Red Sox Player Profile: Martin Perez

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The Syndicate's Red Sox Writers and Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later Hosts will be profiling a different Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2020 season.  Today's featured player:

Martin Perez


Photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com
What will Perez bring to Boston?

Martin Perez was added this offseason, signing a one-year, $6 million dollar deal with a club option for 2021.  The former Rangers and Twins starter brings depth to a rotation that badly needs starting pitching arms. 

Info

• Position(s): Starting Pitcher
• 2020 opening day age: 28
• Bats / Throws: Left / Left
• Height / Weight: 6'-0"/ 200 pounds
• Nickname: El De Guanare
• How acquired: Signed as free agent thru 2020, 1 yr/$6.5 million 
• Contract status: Signed 2020, team option 2021
• 2019 Stats: 10-7 | 5.12 ERA | 32 G | 29 GS | 0 SV | 165.1 IP | 135 SO | 1.518 WHIP | 0.2 WAR |

2019 Season:  Perez joined the Twins last season, signing a one-year contract with them.  He was expected to compete for the fifth spot in their rotation last season.  During the 2019 season, he made 32 appearances with 29 starts, with a WHIP of 1.52, the highest in the major leagues.  He was 10-7 and pitched in 165 1/3 innings. 

Perez spent time with former big leaguer Johan Santana and learned a new cutter.  When Perez threw the cutter the results last season were there, too.  Opponents batted .218 against it, according to Brooks Baseball.  With the Twins last season, Perez saw his fastball velocity jump from 92-93 mph to 94-96 mph.

With Perez throwing the cutter in 2019, and when paired with a fastball, his velo spiked.  He started slowly out of the bullpen, allowing seven runs in 8.3 innings of work, but then ripped off an eight-start run of a 2.17 ERA along with a 1.15 WHIP with 44 strikeouts in just under 50 innings.  Unfortunately, the success was short-lived as he managed just a 6.29 ERA/1.62 WHIP combo the rest of the way. 

Gear up for the 2020 MLB Season with new gear from Nike2019 Key Stat:  While Perez’s numbers weren’t exactly eye popping in 2019, the Twins were 17-12 in his 29 starts.  Based off the state of the Red Sox roster, would you take those numbers?  I think that answer is yes, all things considered. 

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was a big fan of Perez and his time with the Twins.  “Martin did a nice job for us,” Baldelli said.  “He pitched us to opportunities to win games consistently.  He competed very well.  He was very open to making adjustments.  And he’s a really good teammate.  There’s really not much more you could ask for.  I think there were some starts where things didn’t play out they probably should have for him.  If he continues to do what he has been doing and continues to make the adjustments he has been making, I would anticipate a very nice season.”

BSS Red Sox Podcast TBNL 2020 OUTLOOK

When the Red Sox didn’t re-sign Rick Porcello the Red Sox replaced him essentially in the rotation with Perez.  Chaim Bloom gets Perez for potentially two years at $12.5 million if next season's option is picked up.  The Red Sox had a known commodity with Porcello.  Instead, Bloom opted to save a few bucks and add the lefty Perez. 

Perez is a career 53-56 pitcher with a 4.72 ERA and 597 strikeouts to his credit.  While his numbers aren’t overwhelming, he brings the potential to eat innings this season.  But there was a reason he was available this offseason, and while we can hold out hope, the Red Sox have a bandaid with Perez in their rotation. 

Now that Chris Sale is possibly facing the prognosis on his ailing left elbow, the Red Sox need Perez to be a bigger focal point in their rotation other than a fifth starter.  Barring an unforeseen trade, the Red Sox will go into the regular season with Eduardo Perez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez as the core of their rotation.  The Sox are in trouble with this rotation, especially in a tough AL East.  The Yankees are hurt right now but will still be competitive.  The Rays are solid, and the Blue Jays have young talent, and if they put it together could be tough this season. 

Based off Perez’s career stats, if he can win 10 games with the Red Sox, that would be a huge win for this team.  This spring Perez hasn’t looked good.  However, it is not fair to just completely write off Perez and call him a failure before he even throws a pitch in a Red Sox uniform. 

Perez was excited to sign with the Red Sox because he rooted for the team growing up.  Similar to Alex Verdugo, Perez has an opportunity this season to play for the team he rooted for and make an impact in a very tough market to play in. 

New Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush will need to find the right adjustments Perez will need to make to become a consistent member of the team’s rotation for all of the 2020 season.  In an interview with the Athletic, Bush was asked if something he saw in Perez that the team could improve?  "For guys like him that have been around for a while, it's small adjustments in things like pitch mix" said Bush.  Bush will work with Perez on how he can incorporate his new cutter with his mix of pitches.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox Player Profile: Martin Perez
Red Sox Player Profile: Martin Perez
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