Free Wily

Last night (6/20) Wily Peralta yet again pitched poorly giving up 4 earned runs, 5 hits, and 1 walk in 1 inning of work.  Since being moved to the bullpen on May 19th, Wily has pitched to the tune of a 10.54 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched.  He was not much better when he was in the starting rotation.  Peralta has been a disappointment to the Brewers so far as he was one of their top pitching prospects.  Despite struggling through most of his young career, he did string together a period of good pitching.  Last season following a demotion to Triple A, Peralta came back up and finished the last three months starting 10 games and going 3-4 with a 2.92 ERA.  There was hope that Peralta might be turning a corner in his development.  Fast-forward to today and that is no longer the case, however maybe we can learn something from those 10 starts in which he found success.

The first thing that was apparent when Peralta returned from Triple A was the frequency at which he threw his slider.  From the beginning of 2016 to his demotion to Triple A he threw sliders 29.43% of the time.  After returning to the MLB until the end of 2016 he threw the slider 36.11% of the time.  Clearly, he found success in his slider.

On the left is the opponent batting average against the slider and on the right, is opponent’s slugging against the slider.  It can be observed the point at which Peralta was recalled from Triple A.  Not only was Peralta throwing the pitch at a higher rate, but he was having great success with it.  Here is the reason why:

His success with his slider might have been due to his more consistent delivery.  His arm slot was more consistent which allowed him to more effectively tunnel, or disguise, pitches.  This results in not only a more successful slider, but also more successful fastballs, sinkers, and curveballs.

Now back to today, 2017.  Wily is struggling, however he is throwing his slider 35% of the time which is comparable to last year when he had success.  In addition, players are hitting just over .200 against the slider.  That was the pitch that may have lead him to success, but it is not necessarily what is leading him to struggle this year.  Here is Peralta’s pitch distribution for this year:

He is throwing his slider at a high rate which makes sense, but he is also throwing his sinker at a higher rate.  How is that working for him?

It is obvious that hitters are all over his sinker.  As with any good big league hitter if you leave a sinker over the middle of the plate they will make you pay.  Wily is leaving the ball in place where hitters are doing damage.

Peralta has shown success.  He is struggling now, but if he can find out how to more effectively use his sinker while continuing to use his slider he could turn the corner.  Wily could be an integral part of the Brewers bullpen which is one of the worst in the league.  Stay patient, and he could still be a useful arm in the bullpen.

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