Cincinnati Reds: José Peraza needs a tune-up in the minor leagues

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds runs the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Great American Ball Park on September 26, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds runs the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Great American Ball Park on September 26, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

José Peraza had a great season last year for the Cincinnati Reds. This year, however, has been a struggle and Peraza needs to be sent down to Triple-A in order to resolve these issues.

Since José Peraza was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015, he has had his ups and downs. In 2016, his first season with the Reds, Peraza made a great first impression by hitting  for a .324 average in 72 games. He’s had his struggles so far in 2019, and with Scooter Gennett’s return imminent, Peraza should head to Triple-A to get his game back on track.

In 2017, he started the year at second baseman, trying to replace the recently traded Brandon Phillips. However, the waiver claim of Scooter Gennett, who had a great season, ultimately took Peraza’s spot in the every day lineup. Peraza only hit .259 for the season with a .297 on-base percentage.

Last season, Peraza took over at shortstop for free agent Zack Cozart. He started out slow at the beginning of the season, but finished strong with a .288 average, a .326 on-base percentage and a career-high in both home runs (14) and RBIs (58).

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This season, José Peraza came into 2019 as the starting shortstop. However, with the injury to Gennett late in Spring Training, the Cincinnati Reds decided to move Peraza to second base and let José Iglesias play his natural position of shortstop.

Fans thought this would just be temporary until Scooter returned, expecting Peraza to take off this season as one of the biggest bright spots on the Reds. However, Iglesias has played great defense and continues to hit better than almost anyone on the team. Iglesias has all but locked up the every day starting shortstop position and may have a contract extension in his future.

Second base, the position Peraza was to fill in until Scooter returned, has largely been taken over by other players as well. The emergence of Derek Dietrich as a key part of this offense has allowed the former Miami Marlin to get the bulk of the playing time at second base especially against right-handed starting pitchers. Against left-handed starters, Kyle Farmer has largely split time with Peraza of late.

So, José Peraza, who was a starter for all last season, has become a bench/utility player. He fills in at shortstop, second base, left field, and center field. His playing time has decreased and it will probably decrease even more when Scooter returns, which could be later this week.

With the hot bats of Iglesias and Dietrich, combined the amazing versatility and power of Farmer, it looks like Peraza could be the odd-man out when Gennett returns from his groin injury. Peraza has struggled mightily hitting this season, and while it may be a blow to his ego, it may help the young infielder down the road.

Peraza has just hit .221 with an on-base percentage of .270 this season. He’s had his fair share of struggles on defense this year as well. While José Iglesias’ wizardry at shortstop will make even the best in the game look like a below-average fielder, Peraza has struggled to get in front of the ball when playing the infield and could use some refinement with his defensive skills in the outfield as well.

When David Bell has put Peraza in left or center field, in an attempt to get him more playing time, he has had his troubles and hasn’t adjusted to being an outfielder. A trip to Triple-A Louisville may be a good idea so that Peraza can get back to hitting and fielding like the player fans saw last season.

José Peraza needs to play everyday. If Peraza is indeed the Cincinnati Reds shortstop of the future, he needs to continue developing and needs consistent reps playing the position. The ideal thing to do would be to have him play shortstop every day at Triple A Louisville where the Bats best option is Blake Trehan.

But, the question has to be asked, if Peraza is sent to Triple-A, who would backup Iglesias at shortstop? If the roster stays the same when Scooter gets back, Kyle Farmer can be your backup shortstop.

Now, he hasn’t played any shortstop at the big league level during the regular season. but did play some during his time in the minor leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers and during Spring Training this season. Plus, if needed, Eugenio Suárez, can probably play there if an injury occurs or of unique circumstances come along in a game.

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José Peraza has certainly had his ups and downs since he became a Cincinnati Red. At this time, he needs to resolve his hitting struggles and to get more consistent playing time. A demotion to the minor leagues won’t be permanent for Peraza and he would be back this season. He currently is a big part of the Reds future and a demotion like this wouldn’t change that.