Exit Interview: Jhonny Peralta

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Jhonny Peralta

Season stats: 155 games, 640 PA, 64 R, 26 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB, 4 CS, 50 BB, 111 K, .275/.334/.411, 102 OPS+, 1.8 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 9, Goat 19

Overall grade: B-

Positives: Tied for second on the team in home runs….may have been the team’s first half MVP, hitting .298 with 13 of his home runs before the break….hit .306 with six homers in May….hit .320 when he was in the fifth spot in the order….hit .364 when up 2-0 in the count….hit .297 with five home runs the first time he saw a reliever in a game….basically split his HR between home and away and between righties and lefties….had a wonderful moment July 6 when he belted the game-winning, come-from-behind home run against the Cubs.

Negatives: For whatever reason (perhaps fatigue), fell apart in the second half, hitting just .243….only hit two home runs after the July 31 trading deadline….went 2-for-14 with just one RBI in the NLDS….while he hit nine homers against lefties, his batting average against them was just .238….hit only .222/.311/.278 with two outs and runners in scoring position….had a .697 OPS and just four of his HR in high leverage situations.

Overview: Rarely does a player nosedive like Peralta did this season.  Like I said above, if you gave out a first half MVP, he probably gets it.  When you coupled that with the 21 home runs and all around play that we saw out of Peralta last season, it looked like everything was going to be a bed of roses.  Now, it’s not that people want him run out of town on a rail, but there’s questions about just what Peralta will give the club next season.

Was this a case of fatigue?  There really wasn’t any backup for Peralta, with Pete Kozma being there just for his glove and Greg Garcia not coming up for good until late in the season.  Peralta had two games where he was the DH and pinch-hit in six games.  The other 148, he was out there manning the dirt between second and third.  Peralta hit .293 in his last 17 games, but that was after having a couple of days off and he got a couple more days in that span.  There are strong arguments for fatigue, though we can’t be sure that’s all there was to it.

Outlook: Peralta will turn 34 in May so there’s no real reason to believe there’s going to be an age-related decline, at least not a sharp one.  With a better backup allowing him a few more days off, Peralta might return to the form we saw in 2014 and the first half of 2015.  If not, at least the contract was front-loaded and the cheaper years are 2016 and 2017.  It’ll make any lack of production a little easier to bear.

  • J. Williams

    Well, you wrote about the Cardinals SS as if he was a Designated Hitter. No mention of his play in the field. 1.8 bWAR -0.0 dWAR $15,000,000 for a replacement level player.

    His grade on defense would have been at least a D- if you had included it, but of course as with all bloggers, writers, reviewers, announcers, and the Cardinals team themselves, NO ONE has ever been allowed to say anything negative about his defense.

    The pitching staff have been overworked the past two years because of the many hitters allowed to make it safely to 1B rather than being thrown out, but that is also not to be mentioned anywhere verbally or in print.

    • Cardinal70

      Well, he’s not a replacement level player. Perhaps a replacement level FIELDER, but as you probably would agree, he’s not being paid $15 million entirely to field. While that is part of the job, yes, I’d suggest that at least 80% of this contract was because of his hitting, if not more. So if he’s not hurting the team defensively (and, 0.0 defensive WAR would say he’s pretty neutral) then he’s pretty much doing his job.

      I’m sure that you have watched Mr. Peralta with a much more hawklike eye given your issues with him in the past, but I’ve not seen any egregiously bad play out of him in the field. Again, he’s not going to be a gold glover, but he’s definitely been better than many expected when he came to St. Louis.

      When he signed his contract, it was almost a given he’d have to move to third for the last two years. Now nobody brings that up because, as noted, he’s fine at short. I’m fairly sure that if it had been that bad, it’d have coverage. I’m not sure exactly what kind of pull you think the Cardinals have over bloggers and writers, but they pretty much can write what they want.

      • J. Williams

        Runners allowed to 1B on misplays and/or weak defense by the Cardinals ss in 2015 –

        April 15, 2015 top 2nd Segura singles on ground ball to Cardinals ss.
        5 extra pitches for Lynn to get out of inning
        top 3 Ramirez singles on SOFT line drive to center.
        4 more pitches for Lynn
        top 4 Gennett singles on SOFT line drive to center.
        7 extra pitches for Lynn
        top 6 Lynn out of game after 5 with 99 pitches thrown.

        April 21 bot 1 Span singles on ground ball missed by Cards ss.
        7 extra pitches for Lynn
        bot 3 Harper singles on SOFT ground ball to left field.

        April 24 bot 1 Braun reaches 1B, Parra to 2B on missed catch error
        by Cards ss. No force out, no DP.
        3 extra pitches for Martinez
        bot 8 Maldonado singles on line drive to Cards ss.

        April 26 bot 2 Herrera singles on pop up to left missed by Cards ss.

        April 28 top 1 First batter Revere singles on ground ball to Cards ss.
        top 3 Utley singles on ground ball to left field.
        7 extra pitches for Wacha
        top 6 Asche singles on SOFT line drive to center.
        8 more pitches to get 2 outs with 2 on
        Wacha out after 91 pitches and 5.2 innings and
        Cards with a lead.

        April 29 top 3 Herrera singles on ground ball to Cards ss.

        June 2 top 5 Segura to 1B on GFO 4-6 that should have been DP.
        2 extra pitches and 4 pickoff throws to 1B for Lynn

        June 4 bot 6 Gonzales singles on line drive to left field. (Other
        know that the Cards ss is a weak defensive player.)
        Ethier singles on ground ball to Cards ss.
        12 extra pitches by Wacha to end inning

        This is just in 8 games early in the season, and we know that his D became much worse after the AS break. The pitchers paid the price for having a terrible defender behind them in the position that is most important to them after their catcher.

        Everybody has watched JP play with their rose-colored glasses on, and his offense has only meant that the offense at other positions was weaker in his two years, so it’s really just been a wash at $53M !

        • CardsCards

          J, can I find you on twitter somewhere? I feel like our conversations would be epic and terrible and wonderful.

        • Cardinal70

          1) Are those from your personal notes of the game? Because if you are just reading the play-by-play, “singled to SS” means anything hit in that direction, Could be right at him, could be out of the reach of Ozzie Smith in his prime. I don’t doubt those are your personal notes, however.

          2) By June 4, Peralta had 8 home runs. Even with your accounting above, it doesn’t look like any other runs scored. I grant you, throwing extra pitches can be a cumulative burden on pitchers, but that’s limited more to the actual game. Even with that caveat, Peralta had produced much more offensively than he had cost the team defensively, which makes him anything but a “wash”.

          3) I don’t know who “we” is, but I don’t know that his defense got weaker in the second half. Perhaps it did, but as with the first half, I don’t remember any egregious times where he was terrible.

          4) Interestingly, Peralta made 13 more plays out of his zone in 2015 than he did in 2014.

          5) I will say that many other defensive metrics didn’t favor Peralta. However, I don’t think this team is served by an Andrelton Simmons, who can field anything in the world but can’t hit anything. That’s a position some might disagree with and I can see their point.

          6) Jhonny Peralta is not the reason that the Cardinals did not win the World Series. He’s one of the reasons they won the division though.

          • J. Williams

            They didn’t play in the World Series. He is one of the reasons that they did not win the NLDS. And he is one of the reasons that pitchers had to throw more pitches in more innings during the season.

            Plays out of his zone means nothing. He has “negative” range, lol, meaning he stands still most of the time, and plays where Oquendo tells him to when he’s paying attention at all.

            Info is not from personal notes, but from games reviewed this morning in about 30 minutes after reading your interview, and plays were from play by play then watched on replay. That was just a few weeks of the season.

            As I said, his play was seen through rose-colored glasses by most fans and everyone else except likely the Cardinals pitchers.

            If you never saw any terrible plays by him at his position, as the official scorekeepers obviously didn’t either, especially in the second half, then you weren’t watching very closely. Just enjoying the game.

          • Cardinal70

            To be fair, it sounds like I was enjoying it more than you were. There were many more issues on this team than Peralta’s fielding.

          • J. Williams

            Oh, absolutely true, C70. I just thought I’d mention it since you completely left it out of your end of the season assessment of the Cardinals ss, who by the way, is a cheater, liar, and unconvicted felon!

            He’s brought a season-long ton of bad karma with injuries to most all other players, except HIMSELF, and his HGH-tainted self with his amoral chemistry to the team and clubhouse. Sad.

            I watched the Cubs and Angels this season who were by far more fun to watch without any HGH-using “AllStars” on them.

          • CardsCards

            Let’s not forget how his Karma killed Oscar.

          • J. Williams

            Well, of course, he didn’t kill OT. OT killed himself and murdered the mother of his 1 year old son in the Dominican Republic on his own.

            Possibly some time and effort on the part of the 13 yr MLB veteran from the same home country as a mentor for the 10 yr younger player might have influenced Oscar’s behavior, maturity, and responsibility-taking after he became a major league player.

            But then the Cardinals ss would have been somewhat hypocritical if he said anything to a younger player about being mature and behaving responsibly after his own lying, cheating, and willful MLB rule and policy breaking and disrespecting.

            Oscar likely thought and felt that he could do anything he wanted to do and get away with it.

          • Cardinal70

            Actually, Oscar’s child was by a different woman, I believe.

          • J. Williams

            So, no comment about the Cardinal ss mentoring, or more likely lack of mentoring, the young “Phenomenon” as Oscar had called himself since he was a small child.

            Maybe Oscar had more than one child, since Edilia was a young mother also who had been his girlfriend, actually fiancee, for quite a while. She was 18 when she died, and they had been together since she was 17 or younger.

            Oscar’s life was a tragedy; he caused the death of a young woman and left a child fatherless. That’s another story, but one that the Cardinals ss just might could have made a difference in. Young Carlos Martinez seems to have been the only person to try and influence Oscar’s behavior. Carlos is a better man for openly attempting to help his friend.

          • Cardinal70

            Ma’am, honestly, there’s really no point in discussing this issue with you. If you are believing that Peralta’s one-time PED use years before he came to St. Louis was the karmatic reason for all the injuries the club had this year, I’m pretty sure you’re not open to reasonable debate.

            Peralta had a handful of games in the same place as Taveras. If you wanted to lay blame, perhaps more accurately it would go to the coaches and players that he’d actually spent a lot of time with. At least blame an outfielder, because they’d probably be more likely to mentor another outfielder than a player at a different position.

            You seem to believe Peralta is the cause of all sin in the world. I don’t quite give him that much influence. I believe we’ll just have to agree to disagree here and you can continue watching other teams until this scourge is lifted.

          • J. Williams

            If you’re not going to publish my last reply as it was written, would you please publish it leaving out the paragraph about Oscar?
            I would appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

          • Cardinal70

            I did not modify any of your responses, ma’am.

          • J. Williams

            Do you really believe that it was a one-time PED use by the 11-yr MLB veteran when he was caught with 12 of his peers at the exact same time purchasing HGH from the Miami clinic in 2012 before he became a Cardinal in 2013? Read Blood Sport by Tim Elfrink.

            During games would not have been the time or place for life-skills mentoring as a professional baseball player even by an outfielder. Oscar played in 80 games in 2014, half of the season, so there was Spring training, daily on-field BP and time in the clubhouse, on charter flights, in hotels, and during the off-season in their home country.

            A better mentor on the Cardinals team who was from the same country, was a veteran player 10 years older than the 22 year old much-hyped since the age of 16 rookie? Who might that have been?

            “You seem to believe Peralta is the cause of all sin in the world.” What? You were writing intelligently until you wrote this. Everything that I’ve written has been only about the Cardinals team explicitly and about the effects of one particular player on the team for the past two years.

            Mozeliak and the Cardinals organization changed the mission statement of the team, aka “business”, when they decided to override and ignore the Cardinal Way for the sake of money, anticipated glory, and instant gratification by signing and highly rewarding a known cheater and HGH-user.

            Many young minor leaguers are continuing to use PEDs because they see that the consequence is not so bad. NOT ONE cheating PEDs and HGH using major leaguer has ever been told he can’t play and make as much money as he can get for as long as he can get it after his ‘vacation/suspension’.

            All of the MLB players who still play and make millions AFTER cheating and using PEDs and HGH are their role models. Sad.

            You, sir, SEEM to be able to have adult, rational, and knowledgeable conversation rather than resorting to childish sarcasm, which is very much appreciated. I do understand that most Cardinals fans and actually most baseball fans adore and idolize the lying, cheating, HGH and PEDs using players as long as they help the favorite team win and make the games exciting to watch.

            For some of us, a small minority I would estimate, watching baseball games and cheering for our favorite teams and players, has been a life-long family past-time, not just a win-at-all-cost-dog-eat-dog business. True, we know more about the players and the organizations than before there was so much 24/7 media. It’s just sad and unfortunate that baseball has turned into a money-driven business where it’s OK to do whatever a player wants to in order to ‘step’ on other players who are not cheating rather than play honestly and as fairly as possible in the ‘team’ competition where some players are more concerned with their individual rewards and have no respect for the game and the other individual players.

          • CardsCards

            I’m just curious what current events are at least somewhat to blame for Peralta’s pre-Cardinals PED use? Is there a list somewhere? What about for Ryan Franklin? Cody Stanley?

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