For the Arizona Diamondbacks to take full advantage of their potential offensively, they are going to going to need all of their hitters to carry their weight. Team cannot win in today’s baseball on one or two hitters. However, one hitter who stands out the most and gets his teammates going is the energetic David Peralta. He has become a dangerous threat in the batter’s box and is probably the most consistent hitter on the roster.
The Journey to Arizona
Getting to the Majors has been a difficult journey for David Peralta. He grew up in Venezuela and played baseball as both a pitcher and a hitter. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 when he was 17. At the time, they persuaded the southpaw that his future was as a pitcher. He had a fastball clocked in the low-to-mid 90s range. In two seasons, however, he had only two wins to six losses, with a 5.69 ERA. Then, he damaged his shoulder. The Cardinals released him in May 2009 after a pair of surgeries on his pitching shoulder. At 21 years of age, Peralta’s career looked to be over.
But Peralta didn’t see it that way. He returned to Venezuela and honed his fielding skills, willing to try baseball again as a full-time outfielder. No clubs were interested. Again, he wasn’t going to be stopped. He moved to independent league ball, where he bounced from league to league and team to team over the next few years. This included stops in the Venezuelan Winter League and with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the North American League.
The Diamondbacks Sign Him
In 2013, Diamondbacks coordinator of independent league scouting, Chris Carminucci —who himself had played and managed in independent ball — saw Peralta play. By that time, Peralta had played in 225 independent league ballgames. He batted an overall .359, with 28 home runs and 189 RBI. Carminucci and the Diamondbacks were impressed enough to bring him into the organization in the middle of the 2013 season. He quickly moved up, hitting .346 at Class-A Visalia. The next season he had .297 average at Class-AA Mobile. It was apparent that the Diamondbacks had a potential impact prospect. Consequently, Peralta made it to the big league club midway through the 2014 season. His first exposure to the majors went well, hitting .286 in 88 games. In 2015, Peralta became a full-time starter and played 149 games.
He Still Works in the Offseason
David Peralta spends his offseason working on his hitting with José Amado, who coached him in independent ball and now is a minor league hitting coach in the Diamondbacks organization. This past offseason they decided to lower Peralta’s hands and look at a different approach to the plate, hoping the change would give him more time to be aware of pitches. They also worked on getting him to be better disciplined at the plate and recognizing the pitches coming to him.
Extra Work Paid Off
These off-season workouts seem to have done the job. Although his home run numbers are down compared to the same games last year, Peralta has more doubles and has fewer strikeouts. His OBP and SLG are currently the highest of his career. He has improved his hitting against left-handers as well. He had been hitting around .250 for his career and through Monday’s games is hitting .265.
Underrated in Baseball
Peralta checks all of the boxes for a classic underrated player. He’s a solid contributor across the board with no real glaring weaknesses. He arrived to the big leagues late, and that arrival was accompanied with hardly any national exposure. But for Diamondback fans, he has emerged as one of the better all-around outfielders. The Diamondbacks are counting on him to continue to deliver his strong performance at the plate and in the field for the rest of the season. Peralta also brings an intangible to the team — his experience. He is certainly a player that can rely on his experiences and challenges to help his teammates, especially the younger ones. All he’s gone through proves he can be a leader in the Diamondbacks clubhouse.
Embed from Getty Images