Tony La Russa did not want to single out any one player as someone who has surprised him this season.
“Singling out is really unhealthy because there’s a lot of guys,” the Diamondbacks chief baseball officer told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday morning.
The way La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, sees it, there are a lot of players on the team who warrant praise and also, admitting surprise over a player’s performance would be doing a disservice to the organization’s scouting.
After all, if they did not expect a good player to be good, then what are they doing?
Yet, that does not mean he has not been impressed by any of the team’s players this season, and one that stands out to him is David Peralta.
“I think the fact that you give him the assignment to hit behind Goldy and he produces as just a clutch, clutch guy, and the way he does it,” La Russa said.
Of Peralta’s 459 at-bats this season, 286 of them have come in the cleanup spot, which would normally place him right behind the D-backs’ All-Star first baseman. He has batted .343 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI when batting fourth in the lineup.
But it’s not just the stats that stand out to La Russa.
“He is as intense every minute of every game that he’s in, in every facet of it, as anybody I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I put him with the best I’ve ever seen for not taking any pitch off, and I include guys like Paul Goldschmidt, so I think he deserves several gold stars.”
Overall, the 28-year-old outfielder has had a breakout 2015, hitting .307 with 17 home runs and 77 RBI in a full-time role.