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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: JOSE PERAZA 2B/SS CINCINNATI REDS

It takes the rare player to be a fantasy baseball sleeper in back-to-back springs but that is where Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Peraza resides as we look towards the 2019 season.  A popular speed upside pick a year ago, Peraza came through in a major way with the following numbers:

.288
14 HR
58 RBI
85 R
23 SB
4.2 BB/9
11.0 K/9
.307 BABIP

Looking at the numbers above, Peraza killed it as he upped his power numbers significantly, hit for average once again, and remained a potent base stealer which also qualifying at multiple positions.  Be that as it may, Peraza's early 2019 draft costs remain quite affordable and given the gains we saw last season, another uptick in numbers could be possible since he turns just 25 in April. 

When digging into Peraza's game, the steals obviously jump out first and that is where a ton of his value will come from.  With steals being on the decline across baseball, Peraza is very valuable on that aspect alone as he has now gone for 21, 23, and 23 in that category the last three seasons.  Not monstrous steal totals mind you but very much effective as well.  Also with Billy Hamilton now elsewhere, Peraza could be more of a running threat this season as a catalyst to create offense on the upstart Reds.  Even if Peraza were to stay in the low-20's in terms of the steals, he still opened eyes by upping his homers from 2017's 5 to 14 a year ago.  Now there could be some outlier to the latter number but Peraza also swung for the fences more with a noticeable increase in hard-hit rate.  This makes sense as Peraza moves closer to his prime and taps into some more natural power.  If Peraza can hold last season's power gains to go with the steals, we have another valuable batch of numbers.  Finally, Peraza has shown himself to be a decent batting average guy despite being completely allergic to walks.  Think Dee Gordon here as a similar player who never walks but still hit for average due to an impressive contact rate and the speed to beat out dribblers.  Peraza certainly has the contact skills down pat as his 11.0 K/9 last season was phenomenal and will surely help keep the average in a positive region despite not walking. 

Putting everything together, Jose Peraza is one to watch this spring as an ascending player who really can help in all five categories in a somewhat quiet manner.  Even if he just repeats last season's numbers and doesn't improve on them, we are still talking about a very potent asset. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .290 11 HR 63 RBI 88 R 25 SB  


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