FROM AMERICAN ASSOCIATION TO STARRING AS MLB CLEANUP HITTER IN ONLY TWO YEARS

FROM AMERICAN ASSOCIATION TO STARRING AS MLB CLEANUP HITTER IN ONLY TWO YEARS

By Bob Wirz

When former Independent Baseball players now in the major leagues are discussed there is a pretty good chance it will be a story about pitching. David Peralta is an exception, and a very big one at that.

The second-year major leaguer, who was making it tough on American Association hurlers as recently as two years ago, has moved from part-time outfield status with the Arizona Diamondbacks to being their regular cleanup hitter and protection for budding star Paul Goldschmidt.

“He has improved so much as a hitter this season with his approach,” Manager Chip Hale told ArizonaSports.com, praising Peralta’s work ethic and willingness to tweak his swing. Coaches “(Turner) Ward and (Mark) Grace have worked extremely hard with him.

“If you remember earlier in the year, his power was to the pool side and now you are seeing it more to the center and left field. He is realizing how pitchers are attacking him with what they are going to come after him with after they walk Goldy. They are not going to just lay one in there for him, so he has had to shorten his swing and try to do less with the ball, which in turn has made his bat extremely quick and the ball is jumping off his bat.”

The left-handed hitter, who put up a .332 average in a full season with Wichita in ’12 and hit .352 in 42 games with Amarillo the next season before Arizona bought his contract, has hit .339 in 55 games in the cleanup slot this season and .306 in 108 games overall along with 22 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs and 64 driven in. He has been even more sizzling hot of late and among all National League batting leaders with a grand slam, a .440 average in August with 16 runs batted in for only 15 games while compiling a .482 on-base percentage.

The Next Wave of American Association Grads

Another group of former American Association players has been moving up the affiliated baseball ladder with shortstop Justin Toole (Sioux City) and catcher J. T. Wise (Wichita) among those promoted to within one level of the majors. Wise has hit .256 in 43 games since reaching Triple-A with Texas (Round Rock) while Toole is at .276 in nine games at that level for Cleveland (Columbus).

Shortstop K.C. Serna (Amarillo) and right-handed pitcher Kenn Kasparek (Fargo) have bounced between Classes AA and AAA for Philadelphia and Baltimore, respectively.

Top Two Clubs at Brilliant .763 Pace

Sioux City’s sizzling Explorers are now dead even with fast-starting St. Paul for the best record in the league. Both have exceptional 61-19 (.763) records with 20 games to play.

Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.