John Fay: More time in the minors would be a waste of time for Reds' Jose Peraza

CINCINNATI -- One of the things the Reds have to decide this offseason is what to do with Jose Peraza.

Surely, they’ll play him from the start. If they don’t, the notion that they’re serious about rebuilding is fallacy.

The question is where?

Peraza has played second base, shortstop, left field and center field in his stints with the Reds. He’s played all fairly well.

But what he’s done with the bat is what secured him a spot in the lineup. Peraza went 4-for-5 Wednesday in the Reds’ 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. Noah Syndergaard, one of hardest throwing starters in baseball, started the game for the Mets.

Peraza was the home team highlight reel on an otherwise ugly, ugly day. He dropped a perfect bunt for one hit and rocketed a ball off the wall in left field for another.

Peraza’s average stands at .347, his on-base percentage at .376.

“He’s done a super job,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “And he’s done it against tough pitching. He brings energy. He’s aggressive on the bases. He’s a guy who can bunt for a base hit. He can do a lot of things."

Peraza puts the the bat on the ball. His strikeout rate of 12.7 percent would be among the top 20 in the majors if he had enough at-bats to qualify. (His walk rate of 2.6 percent could use a little work).

And Peraza can run. His speed rates a 70 on the scouting scale. Billy Hamilton is one of the few players in baseball who get a top mark of 80.

Peraza, obtained in the three-team Todd Frazier trade for Los Angeles, probably deserved to make the club out of spring training. But there was nowhere for him to play.

That’s still true.

Peraza will get regular at-bats down the stretch with Billy Hamilton hurt. But Hamilton is unlikely to be going anywhere for next season. Adam Duvall has proven himself in left.  

That means the Reds have to move either Zack Cozart or Brandon Phillips in the offseason to open a spot for Peraza. Cozart is his last year of arbitration. Phillips is in his last year of his contract.

Some scouts see Peraza as a better fit at second than shortstop. The Reds also have to find a spot for Dilson Herrera, the second baseman obtained in the Jay Bruce deal, and Alfredo Rodriguez, the Cuban shortstop they signed for $7 million.

Both of them have to prove they’re every day big leaguers. Peraza has done that. More time in the minors would be a waste time for him.

“This guy certainly looks like he’s capable of being a regular, everyday player,” Price said. “Now, it’s a matter of finding his best spot and where he best serves the team. He can serve our team in a lot of different ways." 

The question of where he hits is simpler: First or second. I like the idea of him hitting behind Hamilton because he puts in the ball in play. When you put it in play with Hamilton on base, good things happen.

But Pereza gets on base more often than Hamilton. So there’s that.

The prospect of Hamilton and Peraza hitting in front of Joey Votto, no matter the order, is an exciting from a fans’ perspective. 

Now, the Reds just have to find a spot for Peraza to play.

John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion. Contact him at johnfayman@aol.com.

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