Wily Peralta made one of the best starts of the Brewers season Sunday against the Mets, firing eight shutout innings with just two hits and a walk allowed, striking out five. Peralta has always had some level of tout from the prospect evaluators, at least outside of his slump in the minors this season. We saw why on Sunday. Let’s take a look at a few things that made his start noteworthy:
Peralta hit 97.9 MPH with his fastball in the first inning and averaged 96.8 for the entire frame. Peralta’s velocity is his best aspect as a pitcher right now, and one needs look no further than the fastball velocity leaderboards on FanGraphs for confirmation: Peralta’s 95.5 MPH average fling places him fifth, behind mostly-relievers Alexi Ogando and Andrew Cashner as well as aces David Price and Stephen Strasburg.
Some pitchers can hit that 97-98 mark in the first inning but fade out as the game goes along. That was not the case for Peralta. Peralta kept on bringing the heat until the eighth inning, when he matched that 97.9 once more:
Control Early And Often
Peralta’s bugaboo throughout his career has been his control. When it’s off, he’s faced with hitters’ counts, leading to either a parade of walks or vulnerability when he’s forced to attack the middle of the zone. We didn’t see that at all on Sunday. Although he threw first-pitch strikes to “just” 15 of 27 hitters, he bounced back well and saw just six three-ball counts. Take a look:
Peralta has yet to give up a home run, and his ERA will climb from 2.14 as batters start finding the seats. But if anything will keep those homer totals down, it’s ground balls, and Peralta has that under control, as he induced eight ground outs against just five fly outs and two line outs, ending with a 9-7-3 total overall.
Ryan Braun says “I look at his stuff, and I don’t know how he’s not the top prospect in baseball. He has dominant stuff. There are very few guys who have stuff like that in baseball.” Starts like these can certainly plant such notions in people’s heads. In reality, Peralta doesn’t have that kind of ceiling, but the more he can rein in his control, the more we’ll see him use his top-shelf stuff to produce results like Sunday’s.