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  1. Mariners should trade Perez ASAP.

    Comment by Slats — July 27, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  2. Clown joke bro.

    Seriously.

    Comment by Bryce Harper — July 27, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  3. Oh, come on. What team would possibly give up anything for Perez?

    Comment by James — July 27, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  4. We don’t want a winning team – we just want money.

    Comment by Howard Lincoln & Chuck Armstrong — July 27, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  5. Last time (and only other time) he averaged 93 MPH with his fastball? 2004 with the Pirates, when he had a 2.98 ERA and 3.45 FIP in 196 innings. Also had a career best 10.97 K/9 and 3.72 BB/9 that year as well.

    Comment by Bryz — July 27, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  6. Ned Colleti and the Dodgers.

    Comment by Slats — July 27, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  7. Colletti*

    Comment by JS7 — July 27, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  8. When did FanGraphs become GrammarGraphs?

    Comment by Slats — July 27, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  9. Countdown to 50 game suspension?

    Comment by bhelmuth — July 27, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  10. Seriously, I’ve noticed so much grammar trolling lately. Get over yourselves. This is a blog.

    Comment by Sir A. — July 27, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  11. You start.

    Comment by Drew — July 27, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  12. Thirteen innings. If this idea was brought up by someone in a bullpen report comments, Dave Cameron would be replying with “but it’s only 13 innings”

    Comment by Justin — July 27, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  13. Perez has always been tough on lefties, even as a starter. With the bullpen velocity increase making him tougher to hit, you would assume he would be even tougher on lefties. He’s always had that pretty good slider as a strikeout pitch, so I could honestly see him working well as a left handed specialist. Plus, you could extend him a couple of innings if you needed to rest the bullpen. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he could be a valuable piece for someone in the bullpen.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — July 27, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  14. It’s 13 IP. And he’s pitching out of the bullpen, not starting. And he walked over 5 per 9 in Triple-A. And allowed better than 1 HR/9.

    I realize all of this is speculative, and I recognize all of the caveats you’ve built in … but this is just kind of silly.

    Comment by Rick — July 27, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  15. In fairness to Dave, it is surprising the Perez is even good enough for ‘luck’ to matter, if it is ‘luck’ that is making the difference.

    Comment by LTG — July 27, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  16. Certainly Oliver Perez needs to show that he can sustain what he’s been doing over the remainder of the season, but what he’s doing is definitely real from what I’ve seen.

    Given his reputation and even his minor league numbers this season, I was surprised how good he looked right out of the gate. He was hitting his spots and when he missed he wasn’t missing by much. Even him settling in as a decent reliever would be a victory for Oliver Perez given what he’s gone through. This has been an interesting development.

    Comment by ThundaPC — July 27, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  17. No such thing as small sample size when it’s The Great And Powerful Oz.

    Remember how Michael Pineda should have been kept down in AAA, before the start of his year in Seattle, for service time reasons and “to work on a secondary pitch”? You know, that year Pineda became an All-Star and was good enough to merit a trade for a top Yankee prospect?

    Yeah.

    Comment by Snowblind — July 27, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  18. Perez has got to be worth a spare AAA utility man or something, right? The M’s need more depth, they have their next wave of Great Hope For The Franchise coming up, and the minors are looking pretty bare once the next year or two’s worth of callups like Franklin, Walker/Hultzen/Paxton, Zunino, etc. come up.

    Comment by Snowblind — July 27, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  19. still no value

    Comment by Shloimy — July 27, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  20. Velocity stabilizes insanely quickly. You can’t fluke your way into throwing 96. If we were analyzing Perez from a results based perspective, than obviously the sample would be too small. Considering that we’re noting a six MPH change in fastball velocity, this has more to do with scouting than statistics, and you don’t need anywhere near the sample to note a massive fundamental change through scouting that you do through performance.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — July 27, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  21. Yeah.. he’s had good 13-inning stints before. Let’s see how his control holds up over 50-innings as a reliever first, before he can be proclaimed “good” again.

    The article should be more aptly titled: “Oliver Perez has the Potential to be Good Again. Seriously.”

    Comment by Alex — July 27, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  22. Please show me the 13 inning stints where his fastball averaged 94 MPH.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — July 27, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  23. That isn’t the point that everyone is making.

    It doesn’t matter if his fastball is 94 or 90 if his control regresses to where it has historically been.

    Take Daniel Cabrera for instance; in 2004, his FIP and xFIP were above 5, while his fastball sat at 95. The next season, his fastball was a full 2+ MPH slower, and yet, his BB/9 fell and his FIP and xFIP were just a tick above 4.

    Sure, Perez is throwing harder, but it means nothing if he cannot maintain his control, and 13 innings isn’t a large enough sample to say he’s back.

    The fastball velocity is an encouraging sign, yes, and such is why the title should be about how Perez has the potential to be good again.

    Comment by Alex — July 27, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  24. Blogs don’t require grammar?

    Comment by I Agree Guy — July 27, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  25. I remember reading about his knee issue early in the season after he signed the contract with the Mets, and he never seemed to recover. It’s surprising to me that it took so long for him to get healthy. How does that happen out of the blue, after years of knee troubles? Glucosamine?

    I’m interested to see how he performs after his first bad outing. He’s always seemed like a headcase who can pitch well for a while, but at the first sign of trouble he completely loses it. Whether it’s a walk on a borderline pitch, an error in the field, or a blooper, when things turn south he falls apart.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 27, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  26. Am I the only one that thinks the Bryce Harper joke is not related to grammar. Perhaps he is saying that Oliver Perez being good now was a “clown joke.”

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — July 27, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  27. Apparently my keyboard prefers periods to question marks.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — July 27, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  28. I don’t understand the grammar connection.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 27, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  29. We should play in the same division.

    Comment by Jeffrey Loria — July 27, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  30. Can you hook me up with this treatment you speak of?

    Comment by Grady Sizemore — July 27, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  31. I read your piece for espn earlier today and that was the first time I even realized Perez was still in baseball.

    Comment by Matty Brown — July 27, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  32. If he has one classic ollie outing (1IP 3BB) his BB/9 jumps to 4.5. When one inning can impact it that much your sample size is too small.

    Comment by Justin — July 27, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  33. Neither of you could roster-form your way out of a wet paper bag

    Comment by Dongcopter — July 27, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  34. @Alex, the point of a headline is to get to you to read a story. A good headline often pushes the envelope.

    In this case, the headline is meant to cause a reaction, “Oliver Perez is good? Gimme a break! I better read this.”

    Seems to have served its purpose quite well.

    Now for a general nitpick of may fangraphs comments. Look, we are all here. We all read fangraphs. The vast majority of us know a thing or two about sample sizes. And Dave Cameron does as well. He’s writing to an audience where he can safely assume we know these things. There’s no reason for 10 people on every one of these posts to prove their SABR bona fides by talking about sample sizes and critiquing a post that’s pointing out a trend to watch.

    If Fangraphs listened to you guys, the daily articles would be “A bunch of stuff is happening in baseball, but we can’t comment on it until sample sizes get larger, so just sit here and do nothing for three months. We’ll be back when the data set grows. Or maybe they’d right about who was good last year, since now we can tell. Sounds like some great content!

    Dave is using an attribute that stabilizes quickly, velocity, to point out something interesting that most of us have missed. Namely, a guy that was a washed up has been has managed to get himself back into the major leagues and is showing signs he may be able to stick around. He’s showing enough positive skills for us to take note and watch what happens for the rest of the season.

    This is exactly the kind of writing I want from Fangraphs. If Dave waited until the season was over, this article would be worthless.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on Perez now, and I hadn’t thought about him in a couple of years. Thanks, Dave.

    Comment by noseeum — July 27, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  35. +1′d for “Dongcopter”

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 27, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  36. PLEASE! Somebody hook Grady up with this treatment! Does it work for bad backs as well?

    Comment by Wait Til Next Year — July 27, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  37. Walk rate was higher in AAA, so was his K rate, and his velocity has been there all season.

    While his results might be a bit flukish so far, and he could suddenly go Dan Cortes any second, there’s still something to be said for the year to year improvements.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — July 27, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  38. It’s surprising to me that it took so long for him to get healthy. How does that happen out of the blue, after years of knee troubles? Glucosamine?

    It might not be completely healthy at all, just the damage and pain minimized by not throwing as many innings per outing.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — July 27, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  39. Honestly, after watching Perez pitch for the M’s at spring training, I was convinced that would be the LAST time I ever realized Perez was still in baseball.

    Comment by Choo — July 27, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  40. Oliver Perez once won a fantasy title for me. I picked him up in April of Free agency and he won 20+ games. So I have a soft spot in my baseball heart for him and wish him the best.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — July 27, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  41. Perez was my favorite player on that 04 Pirate team. Let’s not forget, either, that Perez once shared a starting rotation with Ryan Vogelsong, and he was even further out of baseball than Ollie was the last few years. I’ll be rooting for him to find a place somewhere in the league

    Comment by Toonces — July 27, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  42. Isn’t it fair to say that the strike-throwing may be a product of small sample size but the velocity increase is not?

    Comment by chuckb — July 27, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  43. It reminds me of Andrew miller for Boston.

    Comment by Nick — July 27, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  44. “there’s probably nothing more shocking than the ongoing career rebirth of Oliver Perez”

    I’m confused why it’s surprising that Oliver Perez is good again. He almost LITERALLY did the exact same thing in the 2004-2007 seasons:

    Year ERA
    2004 2.98
    2005 5.87
    2006 6.55
    2007 3.56

    Perez, sucking for a couple years then pulling out a good season? Wow, I can’t believe it… except that it’s the story of his whole career!

    In 03 his ERA was 5.47, following up a year with an ERA of 3.50. So basically it was Good year, 1 Bad year, Good year, 2 Bad years, 2 Good years, 3 Bad years, this year. Should we start acting surprised that he might have another good year?

    Comment by B N — July 28, 2012 @ 2:04 am

  45. Interesting article. Not sure I agree with the Carlos Ruiz is an MVP candidate assertion. Should he be? Yes, but how many players on last place teams become the MVP? Even if they climb out of the cellar Im not sure he would get serious MVP consideration unless they make the PO’s.

    Comment by Wilj — July 28, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  46. @B N, I’m not sure if I should even respond to this. Perhaps you’re trolling. I sure hope so.

    You’re using ERA to quantify “good season”? ’02 and ’03 were his age 20 and 21 seasons (age at start of season). Neither of them were full seasons. In ’02 he pitched 90 innings, and in ’03 he pitched 126.2. Who cares what he did in those seasons?

    ’04 was his first full season, and he was awesome. That was pretty much his only good season. Even ’07 and ’08, he was nothing more than league average with 2.2 and 1.3 WAR respectively. His 2.2 WAR in ’07 tied him for 61st in the league with Paul Byrd and Chad Gaudin.

    He did, however, still have a lively fastball, and showed flashes of brilliance, somehow fooling the Mets into putting $36 million in his pocket. The Mets released him when he lost the fastball. A guy pitching 95 with no control, you work with. A guy pitching 89 with no control who’s approaching 30 you release, even when you owe him $12 million.

    Velocity usually does not come back when you’re on the wrong side of 30. In 13 innings this year, he’s 1/3rd of the way to matching his entire season’s WAR in 2008. So yes. This is a surprise.

    Unless you can show me some comment you made on a Mariners board when they signed him this year stating, “Hey, this is a good signing. I think Perez’s problem can be attributed entirely to his knee injury. If that’s healed he could be great out of the pen,” you can color me skeptical.

    Comment by noseeum — July 28, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  47. On the other hand, isn’t it fair to say that when observing an outlier like Perez, if you’ve seen him labor for years to throw strikes to the pitcher, then see him for 13 innings throw strikes to righthanded hitters in the AL, perhaps that enough. Or maybe it’s voodoo and it will wear off.

    Comment by Paul — July 29, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  48. Completely with noseeum. If you’re a regular FG reader you know this is a small sample without it being stated. And you also know that SSS is a fact of life. So as noseeum said, we make due with what we see or any other reliable information we can gather.

    I’m grateful for a gifted writer like Dave who can tell stories like this without making them fantasies, which is what we routinely see out of the mainstream media.

    Comment by Paul — July 29, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  49. Not to mention that, while I’m not claiming this as fact, guys with major maturity issues should probably not be expected to follow their treatment regimen with the consistency and effort necessary to overcome major injuries. And to give him the benefit of the doubt, pain management is a very individual thing, and rehab can really affect people including athletes mentally. Perhaps the birth of his child gave him some extra motivation to push through it. Sometimes every thing just comes together…

    Comment by Paul — July 29, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  50. Perez has thrown 150 strikes in 210 pitches over 57 batters. If you want to use pitchf/x instead of umpires, he’s at about 124 strikes out of 210.

    If Perez were truly a 50% pitchf/x strike thrower as the 2007-2011 seasons suggested, then his likelihood of hitting the strike zone at least 59% of the time is only 0.4% – suggesting that perhaps he’s no longer at 50% true ability.

    The binomial distribution tends to short suit variance in baseball stats, but that is still a lot of evidence that he’s changed something.

    Comment by Matthias — July 29, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  51. The issue is that you seem to conflate “not expected” with “surprising.” In probablistic terms, his performance certainly made a rebound not expected (low mean performance).

    However, given that he’s a guy whose entire pitching history was characterized by high variability (high variance), I’d hardly call it “surprising.”

    If I had a guess an ERA curve for him based on a normal distribution this year, I’d have centered him around close to an ERA of 6 with a StdDev around 1.5. With that kind of assumed distribution, I would completely unsurprised to see him end up with a season ERA of 4 or of 8 (though the latter would be slightly more surprising because the ability to demote pitchers creates a truncated distribution on this tail).

    Would I have expected an ERA of close to 2.5, which he has now? Of course not. It would be QUITE surprising if he maintained that for a whole season (especially given his FIP is closer to 4 and his ERA historically tracks his FIP well). But would I be surprised if he had an ERA a shade under 4 for the season? Not in the slightest.

    Especially when you consider that moving from a starter to a reliever generally gives you a 0.25-0.5 ERA boost, that would be close to the 1 standard deviation range and well within the 2 standard deviation range.

    I guess it depends on what you call “surprise” but if guy does something that’s between the 1-2 StdDev confidence interval, it seems disingenuous to start adding on things like “seriously.” do your titles. Once something gets beyond the p = 0.9 level, then I’m surprised (see Bautista’s breakout year). Maybe some other people are shocked to see something exceed p=0.7 or p=0.8 (shrug). Pitchers have high season-to-season variance and Oliver Perez has shown a higher season-to-season variance than the average pitcher.

    So why then should I be surprised?

    Comment by B N — July 29, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  52. Additionally: “You’re using ERA to quantify “good season”?”

    Are you intending we should use FIP (which is less predictive of future performance once you have 3 seasons of data?). Or is WAR a better judge of performance (despite its obvious issues of entangling quality with durability)? Plus, over the course of his career, he’s outperformed his FIP but not his xFIP (sorry for the confusion in the prior post, I omitted the x in xFIP by accident). All of those things make FIP and FIP-based WAR a pretty bad measure for this sort of analysis, I’d say.

    While runs against (RA) is probably a better metric, ERA seems fine to measure long-term performance. FIP or xFIP is superior for small samples, but for larger samples RA or ERA is a more appropriate measure.

    Comment by B N — July 29, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  53. Correction:

    His xFIP is close to 4 and his ERA has tracked his xFIP over his career.

    His FIP is closer to 2.5 and his FIP has been about 0.2 greater than his ERA over his career.

    Basically, his FIP has given him less credit for inducing weak contact over his career (good stuff) and is currently giving him too much credit for keeping his HR down this year (good luck). All told, FIP is a weird stat that really only makes sense for medium sample sizes (at small samples, it gives too much credit for controlling HR while at large samples it gives too little credit for controlling HR and BABIP).

    Comment by B N — July 29, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  54. I LOVE Carlos Ruiz… but he’s not an MVP candidate. He’s long been under-appreciated, now there’s kind of a rebound effect. But other guys in the league (McCutchen, Wright) are the obvious choices so far. If I had to vote today, McCutchen would get the nod without too much extra thought.

    Comment by B N — July 29, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  55. Dude, Perez’s expected ERA for 2012 was 0. And that’s because his expected IP for 2012 was 0. He was done, never to be seen in the majors again.

    Besides that, of course I conflate “surprising” and “unexpected”. They’re the same thing. Hence the conflation. In fact, look up the definition of surprising, and it’s peppered with unexpected. So I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about here.

    You should be surprised that:
    1. Oliver Perez is pitching in the major leagues
    2. Oliver Perez is pitching SUCCESSFULLY in the major leagues

    Unless you can point to some prognosticating on your part before the season, I’m going to assume you agree this result is unexpected. And being the native English speaker I am, I am going to conflate unexpected with surprising.

    Comment by noseeum — July 29, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  56. The guy walked 19 guys in 31 AAA innings but now he has command? Truly terrible stuff.

    Comment by steveh603 — August 7, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

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