Freddy Peralta is Turning Into the Ace the Brewers Needed

No longer living in Corbin Burnes' shadow, Freddy Peralta is finally turning himself into the ace the Milwaukee Brewers have needed.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 04: Freddy Peralta #51 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the Wild Card Series at American Family Field on October 04, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Brewers‘ offseason left many pundits thinking that the team was entering a rebuild, but the Brew Crew find themselves in a familiar place atop the NL Central, thanks in large part to ace Freddy Peralta.

These Brewers have enjoyed significant success for the past several seasons, winning the NL Central three of the last six seasons, and have been a regular participant in October, appearing in the postseason five of the last six years. The well-oiled winning machine was headlined by a three headed monster in the starting rotation with Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Peralta creating one of the most dominant trios of starters in baseball.

However, this past offseason saw the departure of Burnes to the Orioles via trade and Woodruff is out for the year. Another departure in the form of Craig Counsell going to the Cubs, and extension of Jackson Chourio before he ever played a game made it seem that the team was resigned to focus on the future at the expense of the present.

The team has gotten off to a hot start in 2024, though, and Peralta, as the last remaining workhorse from those dominant rotations, has been a massive part of the team’s success. Always viewed as the third member of the trio, Peralta’s start in 2024 has shown that he is more than capable of being a true, undisputed, number one.

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Freddy Peralta is Finally the Brewers’ Staff Ace

Thus far, Peralta has posted his best numbers since his 2021 All-Star campaign. His 4.22 K/BB is the best of his career, and his 3.04 FIP is his best mark as a starter. He is yet to lose a game, and his sub-1.000 WHIP shows that Peralta isn’t just dancing out of trouble, he is dominating lineups and keeping traffic off the basepaths.

The Milwaukee ace has done a good job limiting hard contact, as he has only allowed six extra base hits all season. He has also been the victim of some bad fly ball luck, as a higher percentage of his fly balls allowed have found the seats compared to the MLB average, and his HR/9, which is already below one, is likely to continue to fall.

The right handed Peralta has also posted a dominant reverse split this season, keeping lefties to a .133 batting average. This is not the result of a small sample size, either, as Peralta has actually faced more lefties than righties this season. He has held lefties to a .194 weighted on base percentage and a .217 slugging, giving up just eight hits all season to southpaws.

Peralta’s underlying numbers have been fantastic as well, as he is in the 90th percentile or better in K%, whiff %, and breaking ball run value. This is thanks in large part to his ability to tunnel his three pitch mix, with his fastball, slider, and changeup all playing off of each other extremely well.

Peralta’s slider and changeup have been particularly nasty this season, as hitters have an expected batting average of just .120 (slider) and .194 (changeup) against these pitches. The actual results have been even better, as Peralta is yet to surrender a hit off of his changeup, and opponents are hitting a paltry .065 off the slider.

Both of these pitches have above-average movement, with the slider having an extra 1.3 inches of horizontal break above average, and the changeup and extra 1.8 inches of horizontal break. Peralta’s fastball, too, has good movement, with an extra two inches of vertical movement compared to the average fastball.

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Whether or not the Brewers will be able to maintain position near the top of the division is still to be seen, as they are a young team that has already suffered a slew of injuries, but the Milwaukee faithful can take heart in the fact that their ace of the future is already here, and their starting rotation is in good hands with Freddy Peralta leading the way.