During the recap yesterday, I started going off on a tangent about Rafael Perez. However, after a few paragraphs that dove into different aspects of his game, I opted to edit it out and stick only to things that had an impact on the final score in general instead of going pitch by pitch. But since I edited it out, I needed somewhere else to put it, and this would be the place. Be forwarned, what follows encompasses a lot of numbers. However, I’m also including some pictures with lots of colors and stuff in the event that that’s more your thing as well. Do enjoy.
Last season, the Indians had an issue with the whole “closer” role. We started out with Joe Borowski, he of the 83 MPH fastball. Then we tried others like Masa Kobayashi before settling in with Jensen Lewis. And while he didn’t exactly strive in the ninth inning, Rafael Perez wound up being one of the best set-up men in the game. In 76 innings pitched, Perez fanned 56 batters. He finished the season with an ERA of 3.54, but this can be skewed by a few bad outings coupled with the lack of total innings pitched. However, his peripheral numbers were excellent including a WHIP of 1.18, OBA of .234 and a HR/9 of 0.94.
Well, if you have watched any of the last few games that featured Mr. Perez, you have undoubtedly seen a different player. He has yet to record a strikeout. Left-handed batters (typically his specialty) are hitting .250 against him, with righties hitting .455. Last season, neither side hit more than .243 against him. He’s tossed five innings, has already allowed a home run and has walked six batters. The early percentages are not pretty: 18.00 ERA, 2.60 WHIP, .368 OBA.
So what’s wrong with our would-be stud set-up man?