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MLB Today: Apologies to Chris Perez

August 2, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Jake Peavy has really turned things around for the Chicago White Sox.
Now that he’s winning, Jake Peavy isn’t hitting the bottle as hard.

Hey, when we’re wrong, we’ll own it. And we were dead wrong about Chris Perez.

We spent most of the offseason running him down, and when it came time to rank him, we pegged him only 21 among RPs, and basically insinuated that Perez was a prime candidate to lose his job.

Well, here were are in early August, and Perez has easily been a top 10 reliever and arguably a top 80 Fantasy player overall.

He’s been on a serious roll since mid-July (seven straight scoreless outings, five of them hitless), and now that he’s survived the non-waiver trade deadline (there had been talk that San Francisco was very interested in him), Perez’s value for the remainder of the season has been solidified.

The key worry with Perez was a strikeout rate that declined last year to an unacceptable level for a closer. Well, he sure has addressed that this year, averaging 10.3 Ks/9, his best since 2009. Meanwhile, his command has morphed into elite levels. That’s manifested itself in a better ERA, and one that seems far more sustainable based on the peripherals. Last year, it always felt like Perez was on the brink of falling apart.

All those owners that invested in Vinnie Pestano this spring have to be extremely disappointed with Perez’s recovery, but hey, no one can blame you – heading into the season, this was a bullpen situation rife for a revolution. And it’s kind of ironic that given how much turmoil there’s been in bullpens across the majors this year that Cleveland’s has been among the most stable.

The bounce back in Perez’s strikeout rate is only half the story; combined with his new-found control, he’s become one of the top closers in the AL.

Perez has had his share of issues in Cleveland, alienating many fans with his outspoken rants, but Tribe fans have to be breathing a sigh of relief that he’s still an Indian after this week’s trade deadline.

Quick Hits

  • Back in early-June, we mentioned that if Phil Hughes (and Ivan Nova) were going to start churning out quality starts, the Yanks would have enough pitching. Well, that’s exactly what Hughes has done, tossing quality starts in eight of his last 10 outings, and even avoiding the long ball in five of his last nine starts – the first five times he’s done that all season. He wasn’t exactly brilliant Wednesday night, but did enough to toss another QS, earn win No. 11 and lower his ERA under 4.00 for the first time since getting rocked in his second start of the season. Hughes has gained tons of traction on the wire, and if there’s a chance he’s still available in your shallow league, he’s worth grabbing.
  • Man, the whole he took PEDs and should have had his MVP rescinded discussion sure seems to be in the rear view mirror for Ryan Braun, doesn’t it? On Wednesday, he smoked his NL-leading 29th jack of the season, putting him on pace for a 45-homer, 30-steal season. Woah. We certainly didn’t see that coming – that Braun would build on his MVP numbers while he wasn’t juicing any more. Colour us surprised at this turn of events.
  • After a bit of a swoon with back-to-back rough starts in mid-July, Jake Peavy seems to have righted the ship. He tossed eight highly effective innings Wednesday to win his second straight start and ease any concerns owners had that one of the biggest Fantasy surprises of the season might be breaking down in the second half. Heading into the season, we ranked the oft-injured Peavy as the 134th best SP to own. Um, ya… about that. Peavy has re-emerged as a top 10 starting pitcher this season despite more long ball issues. The dude’s throwing down his best WHIP since 2005. Yup, Peavy’s back as a stud hurler – as long as he remains healthy. Kudos to him for surprising the crap out of us – in a good way, you understand.
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