With the trade of Brandon Phillips to Atlanta, the Cincinnati Reds’ speed movement took another step forward. Jose Peraza no longer must scrounge for playing time, bouncing around positions and getting plate appearances in fits and starts. This opens up prospects for Jose Peraza to build on his 2016 half-season worth of plate appearances. Should you take the plunge in your 2017 fantasy baseball drafts?
Peraza is a great stolen base threat, turning in 21 such swipes in his 256 plate appearances last year. Rack that up to 600 (a full season’s worth), and he sniffs 50 stolen bases. With MI becoming powerful, this return to speed up the middle harkens back to fantasy profiles of old. Don’t automatically bank those stolen bases, however, as catchers gunned down Peraza in 10-of-31 attempts.
Just like fantasy profiles of old, Peraza as a MI option profiles as high-average and high-speed, but with minimal power and ancillary stats. Peraza’s batting average isn’t legit. His .324 last year was buoyed by a huge .361 BABIP. Granted, his speed and line drive ability can sustain an elevated BABIP, but expecting .324 again is out of the question. If he settles around .330 BABIP, you could reasonably expect a .290 – .300 season from Peraza.
Here’s the rub of trying to reconcile high average, high speed, and poor plate discipline. While Peraza will have a high batting average, his OBP is just godawful; he walks just 3.2% of the time for his career. While his average should remain high, Peraza’s OBP will lag awfully, and this will limit his SB attempts. All it would take to cause some issues with his stolen base numbers is a misalignment in his swing that kills his LD%.
While we’ve established that Peraza should have a high average and likely will have a high stolen base number, those are the only categories where he is likely to contribute this year. He’ll hit eighth, ahead of the pitcher, and low power, bad average Billy Hamilton, which means he won’t score runs. His bad power and hitting behind Devin Mesoraco and Eugenio Suarez means he won’t get a lot of RBI opportunities, either. Peraza has 13 dingers in five seasons, so don’t expect any contributions there.
Peraza makes an intriguing fantasy baseball MI option for cheap speed that won’t hurt your batting average. He is currently the 157th player off the board in fantasy baseball drafts by FantasyPros ADP. That’s a massive overpayment for a player that will only be contributing in two categories and has major pitfalls to his potential contributions. Let someone else take Peraza in the thirteenth round, he has too many pitfalls and detractions to take him that high. If you desperately need cheap speed, then he may be worth the pick.