There is a pitcher named Wandy Peralta. You’re familiar with the name Wandy, and you’re familiar with the name Peralta, but chances are you aren’t familiar with a name that combines the two. That’s okay. Most of you aren’t Reds fans. This guy pitches for the Reds, and, just to jump ahead to the point — one thing that’s sexy that pitchers do is miss bats. Another thing that’s sexy that pitchers do is work fast. The two generally don’t go hand in hand. There’s a variety of reasons for that. Anyway, this year, 342 pitchers have thrown at least 10 innings. Here are all of them.
On the x-axis: pace
On the y-axis: swinging-strike rate
Highlighted in red: Peralta
Out of those 342 pitchers, Peralta ranks first in pace. And, out of those 342 pitchers, Peralta ranks first in whiff rate. I’m not going to claim that this will continue. I don’t know what Peralta’s going to do from this point forward. But, last year, in a brief cup of coffee, he also worked fast. That just seems to be a part of his game. And the whiffs? Well, Peralta’s gotten better. This is a guy who keeps his fastball in the mid-90s. His preferred secondary pitch had long been a changeup. Now he has a changeup *and* a slider, and a fastball he still throws. Peralta is a reliever who consistently throws three pitches. Think he’s gotten better about locating? Here’s where his pitches have gone.
Peralta wasn’t good in his debut. Missed a lot to his arm side. So far he’s been able to mostly live down. You’d be hard-pressed to find two more different heat maps, and now it’s time for more visuals! Here’s Wandy Peralta throwing a dynamite changeup.
Here’s Wandy Peralta throwing a hilarious slider.
Peralta has thrown 56 sliders. Out of 234 pitchers who have thrown at least 25 sliders, Peralta ranks seventh in swinging-strike rate. Peralta has also thrown 37 changeups. Out of 176 pitchers who have thrown at least 25 changeups, Peralta ranks first in swinging-strike rate. When Peralta’s thrown a slider, it’s gotten a whiff nearly a third of the time. When Peralta’s thrown a changeup, it’s gotten a whiff nearly half of the time. Mid-90s fastball. These pitches. A faster pace than any other pitcher.
When one thinks about the Reds pitching staff, so much focus ends up on Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen. They deserve it! So does Peralta. I loved him before this little InstaGraphs post. You probably love him now, after.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.
I now do! Especially love the way he walks off the mound like a boss.
I love the batter’s body language after that slider swing. Bewilderment. Where did that ball go, did it go up there?
And was the horizontal movement as wild as it looks?