Perdomo showing off power in 'unforgettable' first postseason

October 17th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- It’s been quite the rollercoaster season for .

Through the first half, Perdomo showed all the tools that have had the D-backs believing for years that he can be an integral part of the organization’s promising future. Paired with solid defense at short, Perdomo had a .787 OPS at the break and was selected to his first All-Star Game by his peers.

After the All-Star break, however, Perdomo began to struggle at the plate. He hit only one homer in the second half, seeing his OPS drop to a .712 clip, making him a below league-average hitter in the end.

But in the postseason, Perdomo has shined when it has mattered most. He has given the D-backs an unexpected source of power from the bottom of the order, including a two-run blast in Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park.

“He’s capable of doing anything,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said earlier in the postseason. “I don’t want him to think he’s a home run hitter. I keep talking to him about that. I want him to continue to be an on-base machine and just slice balls. But he does have that capability.”

While it isn’t the tool he’s most known for, Perdomo has shown his ability to slug in his first taste of the postseason. In Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, it was Perdomo who got the party started at Chase Field with his leadoff homer in the third inning off right-hander Lance Lynn. The D-backs went on to hit three more homers in the frame en route to a sweep of Los Angeles.

On Monday, with the D-backs desperately looking for some offense, it was Perdomo, once again, who answered the call. The 23-year-old shortstop turned on a Zack Wheeler four-seam fastball, sending it just over the right-field wall, cutting the Phillies’ lead to three runs in the sixth.

Dating back to May 29, Perdomo had homered just once in 357 plate appearances to close out the regular season. He has hit two homers in his first 20 plate appearances of the postseason.

“I think Perdomo deserves all of this success and so much more,” said D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte. “He’s a player that works so hard every single day. I think he can play at this level for a long time.”

During the first half of the season, Perdomo said opponents attacked him with more fastballs. Because of his elite eye at the plate -- he ranks in the 98th percentile in chase rate -- Perdomo was able to get into favorable counts and then attack the heater.

In the second half, the league -- as it often does -- made an adjustment. Opponents were now throwing Perdomo more breaking balls, which also caused him to lose his timing against fastballs. That, he believes, was the root of his post-break issues. Both his homers in October have come against the heater, a good sign for the D-backs as they hope to tie the series on Tuesday.

“This postseason, I saw a lot of the same against the Brewers, but against the Dodgers, I saw a lot more fastballs,” Perdomo said. “But those are all things that I need to keep improving on and performing at a high level.”

Two seasons ago, this moment seemed so far away for Perdomo. The D-backs sent him to their Spring Training facility midway through the year in order to help him rework his swing mechanics. Perdomo, then 21 years old, worked tirelessly to give himself the best chance at becoming an everyday big league infielder.

After getting a small taste of the Majors late in the 2021 season, Perdomo struggled mightily at the plate during his rookie season in ‘22. The shortstop hit .195 with five homers in 148 games. Despite those woes, however, the D-backs were consistent in saying Perdomo would be their starting shortstop this season.

Perdomo is repaying the organization in the postseason, as he’s played a key role in the D-backs’ sudden power surge. Arizona already has nine homers from players age 23 or younger, which is tied with the 2017 Astros for the second most in a single postseason.

“I’ve enjoyed this experience a lot. It’s been unforgettable,” Perdomo said. “It reminds me a lot of when I played winter ball in Santo Domingo [in the Dominican Republic]. I think it’s been really good for my career to live this.”