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The Unexpected Competence of Jhonny Peralta

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Peralta has been great in 2013 after a down 2012. Which year are we to believe?

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Jhonny Peralta might be most famous for the odd placement of the "h" in his first name, but after a thoroughly unpleasant 2012, Peralta has put himself back in the good graces of fantasy owners with a strong start to 2013. So the question is... who is the real Peralta? Well, the answer is a good news/bad news situation. Most people like the bad news first so they can end on a happy note. As it turns out, I'm not most people.

The Good News

What we'd normally look for in this type of career year situation is anything out of the ordinary that was ripe for regression to the mean. So the good news is that when it comes to a crucial stat like HR/FB rate, Peralta's 9.8% is actually under his career average by a full percent. Additionally, Peralta's ISO of .156 is right on par with his career ISO of .158. So his power numbers (six home runs) are pretty legit. Of course, his power numbers aren't what's fueling his terrific season thus far. That would be his other slash stats, in his average and his on-base percentage. The good news on the latter is that at 8.2%, Peralta's walk rate is again in line with his career rate, so it's not all fluky. Then again...

The Bad News

The vast majority of his on-base percentage is batting average driven. And when it comes to his batting average, it's very much being driven by his BABIP, which checks in at a sky-high .410, compared his career rate of .314. It might appear especially odd that Peralta's BABIP would spike while he's hitting 3% fewer groundballs. That said, his FB% has dipped as well, which support a rise in BABIP and his line drive rate has seen a massive spike up to 27.4%, well above his career rate of 20.7%. The last piece of bad news for Peralta is that he's actually striking out a significantly higher rate than he has been. While his 21.2% strikeout rate is only a shade under a percent higher than his career rate, Peralta hadn't struck out in more than 20% of his at-bat since 2009.

The Result

In the end, even with regression, it would be a surprise to see Peralta drop to his 2012 numbers, as he was getting a bit unlucky last year. Additionally, he plays in an explosive Detroit Tigers lineup which will always aid his counting stats. If you can find an owner who is buying into a 2013 rebound for Peralta, I'd sell as quickly as possible because, and not to sound like a member of House Stark here, regression is coming.