The Boston Red Sox will begin their 2020 season Friday evening and expect Jose Peraza to be a big part of the team’s plans over the upcoming 60 games.
Peraza more or less was brought in to fill the utility role left behind by Brock Holt, and now he projects to be the Red Sox’s Opening Day second baseman, pushing Michael Chavis into a platoon role on the right side of the infield.
Defense long has been Peraza’s calling card, but manager Ron Roenicke, who was peripherally familiar with Peraza half a decade ago, believes the utilityman has gotten even better with the glove. Further, the 26-year-old has elevated his offensive ability, even from spring training to summer camp.
“I was a little familiar with him a few years ago when he was with the Dodgers in 2015. And what I’ve seen from that point on until now — he probably ran better back there — but beside that, he’s so solid on defense now,” Roenicke said over Zoom Wednesday before the Red Sox’s final exhibition game. “He’s confident, his arm is strong but it’s also really accurate. He turns double plays fantastic. Confidence-wise, I don’t care if we have him at second, short, or third, I really feel good with this guy defensively. I didn’t know he was that good defensively.
“Offensively he was a guy that just hit the ball line drives to right, he’d get on base and steal bases, but right now I see this guy that has power, he’ll hit balls in the gaps, he’ll hit homers, but he’s got a different load going that the rhythm is really good. So I’m looking forward to seeing this guy. In the first camp I didn’t really see this good from him. I saw the defense, but I didn’t see the offense from him, and right now I’m seeing great offense from him also.”
Peraza finished last season with the Cincinnati Reds batting .239 over 141 games. He hit .288 in 157 games a year prior, and over his five-year big league career, he’s appeared at every position except first base and catcher.