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'A Great Addition to Our Bullpen': Yankees Excited About Reliever Wandy Peralta

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Saying goodbye to an asset like Mike Tauchman is never easy. 

The outfielder was two seasons removed from an incredible performance in 2019, proving that with playing time, he could contribute at the big-league level.

That said, the Yankees' coaching staff is really happy about left-hander Wandy Peralta, the pitcher New York got back in Tuesday's trade with the Giants.

"We're excited about Peralta," manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday after New York's 5-1 victory over the Orioles. "We think he can be an important member of our bullpen."

Peralta is currently pitching in his sixth big-league season, posting a 4.72 ERA over 220 appearances. He had played for San Francisco since 2019, spending his first three-plus years in the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds. 

The 29-year-old's numbers don't jump off the screen—195 hits, 158 strikeouts and a 1.490 WHIP over 192.2 career innings—but he's coming off one of the best seasons of his career.

In 27.1 innings pitched, the southpaw posted the lowest ERA he's ever had in a single season (3.29) while setting a new personal-best with an 8.2 strikeout-per-nine ratio. 

Asked about the newest weapon in New York's star-studded pitching staff, bullpen coach Mike Harkey raved about Peralta's potential to contribute in pressure-filled spots late in games.

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"This is a guy that has has some plus stuff and I think it's gonna be a great addition to our bullpen," Harkey said on Wednesday afternoon. "We have a lot of guys down there that can do a lot of different things. I think what he brings to us is just someone else who can pitch in some high-leverage situations and not allow us to overuse a lot of the same guys over and over."

As Harkey alluded to with his "plus stuff," Peralta's numbers on Statcast are very promising. The lefty has an average exit velocity of 84.5 mph through eight appearances in 2021. That's in the league's 92nd percentile. His Chase Rate is also elite, getting opposing hitters to chase 35.6% of the time (94th percentile).

Up to this point in his career, Peralta's best pitch—and the pitch he relies on the most—is his slider. In 2020, hitters posted a .133 batting average against that pitch, striking out 11 times out of 30 plate appearances. 

The numbers against the slider haven't been pretty to start the regular season this year—.533 batting average—but the potential is certainly there. Peralta also has a fastball that averages just under 96 mph with a wipeout changeup that keeps the ball on the ground (his best pitch thus far in 2021 with a .086 xBA, .107 xSLG and a -3 launch angle).

Peralta is expected to join the Yankees on Thursday in Baltimore for the series finale of a four-game set, per Boone. Then, New York returns home for a nine-game homestand.

With members of the bullpen like closer Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Darren O'Day and even Jonathan Loaisiga firing on all cylinders to start the season, Peralta can assist in providing depth. Especially when setup man Zack Britton returns from the injured list, and New York continues to monitor the workload of all pitchers in this 162-game campaign, Peralta can be a valuable asset if he's throwing the ball well. In the case of an injury or any sort of unforeseen circumstances, he's poised to pitch in whatever role this coaching staff sees fit.


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