Detroit Tigers year in review: Wily Peralta, the unsung hero

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 01: Wily Peralta #58 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch during the first inning in the game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 01: Wily Peralta #58 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch during the first inning in the game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Wily Peralta was an afterthought signing this offseason but quickly became a reliable arm in the Detroit Tigers rotation

There were boundless concerns for pitchers heading into the 2021 season league-wide; particularly with starters. Due to a shortened 2020 season, many teams had to get creative about their approach to their rotation this year. For the Detroit Tigers, there were starters like Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull that had significantly reduced innings, but there were also pitchers who didn’t pitch at all in 2020 aside from possibly some alternate site scrimmage work (think Matt Manning).

This made depth signings like the minor league contract the Detroit Tigers made with Wily Peralta an integral part of the offseason. Peralta likely would have seen some time regardless, considering the limitations with innings for Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize, but lengthy injuries to Spencer Turnbull and Matthew Boyd made for a longer stay and Peralta came as one of the biggest, yet quietest, surprises for the 2021 Detroit Tigers.

Who is Wily Peralta?

Peralta got his career started in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. His first year stateside was 2006 in rookie ball as a 17-year-old, and would eventually work his way through the minors before debuting in 2012 as a 23-year-old for the Brewers. Peralta found himself in the 50-70 range on Top 100 Prospect lists between 2012-2013 from the likes of MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus. Across the minors, Peralta has thrown 744 innings and logged a 4.05 career ERA over 189 games, including 125 starts.

Peralta certainly earned his promotion in 2021; starting six games for the Toledo Mud Hens and logging a 2.75 ERA while averaging over a strikeout per inning before getting his call to The Show.

Wily Peralta in 2021

Following his stay down south, Peralta found himself making 19 appearances (18 starts) with the Detroit Tigers; pitching to a 3.07 ERA and supplying 2.0 bWAR, perhaps making him the season savior that bridged the gap between injuries (Turnbull, Boyd Urena, Teheran) and inning limits (Skubal, Mize). The reason for improvement comes thanks largely to a newfound splitter, which co-site expert Rogelio Castillo outlined nicely in a piece

here

.

His peripherals do imply some luck, however. He supplied a 4.94 FIP and only averaged 5.6 strikeouts per nine innings while in the big leagues, which are both worse than his career averages from 2012-2019. He’s in the

third percentile in strikeout percentage

among his peers and 17th percentile in whiff rate as well, according to Statcast.

Wily Peralta’s 2021 Stats

Wily Peralta’s Future

While Wily Peralta was a godsend for an ailing Detroit Tigers club, the organization should be skeptical in penciling him in for a starting rotation slot in 2022. He’s a free agent this winter entering his age-33 season and has lacked the track record to suggest his 2021 performance is sustainable.

At the same time, he played his role perfectly this season and considering what the club has on the farm for starters, I’d have no problem if they re-upped with him on a minor league deal to essentially play the same part next season.

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