It’s no secret the Brewers need rotation help.
1-2 in the rotation is set with the likes of Junior Guerra and Zach Davies, but things get iffy following those two. Smart money is on Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, and Matt Garza to fill out the bottom 60 percent of the rotation, unless the Brewers decide to buy out Garza’s contract, try out a young prospect, or make an eleventh-hour trade. These three are not placeholders. They are trying to develop future rotation pieces in Nelson and Peralta, and potentially salvage a trade chip in the elder Garza.
Wily Peralta’s second half success, Spring Training and World Baseball Classic excellence, and relative youth and affordability leave the Brewers more than hopeful for a breakout 2017 season and solidification of a rotation spot for years to come for the 27-year-old.
About that second half: The long-time Brewers righty had a first half so disastrous it completely overshadowed Peralta’s sparkling 2.92 second half ERA. This ERA was no fluke, as it was backed by a 3.75 FIP. Both of these figures were significantly lower than any of his full season figures in the past. He posted a K/9 of 7.44 and a BB/9 OF 2.34, producing a 3.19 K/BB that would’ve been the best of his career in a full season. Furthermore, Peralta went at least five innings in every start from August onward.
Peralta’s first half HR/9 of 1.64 misconstrues the strides he made in the second half in the home run department. Aside from 2015 and the first half of 2016, Peralta has actually been successful in keeping the ball in the yard. That skill showed after the all-star break last year. His HR/9 was slighty above one in the second half. If Peralta can combine his home run suppressing skill with his second half control and strikeout ability, he will be a mainstay in the middle of the Brewers starting rotation.
Granted, we’re analyzing 61.7 innings of work here, but Peralta changed as a pitcher after his mid-season stint in AAA. There is reason to believe he was dealing with some type of injury or perhaps fatigue. He came back in August averaging 96 MPH on his fastballs, something he struggled with in in the first half.
It would be easy to write the right-hander off if he showed up in late February as the Peralta of old. That has not been the case. Peralta struck out six and walked just one over four innings of work against Columbia on March 12th. He has a 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings in Brewers camp with seven strikeouts and five walks, along with a WHIP of 0.95.
Peralta has been a relatively healthy pitcher in his young career. He is still looking for that major break through season. There are several signs that point towards 2017 being that year. The Milwaukee Brewers are going to do everything in their power to make that happen, and establish Wily Peralta as a solid mid-rotation piece.