Page 2 of 2
Overall, the numbers for Perez since going to the Indians look like this: 14 games, 14 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 5 BB, 15 K, 1 HR, 3.86 ERA, 3.42 FIP. He's striking out batters at a 27.3% clip, and is walking less than 10%. (9.3%) Not too shabby, particularly when we're looking at a Cardinal bullpen that has failed to perform up to expectations recently.
I am not saying the reason Chris Perez is pitching so well now is because he's away from Dave Duncan. Maybe I'm thinking it, just a little, way in the back of my mind, but I'm certainly not saying it. There's nowhere near enough evidence of what, if any, changes were made to Perez's mechanics, either on his own or on someone else's advice, and no real idea of what he's been working on or doing differently since going to Cleveland. Nonetheless, I think Perez may very well end up being an extremely interesting test case. He has immense talent, and the coaching staff here seemed at a loss to figure out how best to tap into that talent. Perez's breakout season came in 2008, after the Cardinals' new minor league pitching coordinator, Brent Strom, held an early spring minicamp for some of the brightest prospects in the Cardinal system. Strom pushed a natural approach, and encouraged Perez to return to the longer stride and more aggressive drive he had used in college. At the major league level, Dave Duncan pushed a controlled approach and encouraged Perez to get on top of the ball more, in order to create sinking action on the ball and force it down in the zone. I'm very interested to know what approach Perez is using now, and what counsel he has received from the Indians' pitching staff.
At the very least, we'll be able to decide finally whether the Cards were right or wrong in dealing Perez and keeping Jason Motte
. Personally, I wish they had kept Perez, and so far, it's looking like they should have.
And no, I'm not planning on turning this into another Anthony Reyes Watch or anything; I just like to keep tabs on ex-Cardinals, see how they're doing, stuff like that. Plus, I think there are some good lessons to be learned from what the players you send away turn into.