Scouting Report for Atlanta Braves' Prospect in the 2014 Futures Game
For most fans, this is the first glimpse they'll get of a top prospect in their team's farm system who they may have only read about.
Jason Heyward, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran are past Futures players to appear for the Atlanta Braves. This year, they will send only Jose Peraza now that Christian Bethancourt is filling in for the injured Evan Gattis.
Here's what you'll need to know about Peraza as he readies for Sunday's game.
Weight: 165 lbs
The Braves signed the middle infielder out of Venezuela when he was just 16 years old. He started out his minor league career playing mostly shortstop but has since made the transition to second base.
In 2011, Peraza played 66 games in the Dominican Summer League, and he spent all of 2012 in the rookie league between the Danville and GCL Braves. He spent 2013 with Single-A Rome.
Peraza played 58 games in High-A Lynchburg to begin 2014 and was promoted to Double-A Mississippi June 19.
In its 2014 prospect watch, MLB.com rated Peraza as the No. 3 prospect in the Braves organization.
Peraza is a right-handed contact hitter with elite speed and minimal power. In his minor league career, he has hit .303 with a .351 on-base percentage. He has 154 strikeouts in 1,386 plate appearances (11.1 K%) and has 159 steals while being caught just 37 times.
Peraza also has just five career home runs.
His recent promotion to Double-A has not slowed him down. In 17 games for Mississippi, he is hitting .342 with an .849 OPS and seven stolen bases. His strikeout percentage is down slightly from his career mark at 8.6 percent.
He notched his second four-hit game of the season July 8, including two doubles, a stolen base and an RBI.
Peraza shows promise as a contact hitter and a get-on-base player who puts pressure on the defense with his great speed.
Braves fans should not fret over Peraza's recent move from shortstop to second base. The move does not speak to his defense; rather, the Braves have committed long term to Andrelton Simmons at shortstop.
In fact, Peraza is a smooth and natural fielder. His hands and quick feet help make him above-average with the glove, and his aforementioned speed allows him to cover a lot of ground up the middle.
His time playing shortstop should give him an excellent feel for the game as a second baseman.
Peraza projects to be a top-of-the-order hitter with his high contact and base-stealing abilities. The Braves have sorely missed a true leadoff hitter in 2014, and it's a major reason why the offense has been so inconsistent.
There's no denying that Peraza looks like a future leadoff hitter and could be the first the organization has developed since Rafael Furcal.
A current MLB player I'd compare him to is Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, he's still just 20 years old, so I'd project his earliest arrival to be the end of the 2015 season in a September call-up. The Braves may be tempted to rush him slightly with their leadoff woes, but that's generally not how they operate.
Look for 2016 to be the season in which Peraza makes a strong push to the MLB.