Ofelky Peralta began his second season in the Orioles system looking to shed the "project" label. At 18-years-old for 2016's first pitch, Peralta worked the entire season, collecting 23 outings for the Shorebirds.
First, here are Peralta's full season numbers:
8-5, 4.01 ERA in 23 starts, 103.1 IP, 87 H, 60 BB, 101 K, 0.60 GO/AO
First, the positives...
For a kid who isn't yet in his 20s, allowing just 87 hits in 103.1 innings is a heck of a number. The South Atlantic League is no joke, full of plenty of top prospects across the Shorebirds schedule. Peralta consistently avoided bats and received rave reviews from the folks in Delmarva, a nice start to his full-season career.
Of course, 101 strikeouts in just over 100 innings is also quite a welcomed number. He's a hard-throwing prospect with, according to many reports, a whole lot of life to his arsenal. That certainly bodes well for his future as he rises.
Peralta's splits between right and left-handed hitters were consistent, allowing a .225 and .237 average against, respectively. The right-hander picked up 68 of his strikeouts against righties on the year.
The youngster tossed a rain-shortened no-hitter in July, a month in which he earned Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month. In four July starts, he went 4-0, putting up a 2.57 ERA paired with a .116 average against.
Unfortunately, the year didn't go by without a few negatives to recap.
First, the disappointing trend of Peralta's command issues continued to creep on the scene in 2016. The 6'5" power-arm really struggled to keep free passes to a minimum, a major contributing factor to the 1.42 season WHIP. With 16 less hits than innings pitched, you'd expect that number to be around 1.05-1.15. Unfortunately, ERA rose due to not throwing enough strikes.
Oddly, Peralta's GO/AO was at 0.60, which can be translated to mean his ability to induce grounders was weak in 2016. Now, GO/AO is an inexact science, a statistic able to be compiled via a box score. It's odd, too, because Peralta allowed just three home runs on the season. However, it is something to note as he progresses through the system.
Below, a string of tweets from Mitchell Northam, who covers the Shorebirds for The Daily Times in Salisbury:
Interesting stuff there from Northam, who followed Peralta throughout the season.
All in all, Peralta's future in the Orioles system is one we'll all want to watch a bit closer in the next two or three seasons. He looks the part and appears to have the physical tools to make a splash wherever he goes.
The most important aspect of his game - command. If he finds a way to pound the strike zone, big things are ahead for the teenager.