#4 Martin Perez - Texas Rangers starting pitcher
With the Rangers clearly being sellers last season at the trade deadline, many thought that Martin Perez would be moved. He was in the middle of a career year and was to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Perez made it clear that he wanted to stay in Texas and the John Daniels led front office, obliged him. After being unable to reach a multi-year deal with Perez, the new man in charge, Chris Young, extended the $19.65 million qualifying offer to him. Perez eventually accepted the offer and returned to the Rangers for the 2023 campaign.
2022 saw Perez get his first All-Star selection, along with putting up career best numbers in nearly every category. This season the numbers aren't at the level they were last year, but they are still extremely solid. Through 12 starts, Perez has pitched 68 innings, has a 6-1 record, 49 strikeouts, a 3.97 ERA, and a 1.441 WHIP. The biggest issue that he has had this season, is he has already given up 10 home runs. Last year, he only allowed 11 all season, over 196 1/3 innings pitched.
Perez was the only rock on the pitching staff last season. He took the ball every fifth game and gave a hapless Rangers team a chance to win. That didn't go unnoticed by the holdover guys from last year's club. He is a leader on and off the field. One of Perez's most enjoyable roles is that of the unofficial, official celebratory Gatorade bath giver.
There is room for improvement for Perez, but like Heaney, he goes to the mound every fifth start and does his job. He is a true professional and adds a bit of veteran leadership to the pitching staff. Being a lefty that can command the zone, signing Perez to another year in Texas was a key offseason move.