The unheralded Perez had a quietly solid year in 2019. One of the reasons was his much-improved changeup, which had a 32.2 Whiff% and induced a 50.4% grounball rate. He tripled his number of strikouts from 2018 to 36.
Smartly, Perez moved away from the curve in 2019. He often left the pitch hanging in the zone, which has hurt him in the past. A 46.2% IFFB% was encouraging but he still gave up too many HRs off it. It is just not a major league level pitch.
The Achilles heel that has plagued Perez through his career, the pitch continued to be fodder in 2019. An awful -12.8 pVAL alongside an ugly 32 % HR/FB ratio puts this fastball into “The Worst Pitch in Baseball” category.
Introducing the Martin Perez cutter. A much needed new weapon for the veteran, registering a 13.8 pVAL and a good 22.7% Whiff%. The pitch just looked smooth in delivery and helped Perez reduce his Hard Hit% to 29.7—a significant decrease in his career average.
Perez’s primary pitch is his sinker which he throws in the low-to-mid-90s. Perez, who is known for inducing a lot of contact, only registered a 6% swinging-strike rate with the pitch, with batters making contact nearly 90% of the time when facing his sinker. Still, the pitch is about average, conceding a 108 wRC+.
Thrown just under 20% of the time, Perez’s changeup could use a lot of work, before it can be considered a major league worthy pitch. Hitters triple slashed a whopping .354/.442/.569 against it. Control issues made it easy for batters to lay off, as seen by the 14% walk rate against Perez’s main offspeed pitch.
Perez throws one of the worst four-seamers in the league. Over the course of 232 pitches, hitters racked up an ungodly .420/.474/.760 triple slash, along with a 2.5 BB/K rate. This season is no aberration either. Throughout his career hitters have consistently obliterated Perez’s fastball, hitting .324 against it, and mashing 21 homers in the process.
Perez has got to stop leaving his curveball hanging. Last season only 14% of his curves resulted in ground balls, and the pitch was yet another in Perez’s below-replacement-level arsenal that allowed a negative pVal.
After relying heavily on his slider in previous years, Perez nearly eliminated it from his repertoire in 2018 and for very good reason. Over the course of 17 plate appearances, batters hit .500 with three home runs, good enough for a 336 wRC+.