On May 13th, 2018, Freddy Peralta made his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Less than a month later, his younger brother Luis would make his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
The elder Peralta joined the Milwaukee rotation full-time in 2021, pitching his way to an All-Star season that saw him put up a 2.81 ERA and a 195:56 K/BB ratio in 144.1 innings.
Luis, meanwhile, made the jump to the United States in 2021, pitching as a starter for the Pirates in the FCL. After putting up a 3.41 ERA and a 36:18 K/BB ratio in 29 innings, the Pirates moved Peralta up to Bradenton’s rotation for the 2022 season.
Luis Peralta gets lost in this farm system. He gets lost to the point that being the younger brother of a big league starter and throwing five perfect innings with ten strikeouts to start his season makes him just one of the many interesting prospects to discuss, even if we exclude the top 30 prospects that have fueled this farm system to be graded as one of the best in the majors.
Peralta showed why you shouldn’t sleep on him in his first start of the season last Wednesday. The 5′ 11″ left-hander struck out seven in four shutout innings, giving up no hits and walking two. Peralta generated 13 swinging strikes out of his 56 pitches, for an impressive 23.2% rate.
A lot of those swinging strikes were on check swings, with hitters having difficulty distinguishing between Peralta’s fastball and curveball. The fastball is delivered from a short arm delivery, and has some arm-side run, cutting away from right-handers at the last second. The curveball comes out looking like the fastball, only to take a quick dip the opposite direction of the fastball. Here’s a look at two of Peralta’s early strikeouts — one against a lefty and one against a righty — to see that there’s a lot to like about him.
#Pirates LHP Luis Peralta, younger brother of Freddy Peralta, threw four no-hit innings last week, striking out 7 with 13 total swinging strikes (23.2%). He was 91-94, touching 95 with his fastball, pairing that with a big breaking curve in the mid-70s that got 4 Ks on the day. pic.twitter.com/Be6Ac7emAq
— Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsP2) April 18, 2022
Peralta was sitting 91-94 with his fastball, but had better control in the lower-end of the range. His curveball lacked command at times, and benefitted from some bad swings, including one lefty batter who bailed early at what looked like a fastball, only to offer a defensive swing against a high, inside curve.
Peralta started off with 17 strikes in 23 pitches over the first two innings. He dealt with control problems in the final two frames, with 16 strikes in 33 pitches. Still, he was able to make it out without any damage, and the video below is an example of how he did that.
Here's another look at Luis Peralta getting his final strikeout of his first start of the year. Great throw down to second for the double play by #Pirates catcher Wyatt Hendrie, who also showed good receiving skills and movement behind the plate the whole outing. pic.twitter.com/0xqGBde53X
— Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsP2) April 18, 2022
Peralta’s stuff is good enough at this point that he can get away with a curveball that has inconsistent command, or momentary lapses in command that take him from an 0-2 count to a seven pitch strikeout. He didn’t allow much contact, with eight foul balls and only four balls in play.
As he moves up, Peralta will need to refine his command and carry his control deeper into games. This year will give him a lot of experience pitching in a full-season rotation. He’s got the stuff to eventually reach the majors as a lefty reliever if he improves his curveball command.
Don’t rule out a chance at him following his older brother’s footsteps and pitching in an MLB rotation one day. As deep as the Pirates’ system is, they’re giving Luis Peralta a shot in a full-season rotation, and his first outing shows that this is on his own merit.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.