May 1, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; MLB baseballs are seen prior to a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Braves' Jose Peraza increasing his stock at High A

Jose Peraza of the Lynchburg Hillcats could be the next fan favorite in line for the Atlanta Braves!

Jose Peraza, a prospect worthy of Excitement!

With speed that shows positive both on the basepaths and in the field, Jose Peraza is quickly climbing the prospect ladder with another great year in the Braves’ Minor League system.  His 2014 success has led many to believe that Peraza is the prospect to watch in the Braves’ organization.  Let’s take a gander at what has made him successful this season and project what his success might mean to the organization.

At only 20 years old, Peraza is still young for High-A ball (average age is 22-23), but the only thing he’s not outperforming the older boys in is beard-growing.  Scouts say that his good defense is aided by his speed which gives him well above average range.  Not only is his range above average but his arm is as well.  While he’s no Andrelton Simmons (who is?), Peraza has a strong arm that could translate into an everyday shortstop in the Major Leagues.  There’s only one problem…Andrelton. Yes, the 7-year contract that Simmons signed in February makes him the starting shortstop for the big boys through 2020.  Not sure if this is the sole reason why Peraza is primarily playing 2nd base for the Lynchburg Hillcats, but it seems logical.

The numbers…

Peraza is a line-drive hitter that uses all parts of the field to his advantage.  His bat stays on a level plane through the strike zone, and combine that with a quick stroke and Peraza, very much like our current shortstop, has a high contact rate (for his career, he makes contact in 89% of his at-bats).  Peraza’s BABIP sits at .363, which tells us that he’s been a bit lucky this year.  However, don’t be surprised if Peraza conitinues the trend of a high BABIP, In fact, his BABIP since he started his professional career has always been above average:

.310, .342, .314, .328, .363

Looking at those numbers from a common sense perspective tells us that he uses both his high line-drive rate and his plus-speed to get the most out of his limited power. Essentially, he uses the tools he’s given.

Swiping bags like he’s Vince Coleman, Peraza not only steals many a base, but he also steals at a high success rate.  This year through 48 games, Peraza has swiped 25 bases in 31 attempts, giving him an 81% success rate.  These early season numbers project him to be right around 75-80 stolen bases on the season.

On the season, Peraza has the following slash line: .330/.359/.417.  As you can see, his average really carries his OBP and SLG%, which is the downfall to Peraza’s game.  A player dependent upon average is a player that is dependent upon the luck of the game.  Going forward, Peraza needs to maintain his approach while adding a bit more muscle so the bat isn’t knocked out of his hands when facing the 95 MPH fastballs that are dominating the Major Leagues right now. Not only does Peraza need to add a bit of muscle, but his walk rate leaves much to be desired.  He’s walking less than 5% of his plate appearances this year and really needs to work on that aspect of the game if he wants to continue being an effective leadoff hitter.

So what do the Braves have in Peraza?

With seemingly every position taken for the next 2 years, Peraza will have to force the Braves’ hand to move into a role within that time frame.  However, it’d be wise to let this guy marinate in the minors through 2015 and be ready to take the leadoff role by storm at 23 years of age!  And being a 6th year Minor Leaguer at that time, he’d have to be at least put on the 40-man.  If he continues the path he’s on now, the Braves would have no problem with Peraza taking a 25-man or 40-man roster spot.

A speedy, versatile defender with an exceptional contact rate who could very well be the leadoff hitter of the future if he can develop more patience and muscle. He’s worth being excited over, and now since La Stella is a Major Leaguer, he’s the one player to keep an eye on.

Tags: Jose Peraza

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