With speedy centerfielder Billy Hamilton headed to the 7-day bereavement list, the Cincinnati Reds have called up top-prospect Jose Peraza.
Originally a shortstop, Peraza's defense isn't considered his strong suit and he has been converted into a second baseman largely. His speed is his most valuable tool according to scouts, making him a wise fill-in with Hamilton out.
Ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Reds system prior to this season by MLB.com, Peraza was a key piece in the Todd Frazier deal. The 22-year old is slashing .295/.341/.393 at Triple-A Louisville this season. If his on-base numbers continue at that rate, Peraza could definitely remain with the big club for the remainder of the season. Despite being known for his speed, he his 6-for-11 in stolen base attempts so far this season.
#Reds place OF Billy Hamilton on bereavement list, call up Jose Peraza. @ZachENQ will have more from the park later— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) May 13, 2016
During his first and only stint so far in the majors back with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Peraza struck out twice and stole three bases in 25 plate appearances. While he didn't hit especially well, the sample size was small and Peraza put plenty into play.
Brandon Phillips currently patrols second base, and Zack Cozart is at shortstop, presenting somewhat of an obstacle for Peraza to get starting playing time. With Hamilton gone, the thing the Reds need most is help in the outfield. Peraza has played some outfield, but he's believed to be more valuable as a middle infielder.
Instead of Phillips or Cozart losing some playing time, perhaps Bryan Price would elect to try Peraza in left field and cut some of Adam Duvall's playing time. That being said, Duvall has been borderline indispensable for the Reds so far this season. He is hitting 12 percent better than the league average by wRC+ with six home runs.
Wherever Price winds up using Peraza defensively, his name could appear on the top of the Reds' lineup card very shortly.