Still Unanswered

Perez
One of the very first things ever written on here was an article by Mike McGehee titled“The Martin Perez Question”. Nearly two years later, and we are still asking ourselves the same questions regarding the young left-hander. Can he succeed at the Major League level? Is he an option in the Rangers 2013 rotation and beyond? Who is Martin Perez going to be?
Perez has been a high ranked prospect for the Rangers for a number of years. While not being projected to be an ace, but more like a #3, he’s third in the Rangers organization and #59 overall according to Baseball Prospectus’ Futures Guide 2013. He has both struggled and found success at every level in the Rangers’ minor league system, as he has yet to “put it all together.”

Last year Perez got the call up to Arlington, and struggled, going 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA in 12 games. At 21 years of age, Perez was also thrust into a pennant race and given 3 starts in late September:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str
10 Sep 21 TEX @ SEA L,3-6 GS-4 L(1-2) 4.0 6 4 3 2 3 0 3.78 21 81 52
11 Sep 26 TEX OAK L,3-9 GS-1 L(1-3) 0.2 6 5 5 0 1 0 5.03 8 24 18
12 Oct 1 TEX @ OAK L,3-4 GS-5 L(1-4) 4.0 6 4 4 2 3 0 5.45 19 69 37
TEX 38.0 47 26 23 15 25 3 5.45 177
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.
Despite the lack of success last year, Perez was slated to have a rotation spot for the big club, taking Colby Lewis’ turn every 5th day, coming out of spring training. Of course, we all know that was derailed by the line drive off of his left wrist resulting in a broken bone and a stint on the disabled list. After being cleared to get back into action, he was sent to Frisco for a rehab start, and that didn’t go according to Hoyle. That start was a 14 hit, 9 earned run effort. Here we go again. However, after arriving in Round Rock to resume his path back to Arlington, Perez dazzled.

At AAA, Martin Perez made 6 starts, going 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA with a livelier fastball and a more effective change up. So far we’ve seen two starts from him at the Major League level in 2013. One was forgettable, the other started out like a car crash, but Martin was able to pull it out of the ditch for an effective outing against the Cardinals in St. Louis in a 4-2 Texas victory. Impressive, but inconsistent. Remind of you a certain pitcher that threw an absolute gem yesterday?

The questions still remain:

Can he succeed at the Major League level?

It looks like it. His fastball, which was in the 91-93 range is now sitting between 94-96 and he has a nice change up, that should develop into his “out pitch”.  The start in St. Louis was something that the fans, and I’m sure the front office have been waiting for. Perez had success against, at the time, the best team in baseball, which now gives him a point of reference of success. But, we haven’t seen enough of him against Major League pitching. He’s also just 22 years old. Yes, he’s been in the Texas organization for 6 years but teams don’t give up on left handed pitchers with a decent array of pitches.

Is he an option in the 2013 rotation and beyond?

That question is something that Martin Perez will have to answer himself. If he pitches well enough to stay here, then it will make it very hard for JD & Co. to send him down or include him in a trade. However, if the Rangers do make a deal for (insert any pitcher being discussed at the moment), they may elect to send him back to Round Rock until September, especially if Lewis comes back soon. As far as the future plans go, I do think that the Rangers are looking at him to be a regular in the rotation starting next year. Remember, Colby is a free agent after this season and questions remain about how healthy he can be. Lewis will also turn 34 on August 2nd.

Who Is Martin Perez going to be?

Great question. We’ve seen all kinds of comps, from Steve Avery to Gio Gonzalez to Derek Holland, naturally. Dan Allsup did a great piece on Perez for SDI back in January that gives you a feel for who he can be. Perez is going to be inconsistent at times and he’s going to be great at times. We don’t know who Perez is just yet, but there are glimpses of who he can be. Tonight, Martin Perez has a chance to build on his recent success and take another step forward in his development. The ball is in your court, kid.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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