Will The Real Oliver Perez Please Stand Up?

Oliver Perez has always been something of an enigma. A power throwing southpaw who got to the majors with San Diego at a young age and had some early success, he was sent to Pittsburgh along with Jason Bay in the ill fated Brian Giles deal and turned in an amazing 2004 season, striking out 239 batters in 198 innings on his way to posting a 2.98 ERA at age 22. At that point, he looked like one of the best young hurlers in baseball.

The wheels came off the bus quickly, though, as he lost his command of the strike zone and dealt with mechanical issues. In just a year and a half, he went from Pittsburgh ace to New York reclamation project, as the Mets picked him up and hoped to get his career back on track. It worked, too, as he threw 177 quality innings last year and helped add some firepower to the Mets rotation. However, while he has become an asset on the mound, you never really know what you’re going to get from Perez on any given day. Here are his starts from 2007 and 2008, broken down into groupings of Game Scores (where 50 represents an average start, 40 or less is lousy, and 60 or more is quite good).

20-29: 3
30-39: 7
40-49: 4
50-59: 8
60-69: 10
70:79: 5

While Perez’s personal average game score in 2007 and 2008 is 52.8, he’s been disastrously bad in 10 those 37 starts. In three of his first four starts this year, he didn’t give up a single run. In the other start, he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings. Perez is both occasionally great and occasionally awful. The end result is a pretty decent pitcher, but certainly not one you want to bet on.

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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

3 Responses to “Will The Real Oliver Perez Please Stand Up?”

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  1. drew says:

    Has anyone done a study of game scores and consistency? ie If player A and player B both put up an average game score of 50 over twenty starts… but pitcher A is all over the board where pitcher B scores are between 40-60, which pitcher has more value?

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  2. Trev says:

    It took forever to find this, but David Gassko did a study back in 2006 on consistency in starting pitchers.

    (I can’t find the companion piece though, which says that you want a consistent offense but inconsistent pitching.)

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  3. Tom Au says:

    Perez was a maverick both on and off the field in Pittsburgh, where he never quite fit in. Hooray for the Mets, who have been able to make something of him and get his career more or less back on track.

    In a “round table” discussion last year, I asked Omar Minaya how he felt about what was in effect a Nady for Perez trade (although the original motivation was for the Mets to get Roberto Hernandez to stand in for the injured Duaner Sanchez). Minaya’s reply was that he liked having a left-handed pitcher with a (relatively) low ERA. But he added, “I got something but I gave up something too” (Nady, now a valuable hitter for the Pirates).

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