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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN Blog 2014 Top Story #6: Peralta’s Positives

Last November, the St. Louis Cardinals shocked fans and Major League Baseball as a whole when they announced the signing of free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53 million contract. The 32-year-old was fresh off a 50-game PED-related suspension and many did not like the association, especially one so lucrative. Others were convinced his future production would suffer.

To replace weak-hitting Pete Kozma, the Cardinals had felt the need to act quickly and decisively to add the best shortstop then on the market – despite Peralta’s obvious warts.

To his credit, the Dominican native demonstrated throughout the 2014 season that he was all that he was expected to be and more. The Cardinals’ leader in extra-base hits – including both doubles and home runs – as well as two-out RBI and Wins Above Replacement was not Allen Craig. It was not any of the Matts – Adams, Carpenter or even Holliday – either.

It was the previously-maligned Peralta, who answered the bell for 157 of 162 regular-season games and both played solid defense and consistently hit the baseball.

His 21 home runs is the highest single-season total in franchise history by a shortstop and was not a fluke. 2014 was his fifth career 20 home run season.

Peralta’s team-leading 38 doubles ranked in a tie for seventh among all National League hitters regardless of position. It was his highest two-base hit total since he had 42 with Cleveland in 2008.

Offering an important right-handed bat in a lineup loaded with lefties, Peralta batted everywhere from second to seventh, but most often was fifth. He delivered plenty of key hits, placing in the top 10 in the Senior Circuit with his 31 two-out RBI. His overall total of 75 runs batted in was second on the team behind Holliday.

Defensively, Peralta is more steady than spectacular, but that matters over the course of a long season. The Dominican Republic native came in third among all MLB shortstops in defensive runs saved with 17. (Click here to read more about this stat.)

Following the season, he was the lone Cardinal named to the Sporting News 2014 National League All-Star Team.

In the Wins Above Replacement measure according to Fangraphs, Peralta topped all Cardinals players at 5.4, even ahead of ace Adam Wainwright at 4.5. Holliday and Carpenter were next among position players at a distant 3.8.

During the post-season, Peralta joined heart-of-the-order batters Holliday and Yadier Molina in a major funk. In the nine games, the shortstop went just 5-for-31 (.161) with one double and one RBI.

It was a disappointing conclusion to a solid first season as a Cardinal for Peralta.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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15 Responses to “TCN Blog 2014 Top Story #6: Peralta’s Positives”

  1. blingboy says:

    When the shortstop leads the team in homers, you have a problem at the 4 corner positions. This season, our second baseman should give him a run for his money. Gad.

    • crdswmn says:

      The problem is continuing to believe home runs are the most important part of an offensive game.

      The Steroid Era has been over for 10 years. It’s not coming back. Run scoring in many different ways is where it’s at in modern baseball. If you continue to hope for 30-40 HR players, you are going to be perennially disappointed.

      • blingboy says:

        I am sure you are aware that shortstops have rarely led their team in homers in any era. Steroids or not, the body type appropriate for the corner positions should lend itself to more power than the body type suitable for a middle infielder. The inescapable conclusion to be reached is that we have a wimpy collection of corners.

        • crdswmn says:

          So? What does it matter? You aren’t going to get the numbers of home runs you want from anywhere.

          • blingboy says:

            28 teams seem to have had less of a problem.

            • crdswmn says:

              That’s the tack you want to take? Really? 3 of the top 5 HR teams were the Cubs, the Astros, and the Rockies. Fat lot all of those HRs did any of them. The Royals, one of the World Series teams, was dead last. The World Series winner was 17th.

              If you would rather have lots of HRs rather than lots of wins, i’m sure the Cubs, Astros or Rockies would welcome your fandom. 😉

              • crdswmn says:

                BTW, the team that won 3 of the last 5 World Series, the Giants, ranks 27th in HRs during that same time period.

                The team that ranks 1st during that same the Blue Jays, a team that hasn’t smelled the post season in 21 years. That’s the longest postseason drought in baseball.

                    • Nutlaw says:

                      Right. So seeing that even the teams with the most HR hit one every 30 PA, it’s not crazy to think that they aren’t the most overwhelming offensive stat. ESPN says that the average MLB team hits 140 HR and scores 659 runs, so those other 79% of runs have to start somewhere else.

                      Mind you, bb, that ball park effects play heavily into HR numbers. Maybe the Cardinals are only 29th in HRs offensively, but only five teams gave up fewer HRs last year as well.


                    • blingboy says:

                      Nut, I think my point has become obscured. My main point is not the total numbers of homers, which I agree could be affected by park factors. My point is that our shortstop outsluggs our corners. Park factors would not play a part there, as all would be affected.

                      The total numbers of homers came into it by way of crdswmns point that this is the post-roid era and big homer numbers are a relic of the past. My counter was that, roids or no, the body type fitting for the corners should out-homer the body type fitting for middle infield.

                      Since our 4 corner guys are quite possibly going to be outslugged by both of our middle infielders this coming season, by conclusion is that we have a wimpy collection of corners.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      No, the conclusions of your point should be “who cares?”. Do home runs hit by middle infielders count less than home runs hit by corner players? Isn’t the whole point of baseball to score runs and win games? I swear, bling, you are beginning to sound like Mike Matheny, with that rigid, formulaic approach. If the Cardinals win 100 games, does it matter how the runs were scored? 100 games won with 20% home runs, count the same as games won with 50% home runs.

                      I wouldn’t care if we got 20 home runs from the freaking pitcher.

                • blingboy says:

                  It will take me a while to grasp that homers don’t matter. Like wins, I suppose.

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