2018 Royals Season Preview – Wily Peralta

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 09: Wily Peralta
MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 09: Wily Peralta /

Being a lifelong Brewer is no longer a reality for Wily Peralta. Being a lifelong starting pitcher also doesn’t seem to be in the cards anymore for the veteran. After struggling to adjust to a bullpen role in 2017, no one is sure what the future holds for the 28-year-old right-hander.  Will Royals fans see this poor play become a trend, or can Peralta regain his confidence in 2018?

If you haven’t read my Kings of Kauffman season preview for Brian Flynn, I highly recommend it. Brian is a player looking to regain some confidence after a rough 2017, much like Wily Peralta. Coming up in Milwaukee’s system and pitching there his entire career, Peralta has racked up 47 wins and 52 losses with a career ERA of 4.48. Those numbers are somewhat respectable but don’t do much justice for Peralta’s 2014 season, in which he went 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA and pitched nearly 200 innings. This provided lots of hope for his career, but it didn’t prove to become a trend.

The aforementioned numbers catch your eye and indicate what Peralta is capable of when he’s at his best. The only issue is, we haven’t seen his best since then. In the three years since his breakthrough 2014 campaign, Peralta has posted a 17-25 record with ERA’s of 4.72, 4.86 and 7.85 respectively. On a cheap one-year, $1.5 million contract, he’ll be looking to return to being a solid contributor in 2018 but this time, it’ll be on a different team.

What did he offer last season?

2017 was easily the worst year of Wily Peralta’s career. He appeared in 19 games (eight starts) for the Brewers last season. All eight of those starts took place before his move to the bullpen. As a starter, Peralta went 4-2 (a very deceiving figure) with a whopping 6.08 ERA and 32 strikeouts in just 40 innings pitched. It was quite evident that things were not going as planned. Noticing an issue that remaining in the rotation wouldn’t fix, the Brewers sent their right-hander to the bullpen in mid-May.

The bleeding didn’t stop when Peralta began making appearances in relief, as he surrendered 23 runs in just 17.1 innings of work, resulting in an astronomical ERA of 12.1. With a season ERA of 7.85, it was evident that 2017 was not Peralta’s year. A promising statistic is 4.86 – the previous career high ERA for the seventh-year pitcher. Seeing a 5-4 record on the season is nice but other than that, nothing Peralta did last year left fans with any hope for a great 2018.

What can we expect in 2018?

Let’s start off with this:

This quote from Dayton Moore is very intriguing and makes it difficult to project just how many innings Peralta will pitch this season. If a starting pitcher is traded or suffers an injury, Peralta may be one of the first players to get a crack at being a replacement. He could even spot start throughout the season as needed. Evidently, Steamer didn’t take that into consideration. Check out their projections below:

  • 45 appearances (all in relief)
  • 45 innings pitched
  • 4.36 ERA
  • 37 K

I find it very hard to believe Peralta will make all 45 of his appearances in relief. Considering he’s coming off a rough year and his potential offerings as a starter, I’m going to take the under on appearances. I think 45 innings is just about right. I think the ERA will improve significantly and be much lower than the 7.85 figure it was a year ago, but not quite low enough to reach 4.36. I’m taking over, although somewhere under 5.00 is certainly attainable. Peralta has never been one to strike batters out but did average over a strikeout per inning out of the bullpen last year. Regardless, I’ll take a bit under 37.

The verdict

This year is a big one for Wily Peralta. If he can’t rebound from a horrific 2017 campaign, it may be the end of the line for him in the majors. Putting together a decent season will quiet many of his doubters. He couldn’t have signed with a better team than Kansas City. With the Royals, Peralta will have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth out of the bullpen. There may even be a few starts with his name on them this season. It’ll definitely be interesting to watch his role with the team change (if it does at all) throughout 2018.

What do you think, Royals fans? Will we see the 2014 Wily Peralta this year? Are his best days behind him? Should he be starting, or is the bullpen a good place for him? Let us know what YOU think!