StaTuesday: Freddy Peralta’s magnificent Brewers debut

Milwaukee Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta‘s debut had all the makings of a run-of-the-mill spot start.

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The undersized right-hander is just 21 years old, playing in his first Triple-A season and was with Single-A Carolina a year ago.

Peralta had earned some acclaim since joining the Brewers as part of the Adam Lind trade in 2015 — he was the organization’s Pitcher of the Month last August — and entered his first major-league start as Milwaukee’s ninth-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline.

He got the call Saturday, just before he was set to start for Triple-A Colorado Springs, when Brewers starter Chase Anderson went down with an illness.

But with his family in the stands, Peralta turned in a debut for the ages, racking up 13 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Manager Craig Counsell laughed when asked if the Brewers will give the rookie another look.

“I think we’ll be able to find … room for one, yeah,” Counsell said. “He was just magnificent.”

Indeed.

Peralta is just the fifth player all-time to rack up at least 13 strikeouts in his major-league debut, and came up just two Ks short of leaders J.R. Richard and Karl Spooner. He’s just the second Brewers pitcher to have more than 10 Ks in Game 1, breaking a record set by Steve Woodard, who had 12 against Toronto on July 28, 1997.

Player Date Team Opp App, Dec IP H R BB K
J.R. Richard 9/5/1971 HOU SFG CG, W 9 7 3 3 15
Karl Spooner 9/22/1954 BRO NYG SHO, W 9 3 0 3 15
Stephen Strasburg 6/8/2010 WSN PIT GS-7, W 7 4 2 0 14
Freddy Peralta 5/13/2018 MIL COL GS-6, W 5.2 1 0 2 13
Cliff Melton 4/25/1937 NYG BSN CG, L 9 6 3 2 13
Steve Woodard 7/28/1997 MIL TOR GS-8, W 8 1 0 1 12
Juan Marichal 7/19/1960 SFG PHI SHO, W 9 1 0 1 12
Elmer Myers 10/6/1915 PHA WSH SHO, W 9 2 0 5 12
Matt Harvey 7/26/2012 NYM ARI GS-6, W 5.1 3 0 3 11
Tim Hudson 6/8/1999 OAK SDP GS-5 5 7 3 4 11
Don Aase 7/26/1977 BOS MIL CG, W 9 9 3 2 11
Bob Shirley 4/10/1977 SDP CIN GS-9, W 8.2 4 4 4 11
Luis Tiant 7/19/1964 CLE NYY SHO, W 9 4 0 4 11
Danny McDevitt 6/17/1957 BRO CIN CG, W 9 7 2 5 11
Dick Hall 7/24/1955 PIT CHC CG, W 9 9 5 1 11
Thomas Diamond 8/3/2010 CHC MIL GS-6, L 6 7 3 3 10
Johnny Cueto 4/3/2008 CIN ARI GS-7, W 7 1 1 0 10
Daisuke Matsuzaka 4/5/2007 BOS KCR GS-7, W 7 6 1 1 10
Aaron Harang 5/25/2002 OAK TBD GS-7, W 7 3 0 3 10
Mark Prior 5/22/2002 CHC PIT GS-6, W 6 4 2 2 10
Kazuhisa Ishii 4/6/2002 LAD COL GS-6, W 5.2 2 0 3 10
Tim Wakefield 7/31/1992 PIT STL CG, W 9 6 2 5 10
Pedro Astacio 7/3/1992 LAD PHI SHO, W 9 3 0 4 10
Rudy May 4/18/1965 CAL DET GS-9 9 1 1 5 10
Dave Morehead 4/13/1963 BOS WSA SHO, W 9 5 0 4 10
Marty McHale 9/28/1910 BOS CLE CG, L 8 10 4 3 10

Only four pitchers in franchise history have managed more than 13 strikeouts in any game, while Peralta’s debut was just the 13th time a Brewers pitcher has had 13 or more.

Player Date Opp App, Dec IP H R BB K
Ben Sheets 5/16/04 ATL CG, W 9 3 1 1 18
Mike Fiers 8/14/14 CHC GS-6, W 6 3 0 1 14
Yovani Gallardo 7/15/12 PIT GS-7, W 7 4 1 0 14
Moose Haas 4/12/78 NYY CG, W 9 5 3 3 14
Freddy Peralta 5/13/18 COL GS-6, W 5.2 1 0 2 13
Wily Peralta 9/27/14 CHC GS-7, W 7 5 1 1 13
Yovani Gallardo 9/17/11 CIN GS-6, W 6 2 1 2 13
Dave Bush 7/10/08 COL GS-8, W 8 3 1 0 13
Ben Sheets 8/12/04 ATL CG(8), L 8 7 4 2 13
Jason Bere 6/29/00 PHI GS-8, W 8 6 3 2 13
Teddy Higuera 6/28/87 TOR GS-7, W 7 9 4 1 13
Teddy Higuera 5/19/87 CHW CG, L 9 8 5 1 13
Teddy Higuera 8/24/86 KCR GS-10 10 7 2 3 13

Still, his magnificent debut wasn’t entirely without precedent.

Peralta was sharp in his most recent Triple-A start, fanning eight and allowing just two hits in five innings, and has shined at every level as a pro. He made his full-season debut in 2016, breaking out last year in stints with Single-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi, finishing with a combined 2.63 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 25 appearances.

He made the jump to Triple-A earlier this year and immediately impressed, pitching 10 shutout innings across his first two starts and allowing just four hits. The only outlier — a three 2/3-inning, 91-pitch dud in late April — was quickly corrected. Peralta allowed five hits and three runs in his next start, then turned in that eight-strikeout performance before joining the Brewers.

Statistics courtesy of MiLB and Baseball reference