The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that values versatility. With the loss of Junior Guerra last offseason, the Brewers needed to take a chance on the next reliable and versatile pitcher on their staff. Right-handed pitcher, Freddy Peralta, was signed to a five-year $15.5 million contract extension with two club options. Yes, that was this year; it feels like forever ago. Here is the breakdown of Freddy’s 2020 season.
New year, new pitch
Everyone knows him as “Fastball Freddy,” which is his most used pitch. When the velocity on his four-seam fastball is up, it can leave opponents guessing. Just ask the 2018 Colorado Rockies on Mother’s Day. After a difficult 2019 season, Peralta played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic. While dominating in Winter Ball for the Toros del Este, Peralta utilized that time to mix in a new pitch. Peralta added a slider into the mix of his four-seam fastball, curveball, and an occasional changeup. Peralta would execute the slider in Winter Ball when he was behind in a count. That was how he got comfortable with the pitch so quickly. In 20 innings of work, he allowed six hits and three walks with 34 strikeouts. Domination is an understatement. I met him at Brewers On Deck in January and acknowledged his dominance in Winter Ball. Peralta flashed his adorable smile and said, “thank you,” and it was the second-best highlight of the day. First was meeting Brandon Woodruff for the first time.
Anyways at the beginning of the regular season, Peralta made a start in the Opening Series versus the Cubs. In three innings of work, he gave up four earned runs. That’s okay because he found his true dominance in the bullpen.
Even though the season wasn’t a full 162 game slate, Peralta’s contribution to the bullpen didn’t go unnoticed. With a career-best 3.99 ERA, Peralta struck out 47 batters in 29 ⅓ innings pitched, which is the fifth most strikeouts on the team. His most strikeouts in an outing? Eight. After yet another bad start by Adrian Houser on August 10, Freddy Peralta went the last four innings and gave up one hit. Another impressive statistic for Peralta? He finished third-best in K/9, strikeouts per nine innings, on the team. It was none other than Josh Hader (14.7) and Devin Williams (17.7) that rounded out the first two spots. Aside from the 47 strikeouts and 29 ⅓ innings pitched, Peralta finished the year with a 3-1 record and a WHIP of 1.16.
Freddy Peralta emerged as a key player in the bullpen this season. His experience as a starter meant more flexibility in roles as a spot-starter or long reliever. Peralta’s new mix of pitches and better control allowed him to bounce back from a trying 2019 season. Here’s to more years of Freddy P!