2019 Stats: .275/.343/.461, 1.9 bWAR, 1.7 fWAR
2019 Salary: 7 million, arb-2
2020 Status: Arb-3 eligible
After a strong 2018 that saw him win the Silver Slugger and cement his role as the heart of the team, there was hope that David Peralta would build off that and pick up the mantle of leader and MVP that had been removed from Paul Goldschmidt with the trade last off season. However, the Fates had different ideas, and kept Peralta from breaking 100 games played.
At first, it looked like not only would Peralta match his previous season’s production, he might just surpass it. He put up a fantastic .317/.356/.537 slash line in April, in 29 games played, and kept it up through May. About halfway through the month, rumors started to swirl about his shoulder giving him issues, and on May 24th, he was placed on the 10-day IL.
That particular stint only lasted the minimum ten days, but it quickly became clear that it should have lasted longer. In June, the batting average plummeted to .240 for the month and even more damningly, the home runs almost dried up, with the Freight Train only going yard twice. July was a lost month, with Peralta going on the IL once again for shoulder inflammation.
He came back toward the end of July, but it was clear he probably shouldn’t have. There was no power, no average, nothing was working for him. By the end of the month, it was announced that he would be missing the rest of the season, with him and the team opting for him to undergo surgery on the problematic shoulder with an eye towards a healthy campaign. It was a disappointing end to a season that had started with such promise, but clearly the right call.
That seemed to be the end of the story for the Diamondback outfielder, but then October rolled around and the finalists for the Gold Glove awards was announced. There towards the bottom of the list were the National League left field nominations and Peralta’s name was included. I personally didn’t think anything of it, until a few weeks later it was announced that he won the award. That in and of itself was unexpected, but then he followed it up with winning the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year. A deeper dive by Mr. McLennan showed that maybe we’ve been missing just how much Peralta has improved over he past few seasons, and that we definitely missed just how much he had improved relative to the rest of the league. A poor offensive season overshadowed a very solid defensive season, and a round of applause to Peralta for the hard work he has put into that area.
Hopefully, the early trigger on ending Peralta’s season will mean he has plenty of time to recover and come back healthy next season. While Ketel Marte stepped up effortlessly to make his loss sting less, a strong Peralta would be huge for any playoff run this team hopes to make. There is a possibility of a trade, as he is entering his last season of team control. However, the market for an outfielder on the wrong side of thirty who spent most of the last season on the bench wouldn’t be that great, so I imagine we’ll see him starting in left field for the Dbacks come Opening Day.