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SF Giants: The Arbitration Case for Wandy Peralta

Wandy Peralta #60 of the SF Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 21, 2020. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Wandy Peralta #60 of the SF Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 21, 2020. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Southpaw Wandy Peralta is eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career, but what are the odds that the SF Giants tender him a contract?

The SF Giants must decide whether to tender contracts to nine arbitration-eligible players prior to the December 2, 2020 deadline. After a slow start to the 2020 season, Peralta seems to have built a solid case.

Wandy Peralta before 2020

Before 2020, Peralta had spent much of his career as a middle reliever with the Cincinnati Reds. In over four seasons with the Reds, the 29-year-old posted a 5.00 ERA (5.03 FIP) with a 17.6 percent strikeout rate against an 11.3 percent walk rate.

Despite flashing a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90’s, it seemed like there was a gap between Peralta’s stuff and the results. On top of this, the left-handed hurler struggled with keeping the ball in the park while his home field was the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.

Of the 21 home runs he yielded with the Reds, 15 of them had been allowed at home. A change of scenery was needed

After struggling for the better part of his time with Cincinnati, the Reds decided to place him on waivers down the stretch in 2019. You have probably read this story before, but the Giants have been frequent users of the waiver wire since Farhan Zaidi took over as the president of baseball operations in November of 2019.

Never missing an opportunity to improve the roster around the margins, Zaidi put in a claim for the hard-throwing lefty.

In a very brief tryout, Peralta gave up two earned runs in 5.2 innings with the Giants in 2019, but that was enough for the Giants to tender him a contract for 2020.

Wandy Peralta with the SF Giants in 2020

Like many Giants relievers, Peralta got off to a slow start but improved as the season wore on. Perhaps, the improvement is a testament to the work the new Giants pitching coaches are putting in.

In his first 11 appearances, Peralta struggled to the tune of a 9.35 ERA with three home runs allowed. It looked like the struggles that haunted him in Cincinnati had made its way to San Francisco, and that the experiment should come to an end.

To the Giants credit, they remained confident in the veteran hurler. He finished the year with a 3.29 ERA (4.22 FIP) with a 21.9 percent strikeout rate against a 9.6 percent walk rate. On top of this, Peralta induced a ground ball in 45.9 percent of his batted ball events, so he mostly avoided hard contact.

With the Giants, Peralta has decreased his usage of the fastball, but the usage for both the slider and changeup have increased. Both of his offspeed pitches have become valuable pitches as hitters produced a .195 batting average and a .133 batting average against the changeup and slider, respectively.

Despite the velocity on his fastball, it is a pitch that gets hit hard with regularity. If the Giants can continue to develop Peralta to use the fastball to set up his slider and changeup, then they may be able to turn him into a leverage reliever.

Should the SF Giants Tender Wandy Peralta?

I do not envy teams for having to decide whether to tender players based on a small sample like the 2020 season, especially as it comes to relievers. The Giants only saw 27.1 innings from the veteran southpaw, but they have to decide on his 2021 contract soon.

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Given that his salary will be in the neighborhood of $1-$1.2 million, I do think Peralta built a solid case for himself. Left-handed hurlers who have a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s do not grow on trees, and Peralta, at times, has flashed the potential to become a medium-high leverage reliever. I do think the Giants will retain him for 2021.

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