St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta received strong praise from Fox Sports-Detroit’s Rod Allen during the telecast against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
“He does not have the same type of range as some of your more athletic shortstops,” began Allen, who was paired with Dan McLaughlin on the broadcast as FSN has paired many of their broadcasters from the opponents markets to provide a mixed commentary for their viewers.
“But a game on the line, you need one out to get—I want the ball hit to Jhonny Peralta. That’s how fond I am of his glove work at that position and his arm is awfully accurate. He’s a really good shortstop.”
Before you finish chuckling, let’s take a look at some defensive rankings courtesy of FanGraphs.com. Their Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is a statistic that puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess. Double-plays, range, and errors all factor into this calculation.
+15 on this scale is Gold Glove caliber, +10 great, and +5 above average.
Over the last three seasons at shortstop, Peralta has graded out at +10.3 (’11), +11.5 (’12), and +3.5 (’13).
By comparison, Elvis Andrus was +7.5 (’11), +8.3 (’12), and +4.6 (’13).
Stephen Drew +4.3 (’11), -7.0 (’12), and +5.3 (’13)
Pete Kozma +2.6 (’12) and +6.7 (’13)
No one will argue that Peralta is a modern-day version of Ozzie Smith, but it does lend some perspective as to what he brings to the field.
“He’s a quality kid,” Allen later added. “Obviously, he made some mistakes which led to the 50-game suspension last year but the Tigers thought so much of Peralta they brought him back for the post season. He was one of the Tigers more productive hitters in the post season—even though he missed 50 games and he’s just a really good kid. “
Having seen so many American League games as a broadcaster for Detroit, Allen was also asked his opinion of new Cardinals outfielder Peter Bourjos.
“He’s a tremendous defender,” offered Allen. “This guy can run down anything in centerfield. He’s also a true base stealer. He’s one of the fastest players in the game. The only question for him has been his health the last few years playing for the Angels and his ability to hit. If he hits, there’s no question this guy has the ability to win a Gold Glove in centerfield—he’s that good.”
Allen is a former ML outfielder who appeared in parts of three seasons with Seattle, Detroit, and Cleveland during the 1980s.