Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo was seen as an important part of the Diamondbacks’ future.
But the future became the organization’s present when veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed suffered a shoulder injury on May 15.
Since then, the 22-year-old has been on his way to becoming a defensive pro in his first full major league season. It wasn’t a perfect transition at first, with Perdomo finding its bumps in May and June with four errors each month.
Advice from third base coach Tony Perezchica set Perdomo in the right direction. Perezchica has been a constant in Perdomo’s professional career as he has worked with him since 2017 when he joined the organization through international free agency.
“My communication with him is very pleasant, like a father and son. For me, it’s great,” Perdomo said.
The two worked on Perdomo’s glove hand and tweaked the trade. Perezchica emphasized the discipline of using minimal steps when receiving the ball to throw it first.
Small tweaks to his game then set the stage for Perdomo.
“He has tremendous energy. This is what helped him to get involved in the daily grind. We talked about it, it’s just to simplify all the actions, that’s what helped him,” said Perezchica. “He is very open. He likes to talk, he likes to analyze a lot of things and go over things, which I think for a 22-year-old young adult definitely makes him a better player and a better defender.
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The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Perdomo may still be figuring out his game on the offensive side, but he’s been becoming a game-changer on defense since finding his feet in the infield in July. Perdomo smoothed out his defense and had a flawless month in the infield in 24 games.
When other players begin to lose their sharpness from the long-season toll, Perdomo’s “enormous energy” and willingness to learn paid off for his infield production.
“He came and started working and progressed gradually throughout the year. He finally started developing the things he needed to do. We see this now in the months of July and early August. He only got better,” Perezchica said.
While the bar for shortstops remains high with few capable of claiming an elite defense, he is on the right track.
According to Sports Info Solutions, Perdomo ranks among the top 10 entry rates when playing on his backhand, but is only 25th when playing on his forehand. When using his forehand, his kill rate is 90%. Top major league defensive shortstops like Carlos Correa, Andrew Velazquez and Corey Seager range between 95 and 96 percent.
Finding chemistry with those in the infield also helped. Perdomo is an communicative player and works well with third baseman Josh Rojas and second baseman Ketel Marte.
“It’s funny. I joke around a lot with Rojas, and with Marte he’s like my brother. We have really good communication. It’s really great,” Perdomo said.
Gone is the jitters that can come with adapting to becoming an everyday major league player.
Although Perdomo has improved after playing nearly 100 games this season, he always had confidence that he would get where he needed to be. Perezchica sees in him a strong belief that he belongs at this level, which in turn has improved his defense.
“He sees himself getting better and he feels it. I think we can talk all we want, but if you don’t feel it, you don’t have confidence. He feels it, he feels he belongs here, he feels he is definitely a player who can help us win,” Perezchica said.
Last season was just a sampling of the majors, but it was a big learning curve for Perdomo at the plate in the minors and majors.
He hiccupped during the 2021 season and was even brought to the Diamondbacks’ spring training facility mid-season to revamp his swing and help improve his .151 Double-A batting average. His season accelerated once he broke through the tiers and returned to the Diamondbacks when Ahmed suffered a shoulder injury in late September 2021.
In 11 games with the Diamondbacks for his first big league appearance, he batted .258 with five runs.
“I’m always going to feel he’s going to be a special player once he becomes a more complete player. His offense will come and if he stays focused on the defensive end, that will definitely show in the years to come,” he said. said Perezchica.
His place in the nine hole this season gives him the motivation to offer more opportunities to his teammates Rojas, Alek Thomas and Marte, who have struck at the top of the leaderboard. He wants to add more attack to his game, but right now he wants to contribute in any way he can.
While attack remains a building block in Perdomo’s game, he has shown impressive speed on goal. Perdomo is fourth on the team with 41 points.
On August 8 against the Pirates, Perdomo got to second base in the sixth inning after taking a big lead over pitcher Manny Banuelos and earning his fifth stolen base of the season. In the eighth inning, Perdomo’s bunt was timed well and matched his legs perfectly, allowing him to put pinch runner Sergio Alcantara on third base with no outs in the eighth inning.
Whether Perdomo smashes his way to base or provides smart defensive play, his growth this season in a crucial position is a good sign for the Diamondbacks going forward.
“I think he’s starting to realize that he can be pretty good defensively. He understands that he will get there. The defensive part of the game he brings will help us win,” Perezchica said.
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