Outfielder David Peralta (pictured), who wielded a potent bat at Wichita only four years ago and is already an established major leaguer, is getting rave praise from his Arizona Diamondbacks manager, and relief pitcher James Hoyt is receiving special attention from the Houston Astros even though he has yet to throw a single pitch in the majors. They were teammates for at time at Wichita during the 2012 season.
“I love the freight train, you kidding me?” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said in praising Peralta during an interview with KPNX-TV in Arizona. “I think David is going to be the guy this year that blossoms, like A.J. (Pollock) did last year.” Pollock led the D-Backs with 111 runs while hitting .315 with 65 extra-base hits and 76 runs batted in.
Peralta, 28, already had a sizeable impact in his second year with Arizona by hitting .312 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 17 homers and 78 RBI in 149 games. Now he is moving from left field to right, but that does not seem to bother the lefthander. “As long as I’m playing I don’t care, I’ll make an adjustment,” Peralta told the television station. “I played last year in left field, my first year I played right field, center field, left field, so it’s not going to be a big difference.”
Meanwhile, Houston manager A.J. Hinch is leaving little doubt that Hoyt is very much on his radar one year after he did not allow an earned run in nine Grapefruit League appearances then struck out 66 hitters in 49 innings while posting a 3.49 earned run average in 47 appearances with Triple-A Fresno during the regular season.
“I saw (Scott) Feldman and (Doug) Fister,” Hinch told The Houston Chronicle after a recent live batting practice session for the Astros at Kissimmee, Fla. “They kicked us off. Brad Peacock I spent a little time with. I think the most notable guy today that stood out today was Hoyt with his secondary stuff.
“I wanted to see James Hoyt. He’s coming to camp with really good form. He’s got a really good breaking ball, a really good split. His arm strength is up. He didn’t play as much winter ball. He had an exceptional second half at Triple-A. He’s very intriguing with how he can impact the hitter.”
The 28-year-old major league rookie, who spent two seasons in Independent leagues including a dozen games (2-0, one save, 2.61) at Wichita in ’12, also got a tutorial on the splitter, the newspaper reported, last week from longtime major league standout Roger Clemens.
Wichita also has two other pitchers in major league camps. Junior Guerra is with Milwaukee and Chris Smith with Oakland.
Fuenmayor, Roe in Major League News
Onetime Laredo corner infielder Balbino Fuenmayor, who later won Baseball America honors as Independent Player of the Year for a breakout season at Quebec in the Can-Am League, got in four innings for the World Champion Kansas City Royals in their very first spring training game. Coming back from a knee injury that sidelined him the second half of last season at Triple-A Omaha, Fuenmayor struck out and grounded out in his two plate appearances.
Another former Lemurs player, reliever Chaz Roe, took a comebacker off his hamstring in a recent workout with Baltimore, but MASN Sports said he should be ready to appear in a spring training game within a few days. Roe, 29, spent most of last season with the Orioles, posting a 4-2 record with a 4.14 ERA in 36 appearances.
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 own blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.