Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila are both coming off career seasons. While Avila’s career is just getting started, Peralta has put together a nine-year career.
Last season Peralta hit .299, over 30 points above his career average. One major change was his strikeout total. From 2005-2009, he averaged 137 strikeouts a season, but that number dropped to 85 last season and 103 the year before. That is a promising trend that helps give hope that he can repeat last year’s performance.
With his strikeouts decreasing, he still was able to maintain his power, hitting 21 home runs. It is rare for a player this far into their career to make such a leap. Ideally, the change of teams midway through 2010 when he joined to Tigers is what helped. If so, then he should be able to maintain this new level of performance this season.
In Avila’s case he is still a young player. 2011 was only his second full season with the team. In 2010, he hit only .228, but that jumped to .295 last season. His numbers across the board improved as he hit 31 homers, 33 doubles and 82 RBI. The only worrisome number was his 132 strikeouts.
What was truly amazing was his workhorse mentality. The team went most of the second half of the season with no other catcher, meaning Avila played almost every day. He was able to maintain his batting while playing such a grueling position.
This year the team hopes to be able to give him more breaks behind the plate. Having a catcher that can hit as well as he did last year is a huge boost to the team. If he can repeat this performance, the lineup will be even more potent.