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Pirates All 40: Can Martín Pérez Get Back into 2022 Season Form?

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Martin Perez, Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB Offseason

This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.

On Jan. 5, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed left-handed pitcher Martín Pérez. Before signing with Pittsburgh, Pérez spent nine out of his 12 years in the majors with the Texas Rangers and most recently won the World Serieslast year.

Pérez contract with the Pirates is a one-year deal for $8 million.

With the Rangers, Pérez accumulated a 65-61 record with an ERA of 4.30, a FIP of 4.30, 388 walks and 724 strikeouts in 1099.1 innings pitched.

During his 12 years, Pérez has been mostly laverage, with his yearly ERA around in the mid-four region. Pérez’s lone outlier year was in 2022 when he made his lone All-Star appearance.

That year, the lefty went 12-8 with an ERA of 2.89, a FIP of 3.26, 69 walks, and 169 strikeouts in 196.1 innings pitched. In addition, Pérez’s innings total in ’22 was the second highest of his career, with 2016 edging it out at 198.2 innings pitched.

The 32-year-old fits the typical Pirates’ mold of a soft-tossing lefty. On average, last season, Pérez averaged 91.6 mph on his sinker and 91.8 mph on his four-seamer.

In addition, Pérez offers a changeup, cutter, curveball, and slider. 2023’s numbers showed Pérez favored his sinker (42.9% usage), changeup (26.5%), and cutter (22.1%).

Last season, the lefty left his sinker far too up in the zone. Looking at the heat maps, there is a good portion of balls left right over the heart of the plate.

In addition, his sinker had a very low whiff rate of 9.7%. If you’re going to pitch to contact, you have to leave pitches in better spots. It would explain why batters had an average of 90.3 mph in exit velocity.

Pérez most likely will fill a Rich Hill role with the Pirates in 2024. He will eat innings, give you some veteran leadership, and give you some decent starts while trying to keep the Pirates in the game.

For comparison, Hill pitched 119.0 innings in 22 starts with the Pirates before being traded. On average, that’s around five innings and change per outing.

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