By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Frederick Keys (Class-A Adv.) RHP Ofelky Peralta is finding out that the jump from the South Atlantic League (Class-A Low) to the Carolina League is a big one. As his 2017 numbers suggest, the Carolina League hitters are getting the best of him.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
As of Thursday (6/8/2017), Peralta has started 11 games for the Keys and owns a 0-4 record with a 6.55 ERA, 1.93 WHIP and .273 batting average against. In 44.0 innings pitched this season he has surrendered 48 hits while walking 37 batters and striking out 48. He has also given up six home runs.
I first took a look at Peralta in January where I reviewed his 2016 season.
At that time I said “he still has work to do in harnessing his control” and Thursday’s game against the Lynchburg Hillcats is a perfect example of that. Peralta’s line for the night was: 3.2 innings pitched, eight hits, seven runs, all earned, seven strikeouts, three hit batters and one home run surrendered. He threw 92 pitches, 56 for strikes (61%) but took the loss.
Right now he is an all or nothing pitcher as his 9.8 hit/9 inning and 9.8 strike out/9 inning ratios demonstrate. Peralta has also hit eight batters so far in 2017, one more that in all of 2016.
Peralta’s regression is certainly dramatic. Here are his 2016 numbers: 23 starts, 8-5 record, 103.1 innings pitched, 4.01 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and .230 batting average against. He struck out 101 and walked 60 producing a 8.8 strike out/9innings and a 5.2 walk/9 innings ratio respectively. Not only has Peralta been wild in terms of walks and hit batters, but opponents are hitting .273 against him in 2017, more than 40 points higher than last season.
The number of innings he pitched in 2016 was 49% more that he pitched in 2014 and 2015 combined (69.0) and it makes me wonder if his 2017 struggles are based on some sort of fatigue, especially considering he is still just 20 years old.
Possessing a 93-95 mph fastball, Peralta is a pitcher you would like to see succeed; velocity cannot be taught. He just has to learn to control his pitches and learn quickly. If his 2017 numbers continue, the organization may have to consider moving him into the bullpen; the back end of the bullpen may be what he is suited for.