The 2014 season hasn’t gone according to plan for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The campaign has been littered with injuries, surgeries and losses, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a silver lining.
Enter David Peralta, a 26-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who has capitalized on his opportunity to play for the D-backs.
Tuesday night, Peralta became just the fifth player in franchise history to have two triples in one game. In his first 40 big league games, he’s hitting .329 (49-for-149) with three home runs and 18 RBI. The early performance has definitely caught the eye of Arizona general manager Kevin Towers.
“I’m surprised (his story) isn’t getting more national attention,” Towers told Doug and Wolf Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “It’s amazing. I’m still learning (about him). I just learned the other day on our postgame radio show that he was out of baseball for three or four years and he didn’t know what he was going to do, and with his dad in Venezuela, he decided he was going to get his body in shape and be a hitter all of a sudden.”
Peralta signed as a 16-year-old amateur free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004 as a pitcher. He’d go on to pitch only 18 games in the Cardinals organization, never rising above Rookie League status. By 2008, he was out of baseball.
In 2011, Peralta surfaced as a 23-year-old outfielder playing for the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, an independent minor league team based in Harlingen, Texas. He clubbed 17 home runs and drove in 81 while hitting a robust .392 that season. Peralta would also play in independent leagues in Wichita in 2012 and Amarillo in the first part of 2013 before the Diamondbacks found him and assigned him to their High-A California League affiliate in Visalia, where hit hit .346 in 51 games.
He started this year at Double-A Mobile, where he batted .297 in 53 games before getting the call-up from the injury-ravaged Diamondbacks June 1. .
“It wasn’t like he was facing great competition in the Frontier League or the Texas-Louisiana League that he was in,” Towers said. “But to really be in professional baseball as a hitter for less than two years, and to be in the big leagues and to put up the type of numbers he is — he’s a good player.
“He runs the bases well, he’s got some speed, he can play all three outfield positions, he’s got some thump in his bat, he’s very confident.”
Since Peralta’s arrival, the D-backs have been respectable, posting a 21-21 mark.