Detroit’s favorite misspelt name had himself a hell of a 2011 campaign, hitting a career high .299 with 21 HR and 86 RBI. With that, Jhonny Peralta was named an All-Star. On top of having top tier offensive numbers for a shortstop, Peralta was as sure handed as they came, only committing 7 errors for a .988 fielding percentage. Having a better year than his career averages in so many categories last season, was it a fluke or a sign of things to come?
REGRESSION: Batting Average – As much as it pains me to say, we cannot expect the same kind of numbers again. What more could you ask from a career .263 hitter going into this season than for him to have a line of .299/.345/.478 and an OPS of .824 from someone who hit in the bottom third of the order? While I think his secondary stats will remain close to similar to last, it is just unfair to expect the same type of batting average again. If he continues to cut the field in half and stay incapable of hitting the ball the other way, that .299 just cannot hold up. Those loopers and texas leaguers are only going to last so long. He should not expect a massive drop off, but a big enough one to notice.
Slugging Percentage – Before last year, Peralta has not had a slugging percentage above .400 since 2008. Peralta SLG was .478 last year, and while I am not calling for the 79 point drop needed to be under .400, this will decrease. However, because I see his HR total being relatively similar to last year…and in 2011 he did not have a doubles total that will be difficult to repeat (25), the only reason his SLG will drop is because his BA will.
Strike Outs – Last year was actually the first time since Jhonny has been a starter that he did not finish the season with triple digit strikeouts. That being said, he did not miss by much, finishing the year with 95. With Peralta’s positioning in the lineup (7th on most nights) signifying the first big drop off in the on deck circle, Peralta will be pitched to tough. Though that may easily be countered by the amount of base runners Jhonny has on base when he comes to the plate. I am going to prepare myself for a 100 strikeout season for Jhonny.
**Side Note** – The amount of strikeouts on the Tiger’s roster is flat out ridiculous. Jackson, Raburn, Inge, Avila, Peralta, and Boesch are heavy K men. The Tigers can do a lot of things with the lumber, including getting punched out.
PROGRESSION: Walks – Jhonny has never been much of a base on balls guy. In 4,567 career plate appearances, Peralta has only walked 390 times, which is good for a 8.53 BB%. His 162 game average is only 56. That being said, his BB% last year was only 7.07%, as he walked 40 times last year. He will be challenged, but Jhonny will show a little bit more patience this year.
That really is the only stat I see getting significantly better for Jhonny this year. Please do not confuse this for me bashing Jhonny, as that could not be further from the case. In fact, if I were to construct a list of my favorite Tigers (which would be next to impossible, for the record), Peralta would most likely be in my top 5. His timely hitting last season was outstanding, and it is nice to finally get some offensive production out of the shortstop position. I believe he will have a season better than his career numbers, but a dip compared to 2011. It will be a type of year that as long as people do not expect him to recreate 2011, they will be happy with his production. By year’s end, he will still be a top 10 shortstop in baseball.
BOLD STATEMENT: This year will only be the 3rd time Peralta finishes the year with an OBP of at least .335 in his career.
PREDICTION – 143 GP .275/.337/.459 .796 OPS 20 HR 84 RBI 29 2B 52 BB 106 SO
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