With at least one hit in his last 11 games and five homers in his last eight games, Jhonny Peralta has gone from fantasy castoff to fantasy gold. Peralta is hitting .305/.363/.519 on the year and he’s SS/3B eligible. Can 2011 be his best season since 2005?
There are two trends in particular that show how Peralta is making some tremendous adjustments at the plate. After holding a strikeout rate of over 20 percent in every season from 2003 to 2009, Peralta took a more contact oriented approach last season. In 2010, he dropped his strikeout rate to 18.7 percent. His current 2011 strikeout rate is 15.3 percent. Since the start of 2010, Peralta has also increased his contact rate and this season he’s making contact on pitches inside the strike-zone over 90 percent of the time. While he might not hit over .300 — he’s never hit over .300 and his career AVG is .265 — there is a good chance that the improved contact rates, combined with the power, will lead to a .275-.285 AVG at the very least.
Peralta’s current power surge is sure to tail off at least a bit, but there are reasons to believe that he can hit around 15 more bombs this season. In his six full major league seasons, Peralta has hit 20 or more home runs three times. His current 11.5 percent HR/FB rate isn’t exactly out of line, as he has held HR/FB rates of 14 and 13 percent within the last four seasons. He has also increased his fly ball rate last season, a trend that has continued to this point in 2011. With a current .ISO of .214 and speed score of 3.8, Peralta is looking like a rejuvenated player at the still young age of 29 — he’ll be 29 on May 28th.
While there might be a little bit of room to sell high given his current power binge, if you managed to snag Jhonny off of waivers, you may have just found yourself a season-long value.