7/13/2014 9:44 P.M. ET
Speedster Peraza gives fans reasons for excitement
Braves prospect legs out infield single in 4.06 seconds at Futures Game
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- As these past few months have elapsed, Braves fans have become more enamored with Jose Peraza, who has spent the past year being heralded as Atlanta's second baseman and leadoff hitter of the future.
Over the past few months, most fans have identified Braves No. 3 prospect Peraza by the impressive stats he's compiled this year for Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi. But during Sunday afternoon's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, they gained a sense of why so many members of the Braves' organization have been keeping daily tabs on this speedy middle infielder.
It didn't take long for Peraza to catch the attention of the fans and many scouts who filled Target Field to watch the game's top prospects play. One scout clocked the 20-year-old from Venezuela at an eye-opening 4.06 seconds down the first-base line as he legged out an infield single in the first inning of the U.S. Team's 3-2 win over the World Team.
When informed of the time recorded, U.S. starting pitcher Henry Owens said, "As a right-handed batter, that's crazy."
While serving as one of the U.S. coaches on Sunday, Triple-A Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker gained a glimpse of what he saw Peraza do during Spring Training this year.
"He's a real good-looking prospect for his age, and how he handles things," Snitker said. "Just seeing him in Spring Training, you could tell he's a big leaguer."
While Tommy La Stella has provided the Braves a consistent bat at the second-base position this year, he does not have as much to offer as the more athletic Peraza, who has a chance to become the first prototypical leadoff hitter the Braves have produced since Rafael Furcal.
Time will tell how much more time Peraza will need before being deemed ready for the Major League level. But based on the success he has had this year, he could come to his first big league Spring Training next year with legitimate aspirations to gain a spot on Atlanta's roster.
"I hope so, but only God knows what is going to happen," Peraza said.
Speed has been just one of the elements that has enabled Peraza to produce "crazy numbers." He hit .342 and was successful with 35 of the 42 stolen base attempts in 66 games with Lynchburg. This production earned him a promotion to Mississippi, where he has hit .365 with an .876 OPS in 19 games. Thievery has not come as easy at the Double-A level, as he has been successful with just seven of 12 attempts.
"I'm really, really fortunate and happy the way things have turned out," Peraza said through an interpreter. "They turned out the way I wanted. I'm going to keep working really hard. I feel really blessed to be in this clubhouse with all of these talented players."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.