Name: Wily Peralta
Notable 2011 Stats: 3.46 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 9 HRA, 48 BB, 117 K, and 56% GB% in 119 2/3 IP with Huntsville (AA);
2.03 ERA, 1.78 FIP, 0 HRA, 11 BB, 40 K, and 56% GB% in 31 IP with Nashville (AAA);
3.17 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 9 HRA, 59 BB, 157 K, and 56% GB% in 150 2/3 IP total
Why He’s This High: A top prospect following a big 2009 season, Peralta recovered from a down 2010 to blow through the upper minors this season, pitching well in Double-A and finding an extra gear in a late-season stint in Triple-A.
Peralta boasts a good fastball/slider combination that makes him very tough on righthanders, and his arm action provides good deception. His fastball has good sink and he pounds the lower part of the zone, and the slider misses a lot of bats, so he gets both a ton of groundballs (56% in 2011) and strikeouts (9.38 K/9 in 2011) overall.
Peralta has a big, durable frame that should allow him to eat innings; he threw over 150 this season and then added in more work in the Dominican Winter League; furthermore, his late-season run in Triple-A shows how well he maintained his stuff over the course of the season.
As he’s dominated every level of the minors (save for an iffy run in High-A in 2010), Peralta is basically ready for the majors to start 2011. He may be a bit short of a potential ace, put he should be a durable #2/#3 starter, perhaps an Ervin Santana 2.0.
Why He’s This Low: Peralta needs a better changeup to more consistently combat lefthanders, like many young pitchers. He’s made some strides in that area, but still doesn’t consistently have a feel for the third pitch.
Peralta tends to fly open in his motion, which also costs him deception to lefthanders, and his delivery also causes him to often spin wildly off the mound toward first base. That makes his command rather inconsistent, and the max-effort delivery also could lead to some injuries down the line.
Conclusions: Peralta could certainly break camp as a viable major league starter in 2012, and his two plus pitches could allow him to have a Michael Pineda sort of impact next year. He doesn’t have quite the stuff of Pineda, but certainly could evolve into a well-above-average MLB starting pitcher. If he’s going to be a stud rather than just an innings-eater, he could stand to improve his changeup and smooth out his mechanics to get a better line to the plate, but he’s quite talented even in his current, flawed incarnation.
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