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The Martín Pérez experiment is paying off

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The boy wonders have a few tricks up their sleeves after all

Free agent starting pitcher singed last offseason and their ERA as a starter so far:

  • Patrick Corbin: 3.58 ERA
  • Charlie Morton: 2.76 ERA
  • J.A. Happ: 4.68 ERA
  • Nathan Eovaldi: 6.00 ERA
  • Lance Lynn: 5.45 ERA

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  • Martín Pérez: 2.08 ERA (this is his ERA as a starter, not counting his bullpen appearances)

I start with this stat because it shows us just how wrong literally every one of us were when the Twins signed Pérez. After dealing eight shutout innings against one of the top three offenses in the entire MLB, everyone is excited about the gem the Twins may have found with signing Martín Pérez.

Before 2019, Pérez was beginning to look lost and had his worst year in 2018. He pitched in 22 games, owning a 6.22 ERA to go along with a 1.781 WHIP. While it’s still a small sample size for this season, something is definitely better about Perez. The most noticeable differences have been a newly added cutter and two-plus mile per hour increase on his fastball.

Perez decided to pick up a cutter for this season, after his agent had been recommending it for a while. Perez finally told his agent that he was right about adding a cutter—and because it was a new year on a new team, why not give it a try. Wow! It has certainly paid off. He throws the new cutter 33% of the time (45/100 against Houston) with an average velocity of 88.3 MPH. The batting average against it so far is just .065 and it strikes a batter out 20% of the time he throws it. He also gets batters to offer 43% of the time with it, and swing and miss 29% of the time. Oh, to make it even more cool, he says he learned it from Jake Odorizzi.

The difference with his fastball has been the increased velocity. So far this year he averages 94.8 MPH while every previous year his velocity has been around 92.5 MPH. He gets swings and misses in the zone 20% more this season, compared to last year (33.3% in 2019.) This is the reason the Twins brought in pitching coach Wes Johnson. Johnson specializes in getting the most velocity possible out of pitchers. He’s basically a wizard that has turned Martin Pérez into a quality starting pitcher.

Again, it is still early, but this start is extremely encouraging for the Twins and Pérez. He’s a different pitcher this year. Just ask Jose Altuve! “Tonight, he looked 100 percent different. He got a little more life in the fastball. He was throwing that cutter. The cutter was the key for him tonight.” That is a real quote from the Astros’ all-star second baseman.

Oh Perez is also a really nice and wholesome guy.

The Twins have a $7.5 million team option for him in 2020. That is something that could prove extremely valuable, if he continues to put up the numbers like he is right now. A rotation of Berrios, April Jake Odorizzi, improved Martin Perez, 2018 Kyle Gibson and Michael Pineda is extremely good. Let’s look forward to a summer of great Twins pitching!

Poll

Will Martin Perez sustain his success all season?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Yes
    (567 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (141 votes)
  • 7%
    Wait, who?
    (54 votes)
762 votes total Vote Now