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Thursday, May 9, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MARTIN PEREZ SP MINNESOTA TWINS

Charlie Morton 2.0 anyone?  When it comes to 2019 Minnesota Twins pitching surprise Martin Perez, the comparisons to Morton have been floated around in many publications and one the surface this makes sense on a number of levels.  For one thing, both Morton and Perez were failed starters who struggled badly year in and year out while also battling serious injuries.  However it also was both Morton and Perez who decided to change their approaches on the fly by learning new pitches and also enhancing their spin rates.  We already have seen Morton turn himself into a top-end SP 2 the last few years despite moving into his mid-30's and so far it appears Perez is aiming to engineer a similar story based on how well he has thrown the ball this season.  Going into Thursday's games, Perez was carrying with him the following numbers:

2.83 ERA
1.26 WHIP
.234 BAA
.301 BABIP
8.49 K/9
0.44 HR/9
3.48 BB/9

Looking at the numbers above, the ERA stands out and so does the K/9 based on Perez' previous history.  For one thing, Perez routinely put up some of the ugliest ERA's in baseball during his Texas Rangers days and his strikeout numbers were beyond poor as well.  Enter in the new cutter that Perez developed over the winter and the increased spin rate overall on his throws and all of a sudden the ratios began to plummet.  In addition, Perez also began to uptick his strikeouts which went right along with an increase in average fastball.  Consider that in 2018, Perez' average fastball velocity was 93.2 and this season that number has jumped to a more impressive 95.4.  The K/9 itself has moved from 5.48 last season all the way up to 8.49 in 2019 which is another nice jump.  Even more noteworthy is that Perez' .301 BABIP is in neutral territory which means he has been pretty legit as the 3.11 FIP shows.  So while the move to a more spacious park in Minnesota has helped Perez, there is also no debate that his new approach has also been a big boost as well.  So anyone holding shares in Perez should continue to liberally use him at home and only bench him in the most difficult road assignments.  This breakout seems quite legit and should lead to more fun before summer fatigue sets in given that Perez has not thrown big inning totals the last few seasons.  This is a concern for another day though so enjoy the fun while it lasts. 




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