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Mets Minor League Players of the Week: Week Twelve

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What minor league players put up the best numbers this past week, July 20th to July 25th?

Justin Lasko
Steve Sypa

Jose Peroza

Week: 6 G, 26 AB, .423/.464/.615, 11 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1/1 SB (Low-A)

2021 Season: 59 G, 207 AB, .275/.412/.420, 57 H, 13 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 40 BB, 60 K, 4/4 SB, .364 BABIP (Low-A)

Trained at Carlos Guillen’s academy in Venezuela, the Mets signed Jose Peroza to a $280,000 signing bonus on July 2, 2016, the first day of the 2016-2017 international free agent signing period, impressed by the raw power and arm strength that the 16-year-old possessed. Born on a farm outside of San Felipe in western Venezuela’s agriculturally rich Yaracuy region, Peroza was what you would ‘country strong’; fuerte de campo. With proper training, the organization hoped to harness that power an arm strength and develop other offensive and defensive tools around it.

Peroza made his professional debut in 2017 in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .291/.340/.417 in 62 games, and then was brought stateside and appeared in a few games at the end of the year for the GCL Mets. He spent the entire 2018 season with them, hitting a paltry .184/.253/.241 in 24 games. He began the 2019 season in the GCL, a third straight year that the young infielder was rostered in the Gulf Coast League but was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones at the end of July after hitting .328/.389/.766 in 16 games. In 33 games in the dog days of summer for the eventual 2019 New York-Penn League champions, Peroza was not nearly as successful, hitting .225/.295/.369 in 33 games thanks to a 47.2% ground ball rate. He would have likely been assigned to the Low-A Columbia Fireflies had there been a 2020 season and was assigned to Low-A St. Lucie in 2021 when minor league baseball resumed.

Listed at 6’1”, the 21-year-old is probably a few inches shorter; his listed weight of 220-pounds is probably accurate, though. Peroza is short, stocky, and big boned. He has a quiet set-up at the plate, with a wide base and his bat wrapped behind his head. He swings using a slight leg kick, with a swing that contains a bit of loft.

Peroza’s bat speed is average at best, but he is just a very strong human being and is capable of muscling pitches that he is able to his squarely, especially to his pull side. When he makes solid contact, Peroza can hit the ball a long way, as evidenced by exit velocities regularly in the high-90s or above 100; this past week, he averaged 86.9, with a maximum of 110.6 and low of 47.5- the ball traveled a total distance of 7 feet and Peroza was able to leg out an infield single on a play that Bradenton bungled.

The right-hander is walking at an unbelievable rate, doubling and even tripling the rates that he posted in previous seasons. While it remains to be seen if he will be able to maintain the .364 BABIP he is currently running- he is spraying line drives all over the field and is posting very favorable ground ball to fly ball rates, but is the kind of player that does not have the ability to log many hits if the ball is not in the air- his strong walk rate this season will allow him to continue being a positive contributor to the team if it falls.

Defensively, Peroza has a strong arm and is currently capable of playing third base, but his body will likely be a high maintenance one as he ages, meaning that he may lose mobility and range around the hot corner, limiting him to first.

As a 21-year-old who was signed out of Latin America and worked his way up from the Dominican Summer League, Low-A is age and talent appropriate for Jose Peroza. A player to be aware of but not exactly a bona fide prospect, the success he is having in 2021 if it continues may change the conversation around him going forward.

Justin Lasko

Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (High-A)

2021 Season: 13 G (11 GS), 76.0 IP, 54 H, 22 R, 22 ER (2.61 ERA), 13 BB, 77 K, .201 BABIP (Low-A/High-A)

The minor league pitcher of the week roughly one month ago, Justin Lasko has continued putting up solid numbers. Since that week, a week that saw him make two starts and allow two runs in twelve total innings, the right-hander has pitched a total of 30.1 innings and has allowed 8 earned runs on 22 hits, with 5 walks and 33 strikeouts. With a 2.59 ERA in 53.0 innings since being promoted to Brooklyn at the beginning of June, he has been the Cyclones most effective pitcher.

The right-hander turned 24 this past March, making him age appropriate for the newly configured High-A East, but it is beginning to look like he is talented enough to move on, at least on a statistical basis. His ERA is almost two earned runs lower than the 4.55 league average and the .204/.243/.358 slash line that he has held opposing batters to is far below the .239/.324/.403 league average. And, because this is Brooklyn we are talking about, he has been just as effective away as he has at home, posting a 2.97 ERA in 39.1 innings on the road as compared to the 2.21 ERA in 36.2 innings at Maimonides Park.

While the numbers look good enough, the stuff might fall short at Double-A. Lasko is more of a pitcher who is the sum of his total parts, as opposed to a pitcher who has a standout pitch or two. Generally speaking- at least in the past, prior to the 2020/2021 minor league shake up- Double-A has been where pitchers in that vein have been exposed. As former ESPN/Minor League Ball/The Athletic prospect analyst John Sickels once put it, “A typical Double-A hitter is less likely than his A-ball counterpart to chase junk pitches outside the strike zone. You’re more likely to find hitters capable of handling major league quality fastballs; there are fewer weak bats that you can just overpower. If your command isn’t sharp, or if you don’t have something to go with your fastball, those weaknesses will get exposed quickly in Double-A.”

In he end, we will only know if Lasko has the ability to survive at a higher level of the minor league ladder when he is actually promoted to a higher level of the minor league ladder. A 30th round draft pick, there certainly were not any high expectations for the right-hander when he was drafted out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2019, and I am in no way saying that we should develop any based on 76.0 solid innings in Low-A and High-A this season, but at certain point, you might as well see if the right-hander will sink or swim.

Players of the Week 2021

Week One (May 4-May 8): Francisco Alvarez/Tylor Megill

Week Two (May 9-May 15): Antoine Duplantis/Tylor Megill

Week Three (May 16-May 23): Francisco Alvarez/Franklin Parra

Week Four (May 24-May 30): Mason Williams/Franklyn Kilome

Week Five (June 1-June 6): Brett Baty/Alec Kisena

Week Six (June 8-June 13): Carlos Cortes/Josh Walker

Week Seven (June 15-June 20): Luke Ritter/ Justin Lasko

Week Eight (June 22-June 27): Mark Vientos/Oscar Rojas

Week Nine (June 29-July 4): Mark Vientos/David Griffin

Week Ten (July 6-July 11): Jaylen Palmer/J.T. Ginn

Week Eleven (July 13-July 18): Jaylen Palmer/Connor Grey