A win for David Peralta would be extraordinary in terms of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ overall success. It could give them a remarkable four of the six Player of the Month honors given out over the last year. The run started with J.D. Martinez last September, continued when A.J. Pollock took the honor for April, and then Paul Goldschmidt won the award in June, with one of the best months in franchise history. Even winning three over any 12-month period is an uncommon feat for a team. The Nationals did it in 2016-17, and the Dodgers in 2014-15, but four appears to be unprecedented in the NL. [The Yankees have done it on a couple of occasions in 2005-07]
Peralta has certainly had a monumental August. No game probably highlighted this more than against the Phillies on the 6th (above). David first homered in the ninth to help force extra innings, then added a walk-off blast in the fourteenth inning. It was his third multi-homer game of the year, and the resulting Win Probability of +57.7% was the highest this season by a Diamondbacks hitter. It was part of a week (Aug 2-8) where Peralta had a trio of four-hit games, batting .545 (18-for-33) with three home-runs, and a 1.529 OPS. If that spell had not run from Thursday through the next Wednesday, I feel sure he’d have been the NL Player of the Week.
Going into tonight’s last game, in Los Angeles, he has hit .376 with 10 home-runs and 21 RBI, giving him a line for the month of .376/.426/.763. The resulting 1.189 OPS is the best for August, not just on the D-backs or even the National League, but the best in the majors, surpassing... yep, Martinez, now with Boston, by six points. Justin Turner of the Dodgers has the highest OPS in the NL, at 1.173, so this one will be decided by who does better in tonight’s game between Arizona and Los Angeles in Chavez Ravine. The top five are rounded out by Ronald Acuna (1.097), Ryan Zimmerman (1.093) and Anthony Rizzo (1.076), with Paul Goldschmidt just behind (1.071).
Here are the stats for the top 10 in the NL (min 50 PA):
NL Player of the month by OPS
As Baseball-Reference.com noted, this month is among the best by OPS in franchise history. It isn’t quite the best this season, currently falling slightly behind Goldy’s resurrection in June, though that too will depend on what Peralta does this evening.
David Peralta's August is the 6th best month, by OPS, in @Dbacks history https://t.co/VRzeDcnSab pic.twitter.com/xMc6rXQkw8— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) August 31, 2018
I think it will likely come down to Peralta, Turner and Acuña for the honor. I have a feeling it may end up going to Acuna. This would be both in recognition of his remarkable run of homers, including leading off both halves of a double-header on August 14, and a bit of a sympathy vote, given his subsequent plunking by Jose Ureña. That caused quite the furore over baseball’s unwritten rules, and awarding Acuña Player of the Month might be seen as compensation for being “too good”. It’s a powerful narrative, to be sure. But Peralta has hit the same number of home-runs, in nineteen fewer at-bats, and has a clear numerical advantage over Acuña in each component of the triple-slash line.
Even if he doesn’t win, there’s no doubt that Peralta has been the MVP of August for the Diamondbacks. Indeed, with his OPS for the season now sitting at .901, that’s only thirty-five points behind Goldschmidt. It’s also 105 points better than Peralta posted last season, with the Freight Train having already smashed his career high for home-runs by nine, with a month of the season left to go. He’s certainly a candidate for Breakout Player of the Year, and especially if the D-backs hold on down the stretch, you could make a valid argument for him appearing on a few NL MVP ballots. Not bad for a failed pitcher, eh? :)