Thursday Morning Coffee: Peralta | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers followed their weekend losses with weekday wins, continuing their fortunate development with an 8-4 win over the Royals. Wily Peralta drove this win, working into the fourth inning with four hits, four strike outs, and one run allowed. The young righty is up to 60 pitches with that outing. Aside from Peralta’s work, there were a few interesting developments around the diamond:

  • Ariel Pena continued a solid spring, allowing one run in nearly in two innings. Pena’s strike out total might be the best looking stat, as he notched three Ks yesterday.
  • David Goforth recorded an out, increasing his excellent spring performance. Goforth may serve as a bullpen depth arm, but it’s great to see that depth succeeding during spring.
  • The Brewers’ regular season leftfielders had a wonderful day, going 4-for-6 with one run and seven RBIs. Gerardo Parra claimed four of the RBIs, landing three of them on a fourth inning homer off of Edinson Volquez.
  • Jonathan Lucroy and Adam Lind both went 1-for-2 with a run, and Lucroy added a walk to boot.
  • Shane Peterson and Hector Gomez continued their solid spring campaigns, both going 2-for-3 with a run. Peterson also added a walk to his hits. It will be interesting to see how these potential depth options force roster moves if their solid performances continue.

Wily Peralta was one of the most improved starters in the 2014 National League, along with his 2015 rotation mate, Fastballer Mike Fiers. These two Brewers compare well to the 2014 NL playoff team starters, including improvements ranging from Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright to Tanner Roark and Doug Fister. One wonders, can Peralta sustain his success? Obviously, Peralta’s great improvement was one of the reasons the Brewers’ rotation was solid in 2014, and another step in the right direction could solidify Peralta atop Milwaukee’s rotation.

Improved SP Runs Improvement 2013 GB / LD (by %) 2014 GB / LD 2013 K / BB / HR (per 9 IP) 2014 K / BB / HR
E. Volquez 52 47.6 / 22.8 50.4 / 16.8 7.50 / 4.07 / 1.00 6.54 / 3.32 / 0.79
V. Worley 24 47.1 / 22.2 49.4 / 20.3 4.62 / 2.77 / 1.66 6.42 / 1.79 / 0.73
W. Peralta 24 51.0 / 21.3 53.6 / 18.8 6.33 / 3.58 / 0.93 6.98 / 2.76 / 1.04
M. Fiers 24 35.0 / 26.3 33.3 / 19.8 6.04 / 2.42 / 3.22 9.54 / 2.13 / 0.88
L. Lynn 23 43.1 / 22.5 44.3 / 19.6 8.84 / 3.39 / 0.62 8.00 / 3.18 / 0.57
R. Vogelsong 23 40.9 / 27.1 38.4 / 24.2 5.82 / 3.30 / 1.30 7.36 / 2.83 / 0.88
J. Beckett 20 39.1 / 24.1 42.5 / 19.4 8.52 / 3.12 / 1.66 8.33 / 3.03 / 1.32
A. Wainwright 15 49.1 / 23.4 46.3 / 23.9 8.16 / 1.30 / 0.56 7.10 / 1.98 / 0.40
T. Roark 14 50.0 / 24.3 41.4 / 20.6 6.71 / 1.84 / 0.17 6.25 / 1.77 / 0.72
D. Fister 11 54.3 / 21.3 48.9 / 16.9 6.86 / 1.90 / 0.60 5.38 / 1.32 / 0.99

Judging Peralta (and Fiers) against eight other notable starting pitching improvements, it is clear that Peralta’s improvement was among the “truest” of these starters:

  • Peralta improved both his groundball rate and his line drive rate.
  • The young righty also improved both his strike out and walk rates.
  • Peralta’s home run rate did increase, but his K / BB and GB / LD developments arguably offset that increase.

Compared to the starters on this list, only Vance Worley and Edinson Volquez improved each of their GB / LD rates and K / BB rates. This is just a brief comparison, but it is a nice treat for your morning coffee: While it is understandable that many fans and analysts raise questions about Peralta’s ability to continue his improvement, it is arguable that his improvement was built on the solid ground of increased groundballs, decreased line drives, increased strike outs, and decreased walks. This improvement base is important because should one area of Peralta’s game change — if groundballs drop, or line drives increase, or his K / BB changes somewhat — the righty has made enough progress to potentially offset those issues with his other successful areas. Given these improvements, Peralta could be one of the most exciting players to watch in Milwaukee in 2015.

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