On Sunday the Milwaukee Brewers gave right-hander Freddy Peralta his first major league start. It was a huge success: one hit and two walks over 5.2 innings, zero runs, with 13 strikeouts, against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field no less.
So where did this guy come from?
Peralta is from the Dominican Republic, originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2013. After one campaign in the Dominican Summer League and two seasons in rookie ball he was traded to the Brewers in the Adam Lind deal, then emerged with a solid A-ball season in 2016.
In 2017 he took a large step forward with a 2.63 ERA and a 169/62 K/BB in 120 innings between High-A and Double-A.
Peralta ranked fifth on the pre-season Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 Prospects for 2018 list with this commentary:
5) Freddy Peralta, RHP, Grade B: Age 21, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 by the Seattle Mariners, traded to Brewers for Adam Lind; posted 2.63 ERA with 169/62 K/BB in 120 innings between High-A and Double-A, with only 77 hits allowed; outstanding K/IP and H/IP ratios but walk rate was high; certainly better overall stats than Ortiz but scouting reports aren’t as good; fastball can hit 95 on the right day but more commonly in low-90s, though it plays up because he has a good slider and change-up and is deceptive due to his delivery; possible mid-rotation starter; ETA 2019.
Peralta made seven starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs to open 2018, posting a 3.63 ERA in 35 innings with a 46/17 K/BB and 30 hits allowed, good numbers anywhere but especially in the Pacific Coast League and Colorado Springs. He isn’t fazed by pitching in thin air.
Listed at 5-11, 175, Peralta is just 21 years old, born June 4th, 1996. Despite his consistently high strikeout rates he does not throw especially hard, generally low-90s, but hitters just can’t seem to get good reads on the pitch, as demonstrated in this highlight clip:
Peralta also has a solid slider and change-up, neither pitch rating as spectacular by themselves but certainly not weak and he locates them well enough to help the fastball play up.
His control in the minors was erratic on occasion but his high whiff and low hit rates kept any excess walks from doing much damage. That may or may not remain true in the majors in the long run once scouts and hitters get a better look at him but he was certainly in command of the situation yesterday.
Peralta is a good example of a successful gestalt pitcher whose performance is greater than the sum of the individual parts of his game. He absolutely should not be under-estimated and at this point I think he’s a B+ prospect.