Fantasy baseball players certainly sweat the month of March more than any other. Most fantasy drafts take place in March and unless you play daily fantasy baseball, the fantasy draft is still the single most important date of the fantasy year. Fantasy players are constantly scouring the spring box scores looking for the next sleeper that will vault them from the bottom of the standings to the top.

Similarly, baseball fans in general want to see their team go the distance and they can almost always envision a way in March. Sure, there are notable exceptions there. Phillies, Reds, Brewers, and Braves fans will have a hard time visualizing their teams going the distance, but just about every other team can picture a path to get there. In order to get there, each team has one or two players that have to seemingly come out of nowhere to produce big numbers.

This is where fantasy baseball and real baseball intersect. Both real fans and fantasy fans want to find that guy that will come out of nowhere to produce big numbers. This series is a series where we find that guy on each team. As you might expect, not all of these guys will step up. Some will fail to produce to expectations. Some will get hurt along the way. However, a few will take that next step and when they do, they will help vault their into the pennant race.

The Diamondbacks are one of those teams that could compete in the NL West, but they will need some unsung players to step up. Everyone knows about Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Paul Goldschmidt, and A.J. Pollock. Fewer may recognize David Peralta, but Peralta could be one of the keys to the D-backs competing in the West. Before we dive into what could be, let’s take a look at where he has been.

Where he has been

2014 .286 8 40 36 6
2015 .312 17 61 78 9

Peralta took a huge step forward along with Ender Inciarte and A.J. Pollock last season. In many ways, the Shelby Miller trade helped the Diamondbacks in other ways. They didn’t have enough spots to allow those three and Yasmany Tomas. Now, they have enough spots in the outfield for all of them to play every day. Our three projection systems (Depth Charts, Steamer, and ZIPS) all base their projections on what players have done. Most of the growth that is possible will come if Peralta is able to get more than 600 plate appearances.

What Could Be

Depth Charts .287 17 67 78 9
Steamer .281 16 66 71 8
ZIPS .293 16 62 78 9

These projections demonstrate two things: first, they don’t expect Peralta to be much more durable than he already was a year ago. Secondly, they expect him to regress primarily because of batted ball luck. That makes perfect sense because he did have a .368 average on balls in play last season.

The Rosy Picture

Obviously, D-backs fans are hoping for more than that. So, let’s assume that he is able to produce somewhere in between 2014 and 2015 numbers, but do it over 600 plate appearances. If we take his rates on home runs, runs, RBIs, and steals and project it over 600 plate appearances we would find the following.

600 PA .301 17 70 79 11

While these numbers may not seem spectacular, we have to remember that offensive numbers aren’t what they used to be. There aren’t many .300 hitters anymore and there certainly aren’t that many hitters that will approach 20 home runs and ten stolen bases. If Peralta puts up these numbers (along with a healthy Goldschmidt and Pollock) the Dbacks could make a push for a wild card berth.

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