- ZiPS projection – 1.4 WAR
- Over/Under – Over
Martin Perez’s career has yet to take off as planned. Once one of baseballs top pitching prospects, even drawing some Cliff Lee comparisons, Perez has struggled to stay consistent. He will be 26 heading into Opening Day which is still young enough to hold out hope.
Consistency hasn’t been the only thing standing in Perez’s way. He has pitched over 100 innings twice since debuting in 2012 and over 150 innings once. Injuries have slowed his development, but he was able to pitch almost 200 innings in 2016.
If Perez can finish around 200 innings again, it’s hard to see him producing 1.4 WAR or lower. He produced 1.8 WAR a season ago and 1.6 WAR in 2015 while only pitching 78 innings.
With that being said, Perez will need to reverse some alarming trends. His strikeouts per nine innings have taken a nose dive while his walks per nine innings have steadily increased, reaching a career high in 2016.
Perez is at his best when he’s forcing contact. In 2015 he produced a career low 3.40 FIP while giving up a career low in home runs. Perez yielded a 22.7 hard hit percentage in 2015, a career low, while yielding a 30.7 hard hit percentage in 2016, a career high.
If Perez can stay healthy throughout the year he should be able to outperform his projections. If he can revert back to producing weak contact, it could finally be his breakout year.
Prediction – 1.8 WAR