By COREY NOLES
It's been a tumultuous week (month? season?) for the St. Louis Cardinals. It only makes sense that some things would slip through the cracks.
Between the now defunct disappearance of the Peter Bourjos, a stagnant offense and a clinic on new ways to ground into a double plays, those focusing on the negative seem to have overlooked something--Jhonny Peralta is playing some great baseball.
In his first few weeks as a Cardinal, Peralta couldn't seem to get things going with his bat or his glove. In addition to missing a few key plays, Peralta hit only .151/.244/.356 through April 23.
He compiled 15 strikeouts and grounded into four double plays.
It wasn't an easy time. It wasn't forever, either.
In the 11 games since, Peralta's bat has come to life. Instead of struggling even to make contact, he's now hitting. .349 over the stint--with only six strikeouts.
His 1.086 OPS over the period is much more representative of the performance that made Peralta such an attractive pickup for the Cardinals.
His placement in the lineup has also had quite the effect on how he's hitting. In the two-slot he's hitting .235/.381/.706. His average doesn't change much versus his time in the six-slot (.222) and seven-slot (.217), but his on-base percentage is a full 100 points higher.
Coincidentally, Cardinals shortstops hit only .222 on the season in 2013.
Peralta has also obliterated another number when compared to 2013 Cardinals shortstops--the home run tally.
Peralta has hit seven long balls in his short career in St. Louis. Cardinals shortstops had only four in all of 2013.
He doesn't have to hit .300 to have a successful season for the Cardinals. If Peralta can hit .270, this team could easily consider him to be a substantial upgrade over last 2013.
His biggest weakness of the season should be no surprise to Cardinals fans--left-handed pitching. Hitting .105 against LHP, only one of his 15 RBI have come against southpaw pitchers.
He has also struggled when batting with runners in scoring position. His RISP average is a weak .115/.233/.308 with only three hits in 26 at bats.
He's hitting substantially better when the bases are empty for an average of .240/.333/.420.
While he's struggling early with runners in scoring position, so is the entire Cardinals team. As a whole, the team is batting just .227 with RISP. The success of Matt Holliday (.400), Yadier Molina (.324) and Matt Carpenter (.296) aside, this team is struggling to bring back the same RISP magic that carried them deep into 2013.
Peralta will come around against both lefties and in higher leverage situations--his career numbers insist as much.
His career average versus left and right-handed pitchers is remarkably close--.269 vs. RHP and .260 vs LHP.
His numbers with baserunners show a very similar trend of stability regardless of the situation. Over the course of his career, Peralta has hit .274 with RISP and .263 with the bases empty.
While his numbers may not be in midseason form just yet, his bat is getting there fast. It's slipped through the cracks in recent weeks, but his recent success demands that we take notice.
His early struggles weren't representative of how he can contribute to this team. What he's done of late is very telling.
St. Louis, meet the real Jhonny Peralta.
Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He is also a regular contributor to Bleacher Report and KSDK.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coreynoles.