Blue Jays need help in the bullpen. Toronto may not need to look any further than farmhand RHP Hector Perez
This offseason, the Blue Jays Front Office added several starting pitching options; however, the bullpen remains a work in progress. In the past, Ross Atkins added veteran budget relievers around Spring Training or Spring Training.
For the most part, the results of slow playing the reliever market have been fruitful. The Blue Jays got good results from Seung-Hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, John Axford, and Daniel Hudson. Each of these relievers was also traded away for a decent return, helping to add depth to the farm system.
This offseason, the Blue Jays have said good-bye to Justin Shafer, Ryan Tepera, Derek Law, Jason Adams, Brock Stewart, and Buddy Boshers. They have signed A.J. Cole and Justin Miller to minor league deals and claimed Anthony Bass off waivers.
The Blue Jays are expected to carry 13 pitchers (5-SP and 8-RP); therefore, this leaves two or three spots open in the bullpen. Not including potential injuries.
Yesterday, I looked at Jackson McClelland as a possible option. A darkhorse option. Today, I’d like to offer up a guy with an electric arm who has spent much of the past five seasons in the starting rotation, Hector Perez.
Perez was acquired by the Blue Jays, along with Ken Giles and David Paulino (release), from the Houston Astros for Roberto Osuna. Normally, I would be against taking a talent like Hector Perez out of the rotation but with the Blue Jays’ current depth in the rotation, Perez’s best route to the majors might be via the bullpen.
The 6-foot-3 native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, spent 2019 at Double-A in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats rotation where he made 24 starts in 26 games. Hector Perez is a 23-yr-old right-hander throws in the upper 90’s and offers a pair of above-average offspeed pitches. Unfortunately, he doesn’t command the strike zone very well.
Perez posted a 7-6 record with a 4.60ERA and a 4.11xFIP He allowed 67 walks, 130 hits (.275 Opp BA) over 121.1 innings for a 1.62WHIP. Perez struck out 117 batters for a 8.68K/9 while posting a 4.97BB/9 and 1.75K/BB. Heading to the bullpen could help this.
Prior to 2019, Perez does a great job of keeping the ball in the park and on the ground. After posting groundball rates above 45% prior to joining the Blue Jays organization, Perez’ GB% dropped to 36.8% in 2018 and 39.7% in 2019. He allowed a career-high 9 home runs for a 0.67 HR/9 and 6.5 HR/FB%.
Hector Perez finished with a 3.86ERA with a .260 opponents batting average when facing right-handed batters. He walked 24 batters and allowed 59 hits over 60.2 innings for a 1.37WHIP.
When facing left-handed batters, Perez struggled. LHB posted a 5.34ERA with a .298 opponents batting average. He walked 43 batters and allowed 71 hits over 60.2 innings for an ugly 1.88WHIP. He also allowed 7 HR against LH, allowing 2 HR against RH in the same number of innings.
The Blue Jays could use a power arm in their bullpen, especially, a guy who typically pitches multiple innings in relief. However, his BB/9, FB%, and opponents batting could keep him in the minors.
I’m not sure Hector Perez has a spot in the Buffalo Bisons rotation. This could mean Perez will return to New Hampshire/Double-A where he has made 31 starts. As a member of the 40-man roster, Perez will be in the Blue Jays camp this Spring. At this time, Toronto show try Perez in the bullpen just like when Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna made the Blue Jays club in 2015.
Featured image credit: R.Mueller
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