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Jose Peraza is Still a Long Way Away

The 21-year-old infielder was traded to the Reds in December, which means his pathway to playing time is blocked by Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. Can the young Venezuelan defy the odds and become fake league relevant in 2016?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Reds Manager Bryan Price says he expects Jose Peraza to log some time at second base, shortstop, and outfield during Spring Training this year. So there is some small hope that Peraza can get somewhat consistent at-bats this season despite being blocked at his two primary positions by Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. Remember, Peraza saw some time in the outfield when he was with the Gwinnett Braves last season, and with the nearly full-on youth movement happening in Cincinnati it is conceivable that Peraza could get some consistent time on the diamond. A betting man shouldn't rule out the possibility of the 21-year-old beginning the season at Triple-A in order to play every day, though. But let's look a little deeper at this young prospect and see what sort of production he might offer when he does arrive in the MLB.

Jose Peraza has a triple slash of .302/.342/.387 for his minor league career. He has also stolen 210 bases and been caught only 49 times, which is an 81 percent success rate (pretty darn good). Rickey Henderson was a shade under 81 percent for his illustrious career, for comparison's sake. Dee Gordon is at 76 percent as a big leaguer so far. The legendary Mike Trout is at 84 percent...but he's Mike Trout. You get the idea. Peraza has some wheels. Thing is, aside from a good glove and a decent batting average, that might be about all you are getting if he winds up on your fake team in 2016.

Here is a table with Peraza's total minor league numbers on the first line, as well as his combined numbers from Triple-A ball in 2015, when he split time between the Gwinnett Braves and the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The 2015 year of AAA ball can give you an idea of what he can offer you in a full season. You'd obviously add 20-30 games and increase the counting statistics accordingly, but below can give you a general idea of the sort of player he is:

2011-2015 461 1839 281 556 9 183 96 207 210 49 .302 .342 .387 .729
2015 ONLY 118 481 63 141 4 42 17 45 33 7 .293 .316 .378 .694

And what you see is what you get. Peraza's OBP will be relatively close to his batting average until he learns (or decides) to draw more walks. This is something he can improve on, and hopefully that would push his OBP over the .330 mark instead of down around .315 or .320. More on-base opportunities obviously means more stolen bases.

Peraza does not hit for power and is not expected to do so at the next level. He is expected to hit for average and to run extremely well. So if you are looking for a cheap middle infield option who can easily swipe 40 bags, Peraza may be your guy. His experience to date shows that he could eventually be a plus in the batting average department and if he has a good spot in the batting order he should contribute in the runs category. But that is about all you get with this guy: stolen bases, average, and runs. Expecting anything else does not seem wise.

I personally like a little more balance from my fake team players. I prefer guys with pop and speed. But Peraza does project as a useful piece for the fake game as soon as 2016 if he can find a way to get some playing time. He will be especially helpful for those of you who stay active on the waiver wire throughout the season. Adding a guy who is elite in any category at any point in the season is always a nice boost--either to fill in a gap on your own team or to use as a bargaining chip. Remember, Peraza could carry second base, shortstop, and outfield eligibility depending on your league's settings and what the needs of the Reds are in 2016.

Steamer is skeptical of Peraza's chances in 2016, much like I am. I am of the opinion that Brandon Phillips is an ageless wonder, and like Bryan Price I do not view Phillips as a bench player just yet. Therefore, while "BP" is healthy, Peraza is out of work. Still, the Reds are in rebuilding mode and Zack Cozart is a .245 career hitter that is coming off of knee surgery. So Peraza may find a way to have a decent cup of coffee in the MLB before 2016 ends. Add him or stash him if you need the speed. Just don't expect anything in the power department. This brings us to fearless forecast time. Drumroll...

STEAMER 53 223 2 21 19 12 .275 .303 .368
YOURS TRULY 64 269 2 30 20 14 .279 .308 .371