Lazy Comps: Martin Perez

perez
Disclaimer and Explanation:
Lazy Comps are comparisons, and they are lazy because it’s not really in-depth scouting.

Previous Lazy Comps:
Leonys Martin

SUBJECT: Martin Perez

Martin Perez is the annual top prospect, he’s been a top 100 for Baseball America since 2009, and this year could mark a 5th straight year. That’s the problem, after five years we kind of expect to see something. Perez has always been one of the youngest players at whatever level he played at, and will still be 21 on Opening Day (he turns 22 on April 4th). At the moment, pending any major moves, Perez will be given a shot as the 5th starter in the rotation. There seems to be angst between, “We need to see what we got” and “He’s not ready, he still needs AAA time”. I’m not sure where he fits in this year yet, I’ve always thought he should be broken-in via the bullpen, but that hasn’t really materialized.

We have been teased with the initial Johan Santana comparisons for Perez (same country, small, lefty, awesome change-up) but when you only strike out 4.9 guys per nine innings, that comp evaporates. And it also reminds us that pitching prospects are known for not living up to the hype. Perez’s name is synonymous with hype. But what could he be?

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FLOOR:  Jonathan Sanchez, seven years, 1.44 WHIP, 1.82 K/BB, 2.7 bWAR

Jonathan Sanchez is 29, coming off his worst season as a pro, and is eminently available in the free agent market, and I haven’t heard much. This isn’t surprising though when you consider he walked 7.4 guys per nine innings, which was more than he struck out. Sanchez has battled the same baseball demon that has tormented Perez- inconsistency.

Sanchez pitched a no-hitter in 2009, after languishing in the San Francisco bullpen for three weeks. That pretty much sums up Sanchez, ability to shut-down an opponent but you never know when it’s going to happen. Tony Gwynn Jr. had this remark after he was on the receiving end of Sanchez’s no-hitter: “On film he throws the ball hard, but it looks like he doesn’t know where it’s going, today he looked exactly like he knew where it was going.”

I think the same could be said for Perez, sometimes he’s cruising through the line-up, next outing he’s wetting the bed and can’t make it through the 3rd.

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CEILING: Gio Gonzalez, five years, 1.33 WHIP, 2.11 K/BB, 10.3 bWAR

This is an exciting comp given Gio Gonzalez just finished off his best season, and placed 3rd in the NL Cy Young award. Prior to 2012, Gonzalez was a much similar pitcher to Sanchez, a guy who walked too many guys, burned up the bullpen and got away with it because he could put guys away. Gonzalez took that next step, Sanchez regressed and is trying to find work. Meanwhile Gonzalez is under contract with Washington for up to the next six years. Quite a contrast. Perez has been dubbed as a top-of-the-rotation-pitcher, not a number one or an ace, but more of a two or a three. This is what Gonzalez is – a great number two pitcher.

Perez’s age cannot be discounted at the rate of his experience. When Sanchez was 22 he was in A ball with a 4.08 ERA. When Gonzalez was 22 he was entering his first of two seasons in AAA, and got 34 innings of work in Oakland. Perez got 38 innings last year, and is looking at a big bump to that number if he locks down the number five spot.

Another inconsistent lefty comes to mind when I think about Perez. It’s a guy the Rangers locked up through 2018 last winter, Derek Holland. Keep in mind that when Holland was 22 he got 21 starts and spit the bit with his 6.12 ERA, he developed nicely after he took his lumps. Texas really doesn’t have the equity for guys to take lumps, but I’d imagine they’ll keep waiting on Perez, because home-grown lefties are worth waiting for, and locking up. 

Dan Allsup is a staff writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach him on Twitter @DanAllsup.

Dan Allsup

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