Many of the Reds' hitters provided a profit in 2017, but Jose Peraza was a stark exception to the list. After hitting .324 with 21 stolen bases over the second half of 2016, many were brimming with anticipation of a 40-plus stolen base season following the Brandon Phillips trade, but Peraza failed to produce. He hit just .259/.297/.324 with 23 stolen bases and lost his full-time second base job to Scooter Gennett. Peraza hit marginally better in the second half of the season (.268/.333/.305) and maintained his shortstop eligibility, but all-in-all this was a disappointing season. He's expected to take over the starting shortstop duties for the Reds in 2018, with Zack Cozart joining the Angels in free agency, but the pressure will be on him to produce right away with Nick Senzel rapidly approaching. His development at shortstop and at the plate this offseason was halted early after he left his Venezuelan Winter League team for personal reasons.
Peraza, who is currently atop the depth chart at shortstop for the Reds, worked on improving his approach at the plate throughout the offseason and spring, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. "I want to take more pitches. I'm focused on being more selective," Peraza said. "I don't want to chase pitches out of the strike zone. That's what I've been working on right now. When the season starts, the on-base percentage has to be better. I'm focused on that and getting on base more too." In order to keep the starting job at shortstop, Peraza will need to become a more consistent hitter in 2018. That will include getting on base at a higher clip, which would allow him to take advantage of his speed on a regular basis. The Reds have top prospect Nick Senzel taking a lot of reps at shortstop this spring, which may only leave Peraza with a few months to prove that he can hit enough to stick as a regular.
Peraza will start Friday's Cactus League opener against the Indians, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. Peraza was forced to leave the Venezuelan winter league due to personal reasons, but it appears like he's ready to go heading into spring games with the Reds. In 2017, Peraza slashed .259/.297/.324 with five home runs, 37 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 143 games.
Peraza left the Venezuelan winter league for personal reasons Sunday, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. At this point in time, there's no information regarding whether Peraza will return to winter ball. Peraza had played in nine games thus far. In that time, he went 12-for-38 (.316) and posted a .350 on-base percentage.
Peraza is playing winter ball in Venezuela and hoping to play a lot at shortstop, in anticipation of Zack Cozart leaving via free agency this offseason, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports. Peraza is also working on being more selective at the plate, something he was more successful doing after losing his starting job to Scooter Gennett last year.
Peraza went 1-for-4 with a home run, a stolen base, two RBI and two runs scored in Wednesday's win over Milwaukee. It was his first homer since July 4. The 23-year-old has endured a tough season and he continues to play on a part-time basis, but Peraza has been more patient at the dish in the second half, drawing 13 walks after managing just five prior to the All-Star break. He's also been getting the green light on the basepaths again lately -- Peraza has four steals in his last seven games.
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