I guess we have to take back all those things we said last month about the horrible free agent signing of Jhonny Peralta. After signing a $55 million free agent contract in the offseason, Peralta got off to a dreadful start.
He finished April with a batting average of .196. Not exactly the kind of offensive upgrade the Cardinals were hoping for at the shortstop position. But things changed in a big way.
Starting on May 1st, Peralta began to hit. He hit safely in each of the first ten games of the month, including four multi-hit games. After a double and a homerun in Tuesday’s win over Arizona, Peralta now has his average up to a respectable .252. His nine homeruns lead the team. That’s the same number of homers as middle of the order hitters Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Allen Craig have combined. Peralta is second among all major league shortstops in homeruns behind only Troy Tulowitzki’s 13. Peralta is tied for second among all MLB shortstops in WAR, and fourth in slugging percentage.
Peralta has also held his own defensively. He won’t make anybody forget about Ozzie Smith, but Peralta’s play has been acceptable. He’s been charged with five errors, which puts him in the middle of the pack among all major league shortstops. He ranks 15th out of the 30 starting shortstops in fielding percentage.
At his current offensive pace Peralta would finish the season with 34 homeruns and 75 rbi’s. It seems unlikely he’ll continue to hit homers at that pace (his career high is 24), but his rbi total could be even better than that if he’s moved higher in the order. If/when Allen Craig gets hot, Peralta would have more opportunities to drive home runs.
That $55 million dollar contract is looking pretty good right about now.