June 27, 2012
The situation: With a pitching staff suddenly decimated by injuries, and a bullpen stretched to the limit due to some short starts, the Texas Rangers reached down into their minor league system to bring up much-hyped left-hander Martin Perez, simply to give them some innings, and because his presence on the 40-man roster made for an easy transaction.
Background: While only 21 years old, Perez has been on the radar for some time now. He burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2008, and the following year had a 2.31 ERA at low Class A Hickory with 105 strikeouts in 93⅔ innings. Seen as one of the top left-handed prospects in the game at the time, he's rarely dominated on the same level since moving to Double-A, but scouts remain impressed with his stuff. While his ERA at Triple-A Round Rock is 4.59, he's coming off his best run in some time. Two starts ago, he fired seven one-hit innings, and in his last outing, he needed just 90 pitches in a complete-game four-hitter.
What he can do: Perez has the arsenal to be a major league star. His 91-94 mph fastball, big-breaking curve and deceptive changeup are all above-average pitches, and he shows above-average control of all three with an attacking style. His inability to find any consistency of late has frustrated scouts and the Rangers alike, but it's likely no coincidence that his past two starts came at a time when the Texas brass sent Greg Maddux down to work with him.
Immediate big league future: Perez is just here to give the Rangers some temporary length. With Scott Feldman taking Colby Lewis' turn in the rotation on Thursday, Perez will provide long relief in the bullpen. His up-and-down minor league performances, as well as the need to adjust to a new role, make projecting his performance nearly impossible, but in the short term, he's a fantasy non-starter with little chance to pick up wins or saves.
Long-term: Scouts see Perez as a future No. 3 starter with a chance to be a No. 2, but while his ceiling hasn't changed, his performances over the past three seasons have left some feeling he's less likely to reach it.