David Peralta had a very good rookie season in 2014, defined largely by how well he performed against right-handed pitchers.
The converted pitcher had a .312/.342/.506 line against righties while hitting all eight of his home runs and driving in 32 runs in 253 at-bats.
Like a lot of young left-handed hitters, Peralta struggled against southpaws. Granted he only got 76 at-bats against lefties in 2014, putting up a slash line of .197/.247/.263 with only four extra-base hits.
An injury to Ender Inciarte opened up more playing time for Peralta, and the 28-year-old Venezuelan is seeing more pitches from left-handers. He’s taking advantage.
Monday night, against Los Angeles Dodgers lefty reliever Adam Liberatore, Peralta connected on a two-run triple that that tied the game in the seventh inning. Arizona went on to win the game 10-6.
His manager has noticed the changes.
“I think just getting an opportunity and just telling him ‘hey, you’re going to face everybody,’ he’s settled down against the lefties,” Chip Hale told Burns and Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I never worried that he wasn’t going to be able to at least compete against lefties. The problem was, for his playing time, was that Inciarte started off so hot against lefties. It was hard not to put him in there.
“So that really hurt Peralta’s time early. I think it’s great, what he’s done and it gives me confidence to start him against lefties even when Ender comes back.”
To Hale’s point, Inciarte was hitting .254 (18-for-71) against lefties before his injury. It might not be long before the first-year skipper has a decision to make about playing time when his team faces a left-hander. It figures to be a nice problem to have.
“Ender, I think we’ll see him after the All-Star break, to be conservative,” he said. “I think we’ll get him running this week, live batting practice off a pitcher down with the Rookie League kids and then get him a week of games which would probably put him at the end of the All-Star break.”
Inciarte hasn’t played since June 15, when he injured his hamstring in a game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Diamondbacks will resume play following the All-Star break when they host the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series at Chase Field starting Friday, July 17.