barely holds his swing as it’s a shade too far outside, then Peralta tries to pound the inside corner but it tails too far in and it’s taken for a walk. Peralta is mad at himself for that one. He first almost picks off Ruggiano at first, nice pickoff move there, then starts Brantly with a great slider cut on and missed, then another slider this time further inside gets another swing-and-miss, 0-2. Peralta then goes to another slider, this one on the outside corner and dipping low, and gets another swing-and-miss, Ruggiano takes off and gets tagged on the helmet at second for a strike-em-out, throw-em-out end of the inning.
Sixth Inning: Alvarez shows bunt and takes a first-pitch fastball strike, then another fastball gets a swing-and-miss, then a slider on the outside gets a bad hack and miss for one of the world’s easiest strikeouts, number 5 on the day, one down. Peralta spikes a slider to Hechavarria, then another slider is well placed on the outside edge and gets tipped foul, then misses another slider low, 2-1. Peralta misses low with the fastball, 3-1, then another fastball on the outside corner is grounded weakly to short, two down. Another well placed pitch in a hitter’s count. Lucas fouls the first one off, then Peralta spikes a fastball, then a nasty two seamer tailing off the inside black gets a cut and miss, 1-2. Lucas is able to lay of a slider low and outside, then another fastball is low, and the payoff pitch is a 96-MPH fastball – right down the middle – is grounded sharply to Rickie Weeks to end the inning. A better hitter would’ve feasted on that one.
Seventh Inning: The first pitch of the 7th is a 94-MPH fastball, right down the middle again, and Stanton hits it hard but it’s right to Segura – then Segura promptly boots it for an error. So Peralta has to deal with a man on first, and throws a slider for a strike to Morrison, then a 93-MPH fastball down the middle is rocketed foul in the second deck in right. That was destroyed, but LoMo was in front of it. Peralta misses low with a slider, then again goes with the slider, this one gets Morrison to swing-and-miss, 6 Ks for the first out. Peralta starts Ozuna with a slider for a strike, then Ozuna is way late on a 95-MPH fastball on the inside edge, quickly 0-2. Peralta spikes a slider, then another slider is fouled off, then a fastball at 95, perfect on the inside lower corner gets a grounder to third, Stanton is out at second and the throw to first gets Ozuna by a step for an inning-ending double play. Great stuff from Peralta.
Eighth Inning: Still a scoreless game, Peralta starts Dietrich with a slider that’s fouled off, first time Dietrich has made contact, the Peralta goes with the 8th consecutive slider to Dietrich, this one hung a tad in the zone, Dietrich hits it right to Weeks though – but then Weeks promptly boots it to start the second straight inning with a leadoff error. Yikes – it’s hard to be a Brewers fan sometimes… So Peralta bears down and starts Ruggiano with a fastball bunted foul, then another fastball bunted foul, quickly 0-2. Peralta climbs the ladder way too high, 1-2, then a slider is fouled off, then a fastball in a great spot is tapped weakly in play, but Jeff Bianchi makes a fantastic play barehanding it and throwing him out at first for the first out. Peralta starts Brantly with a slider that looked good to me for ball one, not sure where that missed, then another slider, this one hangs, but Brantly hits it foul, 1-1. A fastball on the outside of the zone is fouled off, then a nasty slider, 85-MPH and starting at the hands then diving down gets a swing-and-miss for Peralta’s 7th K. Up now is pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, and Brewers skip Ron Roenicke decides to leave Peralta in to face the lefty. Peralta is low with the first pitch, then a slider is fouled off, Dobbs looked pretty keyed in on that one, but the final pitch of the outing is a 97-MPH fastball perfectly placed on the lower black gets a tapper in play right to first to end the inning and 8 shutout in a great start from Big Wily.
Final Line: ND 8 IP 97 Pitches (67 Strikes) 2 Hits 2 Walks 0 ER 7 K Gamescore: 83 Gamescore+: 78.4
Final Analysis: Just great stuff from Peralta. Yes it was the hapless Marlins, but he has some great pitches working. The Gamescore+ was lower than the Gamescore with two double plays turned and a strike-em-out, throw-em-out in there. Also with two errors that should’ve been easy outs not scoring for him, it made my score lower and maybe something to tweak for next year.
It all starts with the fastball, which he can 4-seam and 2-seam – and sink them both. The fastball has great movement at times, he was able to locate, and the most important thing is locate in 1-0, 2-0, and 3-1 counts while also mixing up his first pitch offerings with the secondary stuff working. He did have some inconsistency here and there, spiking a few fastballs and threw one right down Broadway to end the 6th, but Ed Lucas couldn’t turn it into something in front of Stanton. A few heaters to start the 7th were also right down the middle and Morrison was a split-second early on what would’ve otherwise been a moonshot homer. The slider is Peralta’s go-to offspeed, throwing it early and often and that pitch is his biggest improvement from what I saw early in the year. Consistent break, able to throw it early in the count for strikes, it was nasty. The change-up, while used sparingly, also looked solid.
Peralta’s average fastball velocity now sits at 94.8 MPH which is good for fourth in the Majors behind Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, and Jeff Samardzija. Pretty nice company to find yourself among (or amongst – right Jack Full of Hate?). The slider was working all day and the change-up looked useful. However I’m still not fully buying in 10-team leagues as he still has some command issues and doesn’t strike out quite enough for me. He’s only given up one run in the past 4 games, but has at least 2 walks in all of those, and his season K:BB is a horrendous 77:47 in 121.1 innings. He should probably be scooped up in all other leagues, but I’d only stream him in standard leagues. His next start is at Colorado, and if the slider doesn’t have the same sink like we’ve seen from so many other pitchers, that could be a brutal start and one I’m not risking anywhere.