There may not have been a more disappointing player to watch on this year’s Cincinnati Reds team than José Peraza. What grade does Peraza deserve this year?
Wow! I can’t believe I’m typing this, but there may not have been a more disappointing performance from a Reds player this season that what we saw from José Peraza. While there are several theories as to why one of the more promising players in the Cincinnati Reds organization failed to perform this season, there’s no denying Peraza’s 2019 season was one to forget.
Pegged as the team’s starting shortstop heading to Goodyear, Arizona before the season began, things quickly changed for José Peraza once Scooter Gennett suffered a groin injury near the end of spring training. Peraza was replaced by José Iglesias at shortstop and the 25-year-old returned to a spot with which he was quite familiar, second base.
Peraza originally played second base when he first made his Reds debut back in 2016. Peraza played 77 games at the position in 2017, including 69 starts, but the superior play of Gennett forced Peraza to take over for Zack Cozart at shortstop the following season.
In 2018, Peraza looked like a sure-fire candidate to be the Cincinnati Reds shortstop of the future. With very few options in the minor leagues, combined with Peraza’s .288 batting average in 2018, it appeared as though Cincinnati was comfortable with Peraza manning the shortstop position for years to come. After all, he led the team in hits (182) and smacked 14 home runs in just his second full season in the bigs.
Well, the promise that Peraza showed all came tumbling down this season. Whether it was the inconsistent at-bats, shuffling of the batting order, struggling to adjust to a new position, or something entirely different, José Peraza had an absolutely horrendous season in 2019. Slashing just .242/.287/.348, Peraza looked like a shell of the player he was in 2018.
Peraza’s poor play to start the 2019 season relegated him to a bench bat and defensive replacement, while the likes of Iglesias, Derek Dietrich, Josh VanMeter and Freddy Galvis found favor David Bell and took away playing time from Peraza. Peraza’s struggles were so bad, he was even optioned to Triple-A Louisville near the end of August.
It is impossible to look at what José Peraza put together this season and see it as anything other than a major disappointment. While the middle infield looks like a jumbled mess heading into the offseason, I’d be shocked if Peraza was still on the team heading into spring training next year.
Peraza earned $2.78M this season, and with him being eligible for arbitration, the shortstop will definitely receive a bump in pay should the Reds enter that process. With players like VanMeter, Alex Blandino and even Christian Colón on the roster, I suspect Peraza will be non-tender this winter.
What an unfortunate set of circumstances for a player with such potential. There’s an outside chance the Cincinnati Reds front office and coaching staff could be seeing something that the fans do not, but even if you squint hard enough, it’s obvious that José Peraza should not be part of the team’s future.