Jose Peraza has only played in three games for Magallanes so far this season in Venezuela. The season is just over a week old, and he’s played in three games in a row, so it’s not as if he has been playing sparingly, he just started a few days after the others did. And he hasn’t missed a beat.

On Thursday night it was another big game for the 23-year-old infielder. Jose Peraza went 3-5 with a double, two runs and two RBI. It’s his third game with multiple hits. In his season debut this year he went 2-4 with a triple, run and an RBI. Two nights ago he went 2-4 with a walk, two runs and an RBI.

Jose Peraza is hitting .538/.571/.769 through three games for the Navegantes. He has yet to strike out and he’s stolen one base along the way. What he hasn’t done through three games is play shortstop. He’s played at second base all three nights in favor of Humberto Arteaga.

Ismael Guillon plays on the same Magallanes team. He pitched last night, tossing 2.0 perfect innings of relief with a strikeout. It was his 5th appearance of the year. He’s yet to allow a run in any of them, totaling 4.0 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

In Mexico is was more of the same for Sebastian Elizalde. He extended his hitting streak to eight games on Thursday night. Unlike the previous night when he homered in the first, he had to wait until the fifth inning after walking and popping out in his previous two trips to the plate. In the 5th inning he would single to extend his hitting streak to all eight games played in for Culiacan. The outfielder would add another single in the seventh inning. Through his eight games played he’s hitting .484 with six walks, five doubles, two homers, two steals and just three strikeouts.

Robert Stock threw a shutout inning of relief for Jalisco in the same league, but in a different game. He struck out two opposing batters to keep his ERA at 0.00 through five outings. He’s walked three batters and now has five strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.

The worst take in sports writing this week

I almost don’t want to link to this story, but it’s so bad and I see too many people say it too often. The headline to the story: Why baseball doesn’t need more Yasiel Puigs, it needs less. It was written by Old Man Who Yells at Cloud, err, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post.

The article, basically boils down to this: Put your head down, sprint as hard as possible, show zero emotion on the field, and we will love you. Do anything else, and you’re the worst and baseball would be better off without you.

I know that Mushnick isn’t alone in his thinking. Other sportswriters type similar things every so often. And you’ll see people at baseball games say things like that, too. Which is crazy, because they sure as heck cheer and show excitement when their team gets the big hit – but God forbid the player that got the hit actually gets excited over it.

Mushnick poses this question in his article:

How many games does “personality” win? Why not ask, “Does baseball need more players who can’t be bothered to run to first, even in the biggest games?” Or, “Does MLB need more players who’d rather show off for TV cameras than play winning baseball?”

Well, personality doesn’t win any games. Neither does running hard to first base you big dunce. As for the critique of does MLB need more players who would rather show off for TV cameras than play winning baseball….. well, if you’re talking about Yasiel Puig, yeah, it does. Because that dude does both. Puig hit .389 in the five game NLCS. He posted an OPS of 1.111. Oh, he also hit .455 with a 1.266 OPS in the sweep of Arizona. While there are more than a few Dodgers that have helped them win, now doesn’t seem to be the best time to claim that guy isn’t playing winning baseball. He’s 12-29 in the post season and slugging .655. And his team is heading to the World Series, having steamrolled their way to a 7-1 record so far.

Baseball is the only sport where showing emotion on the field is something frowned upon by the fans, the writers and the other players (some of them, at least). In football, if you score, no one loses their mind if you spike the ball, jump in the crowd, celebrate with your teammates. No one loses it if you make a big play and signal first down. You sack the quarterback and celebrate, as long as it’s not over top of the quarterback, no one is ready to fight you.

In basketball when a guy throws down a big dunk and celebrates or shows excitement, cool, no one cares. Hit a three and keep your hand in the air after you release it? Sweet. Score a goal in hockey, you and your teammates all gather to celebrate. Put one in the net in soccer? Guys rip their shirts off, run 50 yards across the field and slide on their knees toward the stands in celebration.

In baseball? Show any little emotion on a play that isn’t a walk-off home hit and you are out of line. Some players want to teach you a lesson and throw a freaking baseball at you to put you in your place. Writers pen columns about how you aren’t playing the game the right way. Baseball prefers you to act like a robot with no emotion. Don’t stare at that baseball you just hit 425 feet for more than 1.67 seconds or your ribs are going to hurt the next time you step into the box. Heck, maybe Brian McCann will just try to fight you when you get around the bases.

What baseball needs is more excitement shown on the field. The game is fun. It’s why we all started playing it, or watching it and enjoying it. The idea to try and take the emotion and excitement away from the players who are actually the ones more invested than any fan or writer is, well, it’s freaking crazy. But it’s been what baseball has been trying to do for my entire life, and I’m sure even longer than that. The game needs more Yasiel Puig type players. Ones who get excited. Ones who show emotion. What baseball doesn’t need is more Old Man Yells at Cloud. Now get off of my lawn.

19 Responses

  1. Josh

    I agree with you I think its completely ridiculous that pitchers hit players for celebrating a sweet long dong bomb. I think there should be harsher punishments for that type of stuff a ball coming at someone 90 plus mph could really do some damage if not kill you if it hits you in the wrong spot.

    • Colorado Red

      Yes,
      But in football if you celebrate too long, you get a Penalty.
      In basketball, there is no time to celebrate too long, or the other team scores, but if you do, you can get a technical foul.
      If you show up the pitcher too much, you get plunked (keep the ball low).
      This is the way the game is.
      Some emotion is good, too much is not.
      (by the way head hunting is never needed)

  2. CP

    Appreciate the update on Pereza. Small sample alert for sure, but boy would it be a boon for the Reds if he can make himself a replacement level player (2 War?).

    Hope he keeps it up!

  3. Billy

    Had a sobering thought this morning… We had a good lineup this year. We’ve got two very good prospects that will be added (or given more time) to that lineup in Senzel and Winker. I’ve been thinking that this would translate to an even better offense, getting somewhat excited about the prospect of Winker, Senzel, and Votto at the top of the lineup.

    Today, it hit may that I may be wrong. Yes, we’ll be getting Senzel, but he’s probably replacing Gennett, and Gennett was pretty good this past year. Sure, we’re getting a full season of Winker, but it’s going to limit playing time for Duvall and/or Schebler. We might see slight bumps in these cases, but it shouldn’t be much this season. We’ve still got Votto, Suarez, Barnhart, and Hamilton, so I’ll assume that those positions will be similar to this past season. That only leaves SS, where we are expecting Peraza to replace Cozart. That’s a pretty significant downgrade, and it leaves us with 4 weak spots in the lineup (Peraza, Hamilton, Barnhart, the pitcher).

    It is something of a surprise to me, but we may actually be looking at a weaker lineup this coming season. We may see that offset some by a better bench (especially if Duvall/Schebler and Gennett fill primary backup roles well). Ultimately, the difference won’t matter unless the young starting pitchers really take a huge step forward, but it still surprised me.

    • Cbus

      Offense will probably be worse. Peraza isn’t going to be able to repeat what Cozart just did. Scooter will probably regress. Hamilton and Barnhart are what they are. Add in a pitcher and that’s 5 weak spots in your everday lignup.

      2017 was close to a perfect offensive year. You got career years from 3B, 2B, SS and RF. You got good years from 1B and LF. You got what you expected years from CF and C. Only player that regressed offensively was Peraza who lost his starting job anyway.

      I think it’s very unlikely the 2018 offense will be better than 2017. Only hope is Suarez keeps improving, Winker/Senzel come in and dominate, and Peraza is a .300+ hitter.

      • Adam

        The Reds got a good year from LF? Duvall actually regressed to being league average, with his OPS+ dropping from 106 to 100 and his WAR slicing almost in half from 3.2 to 1.8. Even with a slight downgrade in defense, I think an OF of Winker, Hamilton and Schebler would be an improvement over a Duvall, Hamilton and Schebler OF.

  4. Mark

    Billy, I agree with you. My thoughts are we do not need to go target and spend big money on a starting pitcher, we need to somehow get a better hitting shortstop.
    Whether that be Senzel moved to Short and keep Gennett at 2nd which is my preference or a SS via trade I think Peraza is a joke and stinks to be honest. He has not hit for average, he can’t steal a base and his defense is average at best. What does Peraza really do well?? I would throw him into a trade with Duvall or Hamilton or Schebler whomever gets traded from the outfield and we would be just as well off with Vincej or Blandino at SS as a stop gap to Senzel. Who knows what Gennett is going to do this year for us, hard to repeat what he did last year I agree with that…..I’m willing to find out though he was exciting and brought a lot of offensive punch this year. If he can work on and focus somehow on getting better defensively he could be your 2nd basemen for at least the next 2 years until Shed is ready, if he gets up to the bigs.

    • Billy

      I’m not sure that I want to advocate going out and getting a SS. I do think that re-signing Cozart looks more appealing than I realized. (I’d at least extend the QO and let him be the SS this season. Beyond that, I’m not sure.)

      If the offense is better than last year, it’s going to have to be because of either or both of these things:
      1) Young players – Senzel, Winker, Ervin – dramatically outperform expectations.
      2) The bench is a significant net positive. Duvall/Schebler, Ervin (or Hamilton, if Ervin is in CF, as I prefer), Gennett (for IF offense), and Peraza (for IF defense) could be a good bench.

      Those things could happen, but they’re no more likely than injuries or regression affecting Votto, Suarez, etc., and they’re way less likely than the starting SS being significantly worse than Cozart was this past year.

    • Bill

      The problem with factoring in Senzel as a major league shortstop is that he has barely any experience. He DH’d and played 2B as a freshman at UT. As a sophomore he primarily played 2B. As a junior he was an All American third basemen and they rarely used him as a shortstop. As I recall, he logged a few games at SS towards the end of the season where the Vols finished with a 9-21 SEC conference record and his coach took the opportunity to showcase his athleticism. That said, UT thought Senzel was an SEC shortstop, they would have played him there every game.

  5. MK

    Is it time to cut Peraza some slack? Although not technically a rookie he just completed his first full Big League season. To expect him to be the finished product was unreasonable.He was asked to replace one of the teams most popular players and when he did not get off to a good start had the Scooter circus pile on.The guy has all the tools to be great. Even Pete Rose was benched his second year in favor of Billy Klaus because he struggled.Glad they did not write Pete off.

    • Billy

      I’m torn on this, MK. It sounds like the team is set on having him be the SS next year. He’s stepping into a position that Cozart manned extremely well last year. Peraza hasn’t been great, and the team is lining him up to step into a position where he’s almost certain to be a downgrade. Even if he’s decent this year, that’s not going to be well-received.

      I’d be more positive about him if the plan was to try Suarez at SS, start Gennett at 3B until Senzel is ready, and let Peraza have 2B until that time. Whichever of Peraza/Gennett is looking better could get the bulk of the playing time at 2B after Senzel arrives. Of course, that’s not the Reds’ plan.

      • wes

        Down grade in 2018 for sure. But what about 2019? Prob not much of a difference and if Reds are going to make a run from 2020 on- highly unlikely Cozarts that guy. Reds can be much better next year even with a potential significant downgrade at ss.

        I’m giving Peraza the nod for next season unless I can move other components to make room for Cozart and then give Cozart a qualifying offer.

    • Bryant

      Well said! There is a reason he was blue chip prospect. He can definitely hit for average, play average defense at least and steal bases. Being where he is at 23 was not a fluke. He just needs to consolidate skills and adjust. Struggling to do that at 23 does not make him a bust. He’ll ultimately be a terrific multi positioned super utility guy. Can probably handle short until our true shortstop whichever it is emerges in two years.

    • Doug Gray

      Don’t write him off. But, he’s got a very, very, very long way to go before he’s an average big league hitter. He’s got to hit .300 to even be a slightly below-average hitter because that average comes with few to no walks and no power at all.

      He doesn’t have the tools to be great. He’s got the tools to be good.

      • MK

        Looking at the stats he and Suarez’s walk numbers are not that different their first full Reds season. He probably will not develop Suarez power buthe could develop a better approach at the plate.

      • Doug Gray

        The difference is, though, that Suarez walked in the minors, so seeing that progression in the Majors isn’t surprising. Peraza has never walked, anywhere, at any level. And, well, power’s a pretty big thing for a hitter. The better approach helps some, but if you’re going to hit .300/.330/.350, you still are going to struggle to be of value on offense. You won’t be dead weight at that level, but you aren’t exactly doing a lot at that level either.

  6. Cinvenfan

    Peraza will get better. Not sure if he’ll ever walks enough or even becomes the much needed SS replacement for Cozart. But don’t write him off just yet at 23 and only a full season playing several positions.

  7. MK

    Since he has a history with the Expoes/Nationals I wonder if Delino Deshields might be a candidate in Washington.

  8. Michael B. Green

    There is plenty of statistical data to show that players experience a breakout season after accumulating around 1,000 PA at the MLB level. Peraza is at 799. Eugenio Suarez hit the 1,000 PA mark at about the All-Star Break in 2016. Look at what he has done since that time.

    With that in mind, I expect Peraza to break-out shortly after the All-Star Break next year. In the meantime, he will offer speed and excellent contact skills until that point in time.

    It warrants an opportunity to see if he can field the SS position and perhaps serve another star for the Reds – at the league minimum.

    Players like Peraza are how you build. Not all prospects pan out, but, especially for small market teams, giving opportunities to players like Peraza – and then complimenting them with veterans that bringing a history of winning championships – is how you build contenders.

    I think that things could come together as soon as the second half of 2018.