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Monday, November 25, 2013

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JHONNY PERALTA SS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

                                                        Jhonny Peralta

The St. Louis Cardinals quickly realized going into the offseason that Pete Kozma was not going to cut it as their everyday shortstop.  Thus they quickly moved to sign free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year deal worth a reported $52 million to fill a giant hold in their infield.  Peralta himself comes off a 2013 season that was marred by a 50-game PED suspension as he got caught up in the whole Biogenesis mess.  That not so small issue is part of the discussion when it comes to evaluating Peralta's fantasy baseball value heading into the 2014 season so let's get right to work in trying to figure out where his numbers could end up.

First let's get the particulars out of the way.  Peralta will be turning 32 this season which means he is well past the point where any improvement could be expected in his numbers and in fact we have to go on the assumption those stats will slide a bit after presumably no longer messing with the illegal substances.  It is very difficult to figure out how much of an impact the PED's had on Peralta's performance as you can get to one extreme in Melky Cabrera who was a shell of his All Star and steroids-fueled self when coming back from his own PED suspension last season.  Or you can look at David Ortiz who continues to hit at his usual standards despite testing positive for a banned substance back in the original survey testing.  Be that as it may we got to make the best projection we can with what we can go on. 

As far as what stands out about Peralta, it is obvious he has above-average pop for the position.  YOu are not going to find many shortstops who can hit 20 home runs which Peralta has done 4 times in his career, with the most recent being back in 2011 when he clubbed 21.  In addition Peralta has driven in over 80 runs three times in his career so he can surely be a help there.  However the rest of the package is underwhelming.  For one Peralta has zero speed so you will get next to nothing in the stolen base category which is a big negative.  I always preach the idea of having your two middle infields (second base/shortstop) as a big source of your team steals and in that case Peralta clearly doesn't fit the bill.  In addition, Peralta is very slow of foot so scoring runs is a challenge at times also.  Since scoring a fluky 104 runs in 2008, Peralta has failed to score even 70 since than in any season.  Finally Peralta is only a .268 career hitter which is the definition of mediocre.

If you put it all together, Peralta reeks of a lower end fantasy baseball mixed league shortstop.  The power is nice but again how much that was inflated by the steroids remains to be seen.  Since he is already neutral or negative in steals, runs, and average, if Peralta sees a drop in power than there is not much left to recommend.  My best advice is to get more speed at shortstop and leave the Peralta headache to some other owner.

2014 PROJECTION:  .271 16 HR 78 RBI 61 R 2 SB

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