Last Saturday night, I took in a very nice game at Louisville Slugger Field where the Bats won 2-0 on a walk off homer in the 11th. After the game, I was fortunate enough to speak to Jose Peraza for a few minutes (thanks to the Bats org for providing RN with press access this season). Peraza speaks very little English and his translator was Hernan Iribarren. Because of the nature of the translated interview, I’m not going to give a pure transcription since Hernan started most of his translations with “What he is saying, more or less, is…” Anyway, here’s what I learned from Peraza.
First, I asked a very broad question about whether there was anything he thought Reds fans should know about him. I was told he is very quiet and easy to miss. That is, he’s not going to be an outgoing guy in the clubhouse, but he is, of course, going to play.
My next question was about his plate approach. I noted that his walks are up this year and that when I’ve watched him play, he has seemed to be a more patient hitter than I expected to see. I asked is this was a conscious change in approach or if we’d been misinformed. He said – quite encouragingly – that it is a conscious choice. He is trying hard “not to swing at everything.” Given the results he’s seen at AAA, that’s something we can all be encouraged by.
I also asked him about his position. He’s officially listed as a second baseman but spends almost all his time playing short for the Bats. On this particular night, he had a put out and 12 (yes, really) assists. While he’s no Cozart, he has always looked very smooth and polished at short to me. He told me, surprisingly, that the Reds had not spoken to him about their plans for him longterm. He said he thinks he might play second in the majors and he’s fine with that, but he’s also happy at short.
Last, I addressed the concerns with the Reds poor bullpen performance and asked how his curveball was. The quote (through Iribarren): “Anything to help at the majors.”
Overall, Peraza seemed quite personable and, boy is he young. If he can post anything like the .291/.336/.390 line he’s putting up in Louisville, he’ll be a serious asset to the Reds for a long time.