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August 2, 2022 at 11:00 AM

July Players of the Month: Brainer Bonaci and Luis Perales

A late surge propelled Brainer Bonaci past the field, edging out an attempt by Niko Kavadas to earn  Player of the Month recognition for a second straight month. Bonaci, who turned 20 on July 9, had shown solid contact and on-base skills throughout the season but had not hit for substantial power. The extra-base power showed up last month as he delivered a .324/.448/.581 line in 96 plate appearances. 

Through June, Bonaci had shown impressive command of the strike zone as he worked 46 walks against 48 strikeouts in 269 plate appearances. He did this despite racking up just eight doubles, three triples, and no home runs, just an .063 isolated slugging percentage. Once July came, Bonaci ripped nine doubles, two triples, and his first two homers of the year. He was particularly productive during a seven-game hitting streak from July 22 through 29 going 14 for 26 with eight extra-base hits and five walks, a .539/.594/1.077 line. The stretch has brought his on-base percentage for the season up to .395, fourth in the system among stateside players with at least 150 plate appearances.

Bonaci's offensive production came while giving Salem important defensive versatility. Regularly a second baseman, he also got five starts in July at third base and three more at shortstop. Originally signed out of Venezuela in July 2018 to a $290,000 bonus, Bonaci is currently ranked 26th in the system. 

After what has seemed like years of reports of tantalizing raw stuff, Luis Perales was finally healthy enough to show off those skills in competitive games. The result was a month that was as consistent as it was dominant. 

Perales made five starts in the Florida Complex League, going exactly three scoreless innings in each of them. In three of those starts, he gave up exactly one hit apiece. He didn't give up any in the other two. The highlight was a July 11 start against the FCL Rays in which he struck out eight of the nine batters he faced in three perfect innings. He struck out 23 of the 53 batters he faced on the month, walking just four.

The resulting rate stats for Perales seem to be out of a video game. Opponents hit .063/.151/.083 during July as he allowed a microscopic 0.467 WHIP. He faced only eight more than the minimum for the month. Like Bonaci, Perales was an international free agent out of Venezuela, getting $75,000 in 2019. Currently ranked 52nd in the system, the 19-year-old right-hander seems primed to move up the rankings in the next update.

Photo Credit: Brainer Bonaci by Kelly O'Connor