Perez goes to the slider for the K! He threw it nearly a 100 more times in 2019 and put up a lovely 41.5 K%. Perez will need to continue to employ his wicked slider to push the sun back up in the sky and enjoy this career renaissance.
Perez has steadily leaned more on his slider ever since transitioning to the bullpen. It’s a wise choice, as opponents hit .174/.224/.239 with a 36.7% strikeout rate. Hitters can’t solve the wicked offering, which induced a 54.5% contact and 20.1% swinging-strike rate. He’ll need to keep leaning on his slider to maintain a semblance of 2018’s career renaissance.
Per Brooks Baseball, Perez purged his sinker usage from 28.9 to 3.9 without throwing any from July 1 onward. The classification could be splitting hairs, as he throws a four-seamer with sinking action around the same velocity.
A velocity dip did not deter Perez from dominating with his fastball, which produced a -4 wRC+. (Yep, a negative wRC+ can happen!) It didn’t draw as many whiffs (9.6%) as one would expect from an offering with a 37.3% strikeout rate and one extra-base hit (a double), so bake in some regression. Then again, someone would have already given the 37-year-old free agent an eight-figure contract if they expected a repeat of last season’s 1.39 ERA and 30.0 K-BB%.