Detroit Tigers: The pitch that has saved Wily Peralta’s career

Sep 19, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Wily Peralta (58) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Wily Peralta (58) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /
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One of the best Detroit Tigers off-season signings was a minor one in Wily Peralta but he has paid off big time in the second half of the season.

The Dominican Winter League is an opportunity for any major league to get a chance to do several things. One, for a young player, to work on their skills during the winter, and two, a chance for a veteran to catch on to a team come spring training and showcase what they have.  In this case for the Detroit Tigers pitcher Wily Peralta, it was a chance to showcase his skills.

As the Freep highlighted back in February, Wily’s bench coach was Brayan Pena, the manager of the High-A West Michigan Whitecaps, who along with a few scouts, recommended the right-hander.

After some issues with his visa, one of our sources down in Lakeland told us that he was throwing around 95 MPH, which was near his average of 96 MPH back in 2018. His four-seamer was his bread and butter pitch since his days as a Milwaukee Brewer and his brief time in Kansas City. His other pitch mix includes sinker, slider, curveball, and a changeup.

The pitch mix in 2021 has changed slightly as he has abandoned his curve for what older Detroit Tigers fans remember from former pitching coach Roger Craig and that is his split-finger pitcher, which is new to his rapport.

Wily Peralta has the 3rd best splitter in the league and the 38th best pitch overall.

According to Baseball Savant, Wily Peralta’s splitter has been one of the best individual pitches in the majors this year, good for a -13 run value. That ranks 3rd among all splitters, behind only Kevin Gausman and Shohei Ohtani.

And Peralta has accumulated that value with relatively little usage — just 295 pitches. His splitter is the only offering to be worth -13 runs in under 300 pitches, and it joins Jacob deGrom’s slider (409), Ohtani’s splitter (334), and Ryan Pressley’s slider (322) as the only offerings to reach -13 in fewer than 500 pitches.

Peralta’s splitter has the lowest batting average against (.060) of any pitch thrown at least 250 times this year.

Here it is in action yesterday against Tampa.

He has thrown it 295 times and it is 0.3 vs the league average. The numbers that stand out the most? It is his go-to pitch in which batters are batting just .060 against it and generating a whiff rate of 37.9% The expected batting average against that split-finger? .132 and teams are slugging just hit .120 against it.

The exit velocity against the pitch is just 80.2 MPH, the lowest among all his pitches. Whether is it tinkering with it in the off-season or working with pitching coach Chris Fetter,  it is a big reason why the Tigers have been able to win against first-place teams in September.

Next. Early September Tigers Notes: Alex Lange is unleashing this pitch more.. dark

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