St. Louis Cardinals: 2017 Will be Johnny Peralta’s Year

2017 is the final year of the St. Louis Cardinals’ third baseman and this will make him perform better than years in the past.

The St. Louis Cardinals may soon face a dire need at third base. 2017 is the final year on Jhonny Peralta‘s contract and signs seem to indicate that this could be the final year for Johnny in the midwest city.

Much has been written by us here at Redbird Rants surrounding Peralta. This offseason, Peralta was discussed by us (and presumably by the St. Louis Cardinals organization) as a possible trade chip. Nothing came of this (at least not yet).

At other times, we here at Redbird Rants have urged that fans resist the urge to give up on Jhonny. And why should we? Peralta has proven himself to be a formidable foe. To exemplify this, simply look at his early years (top-five in short stops in his first two years). Even after sliding over to third, Peralta held his own.

Let’s take a moment to look at his offensive numbers:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Awards
2003 21 CLE 77 242 24 55 10 1 4 21 1 3 20 65 .227 .295 .326 .621 6/5
2004 22 CLE 8 25 2 6 1 0 0 2 0 1 3 6 .240 .321 .280 .601 /65
2005 23 CLE 141 504 82 147 35 4 24 78 0 2 58 128 .292 .366 .520 .885 *6
2006 24 CLE 149 569 84 146 28 3 13 68 0 1 56 152 .257 .323 .385 .708 *6/D
2007 25 CLE 152 574 87 155 27 1 21 72 4 4 61 146 .270 .341 .430 .771 *6
2008 26 CLE 154 605 104 167 42 4 23 89 3 1 48 126 .276 .331 .473 .804 *6/D5
2009 27 CLE 151 582 57 148 35 1 11 83 0 2 51 134 .254 .316 .375 .690 56/D
2010 28 TOT 148 551 60 137 30 2 15 81 1 0 53 103 .249 .311 .392 .703 56/D3
2010 28 CLE 91 334 37 82 23 2 7 43 1 0 32 69 .246 .308 .389 .698 5
2010 28 DET 57 217 23 55 7 0 8 38 0 0 21 34 .253 .314 .396 .710 6/5D3
2011 ★ 29 DET 146 525 68 157 25 3 21 86 0 2 40 95 .299 .345 .478 .824 *6/3 AS
2012 30 DET 150 531 58 127 32 3 13 63 1 2 49 105 .239 .305 .384 .689 *6/D
2013 ★ 31 DET 107 409 50 124 30 0 11 55 3 3 35 98 .303 .358 .457 .815 6/7 AS
2014 32 STL 157 560 61 147 38 0 21 75 3 2 58 112 .263 .336 .443 .779 *6/D MVP-14
2015 ★ 33 STL 155 579 64 159 26 1 17 71 1 4 50 111 .275 .334 .411 .745 *6/D AS
2016 34 STL 82 289 37 75 17 1 8 29 0 0 20 56 .260 .307 .408 .715 5/6D
14 Yrs 1777 6545 838 1750 376 24 202 873 17 27 602 1437 .267 .330 .425 .754
162 Game Avg. 162 597 76 160 34 2 18 80 2 2 55 131 .267 .330 .425 .754
CLE (8 yrs) 923 3435 477 906 201 16 103 456 9 14 329 826 .264 .329 .422 .751
DET (4 yrs) 460 1682 199 463 94 6 53 242 4 7 145 332 .275 .332 .433 .764
STL (3 yrs) 394 1428 162 381 81 2 46 175 4 6 128 279 .267 .330 .423 .753
AL (11 yrs) 1383 5117 676 1369 295 22 156 698 13 21 474 1158 .268 .330 .425 .755
NL (3 yrs) 394 1428 162 381 81 2 46 175 4 6 128 279 .267 .330 .423 .753
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/6/2017.

Notice that while there have been moments of regression, many of these related to injury, Peralta still commands an impressive career .267/.330/.425. While his 2016 numbers were down slightly- definitely due to injury and decreased playing time- we still see a .260/.307/.408 slash.

Have we all forgotten that Peralta was an all-star in 2015? Just look at those numbers! If 2015 reappears in 2017, won’t we all be thrilled to have him on the squad?

Let me jump to the chase: I believe that 2017 will be an amazing year for Peralta. From all indications (at least those that I can find), Peralta is not quite yet ready to retire from baseball. With this in mind, then, 2017 should be a season in which he proves that he still has gas in the tank.

Remind you of anyone? *cough *cough Matt Holliday. That’s who I’m reminded of in this whole scenario.

2016 was Holliday’s final season in his long contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his career with the Cardinals, Holliday had some outstanding seasons batting as high as .312 and generally hovering around .300. Despite slumping of late, most probably due to age and injury, Holliday spent his final season and posted a slash of .246/.322/.461.

Was this enough to show he had gas left in the tank? According to the New York Yankees it was as they awarded him a $13M, one-year contract to come serve as their backup left fielder and incumbent designated hitter. And this came from the slash of .246…

Imagine how much more money Peralta could command in 2018 if he simply maintains his 2016 numbers? True, the power displayed by Holliday is greater than that of Peralta, and true that Holliday is probably a better DH than Peralta, but still we can only imagine the impact a good 2017 could have for Peralta’s future.

That thinking in mind, then, I predict that Peralta will outperform any anticipations we slap on him at this point. My prediction? I believe that we could well see Peralta post a slash of .265/.330/.450. I believe that it would behoove Peralta to post a strong slugging number to secure a Holliday-like post after 2017.

All of this, of course, is contingent upon him staying healthy. All of that, of course, is contingent upon him conditioning his aging body for the grind. Can it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Let’s all hope it does!

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If it does, should we send him off from the St. Louis Cardinals with similar fanfare to that bestowed upon Holliday? I know I will be one who will cheer for this to be the case. Stay with us at Redbird Rants as the season progresses to see just how well Peralta fulfills these expectations.

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