D-backs GM Hazen: David Peralta is just entering the prime of his career

Aug 22, 2018, 11:24 AM | Updated: 3:12 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta hits a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher David H...

Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta hits a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher David Hernandez in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Following a 3-for-3 night with three RBI, including a two-run homer in the first inning of Tuesday night’s 5-4 win over the Angels, Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen noted just how important David Peralta was to the team’s success.

“He’s one of the catalysts on our team. You could make the argument he’s been our MVP this year,” Hazen said Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf.

“His consistency offensively, what he does to our lineup, his passion and energy if you watch him in the dugout, if you watch him when we score runs, he’s the first one running out of the dugout, the way he plays defense; there’s just so much to like about him.”

Hazen believes Peralta, who is 31 years old, is just coming into the prime of his career after going through a position switch from pitcher to outfield in 2011.

“(He’s) probably a little bit of a late bloomer given where he started as a professional, probably missed a ton of developmental at-bats early in his career due to the position switch,” Hazen said. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.”

Tough schedule ahead

The D-backs will need Peralta to keep swinging a hot bat as they stare down the barrel of a difficult last month of the season.

Currently, the D-backs stand in first place in the NL West but their September schedule includes 10 games against current first place teams and 12 games against the division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.

“It is an interesting September having three non-divisional teams be three of the best teams in baseball — yes, I will grant you that. Here’s my response to that: In order for us to win this division, in order for us to do anything in the playoffs like we hope, you have to play good baseball,” Hazen said.

“Look, I’ll take our team against any team in baseball in a three-game series. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

NL waiver deals

Couple the tough schedule with recent waiver acquisitions for NL Wild Card competitors the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, and there is a lot for the D-backs front office to worry about.

But Hazen is doing his best to stay calm and not make any rash decisions with the roster in response.

“Emotionally yes, you’re watching what’s happening and see it and get that urge to say ‘OK, what’s next for us?’ But you have to take a step back and look at how that fit would be on your team,” Hazen said.

“I think these deals, as I said at the trade deadline, these are complex deals.”

Bullpen usage

As for the recent struggles of Archie Bradley, who has given up six earned runs in his last 10 innings pitched, Hazen referenced the amount of times the reliever has been needed out of the bullpen as he ranks third in the NL in appearances.

“I think relievers go through stretches where they get hit. Every reliever in baseball goes through those stretches, even the best closers in baseball have those moments,” Hazen said.

“(He) struggled a little bit with his command in Cincinnati and in San Diego,” Hazen said. “We have obviously used the back end of our bullpen a lot because we have been in a lot of games. That is the one, probably, negative of being in so many games, is you’re constantly using a portion of your bullpen instead of the whole thing.”

Of the relievers with the most appearances in the NL this season, four of the top seven are Diamondbacks.

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