- Born July 27, 1991 in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
- Bats: Left Throws: Left
- Has played in the Reds organization since 2010.
- Signed by the Cincinnati Reds on August 17, 2009, as an amateur free agent.
- Debut: September 4, 2016 vs. STL.
- Exceeded rookie limits during 2017 season.
- Arb Eligible in 2020, eligible for free agency in 2023.
Wandy Peralta was probably the biggest surprise for the Reds last season, non-Scooter Gennett division. In a bullpen extremely light on left handed pitching, Peralta emerged as not only a reliable LOOGY, but an overall solid back end stopper.
Peralta actually made his Reds debut in 2016, pitching 7.1 innings as a September call-up. The numbers weren’t great. Appearing in 10 games, Peralta ended up with an 8.59 ERA with a 2.455 WHIP that’s somewhat partially inflated by two really bad outings; one where he gave up two earned without recording an out, and another in which he coughed up four in an inning. Otherwise, in the other eight appearances, Peralta allowed one run.
In 2017, though, Peralta was solid. He appeared in 69 nice games for the Reds, pitching 64.2 innings of 3.76 ERA ball, with a 1.191 WHIP and striking out nearly 8 per 9. That was good for a 117 ERA+, and it made Peralta one of the more reliable pitchers in bullpen that was otherwise pretty bad, outside of the always great Raisel Iglesias.
As I mentioned, it was even more important because Peralta was pretty much the only lefty in the pen for much of the season. Amir Garrett and Cody Reed made appearances, sure, but they were constantly shuttled between Cincinnati, Louisville, the rotation, or all of the above.
The only other left handed reliever to appear for the Reds, Tony Cingrani, was not great, and then shuttled to Los Angeles at the trade deadline.
Things don’t look dramatically different for the Reds bullpen makeup for 2018. Oliver Perez has been in camp since the Reds inked him to a minor league deal as Spring Training kicked off. Ideally, he’d be the LOOGY, but he’s been pretty dreadful, with an ERA near 20 in 4 innings, and it’s hard to tell if he’s really going to turn it around enough for the Reds to have any confidence in the 36-year-old vet. Cody Reed will probably contribute at least a little out of the bullpen, but when and for how long remains to be seen.
So what clicked for Peralta in his rookie season? This Frangraphs piece from early May by Jeff Sullivan suggest an addition of a slider, which helped him start missing more bats. He didn’t keep up that particular pace, obviously, but his 7.93 K/9 was the highest it’d been in any meaningful sample since he played in A ball, and his Swinging Strike percentage of 14.7% landed him in pretty decent company, with the likes of Carl Edwards, Cody Allen, Wade Davis, and Chad Green. Not bad!
Peralta could take the next step by allowing fewer walks, but that doesn’t seem all that likely. His 3.34 BB/9 was already the lowest of his career, minors included. His 15.1% HR/FB ratio also puts him on the wrong side of the top 30 relievers in baseball last season, minimum 50 IP. But, playing half of your games in GABP is hard, and Peralta already does a pretty good job of inducing ground balls, so I’m not sure there’s a lot of room for improvement there, other than more fortunate luck.
The Reds swapped out Drew Storen and Blake Wood for Jared Hughes and David Hernandez in the off-season, which should provide better value for the Reds. But they’ll be be counting on Peralta again in 2018. If he proves that 2017 was the real deal, the Reds bullpen could be looking at a serious turnaround.