Three factors behind Eury Pérez’s success as Marlins rookie throws another gem vs. Mariners


Miami Marlins right-hander Eury Pérez made the first quality start of his career against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, throwing six shutouts, striking out six hitters and only Allow 3 runners on base. Through seven major league games, he has a 1.80 ERA and a 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Not bad for someone who doesn’t celebrate their 21st birthday until next April.

Perez’s talent was one of the contributing factors to the Marlins’ second-place finish in the NL East. (They lead by 17 majors in one game, but that may prove to be unsustainable, which is another story.) So we want to highlight one of the most exciting games in the game — With each passing day, we’re one step closer to making the playoffs — important rookies.

Three factors help explain Perez’s rapid ascent.

1. A good heater

The late Tom Seaver once said that the most important ball is the fastball and the second most important ball is also the fastball.

Times have changed since Seaver’s statement. Today, the starter is more allowed to use his secondary balls frequently, even using them as his primary balls. Still, Seaver’s overarching point remains valid. Consider Perez. He doesn’t use his fastball as often as Seaver — he throws about 46 percent of his heaters, making it his bell, but not to a predictable degree — but it’s certainly what keeps his arsenal going. engine.

Pérez’s fastball is a premium ball.He was doing about 97 mph and he was one of nine Major League Baseball This season’s starters (at least five starts) are traveling at 100 mph. Considering his ability to get off mounds, resulting in a deeper release point, his heater has an effective speed of nearly 98.5 mph. The pitch doesn’t just coast on speed, either. Perez’s fastball has more than 17 inches of induced vertical penetration. Pitchers like Zac Gallen, Gerrit Cole and Julio Urías have fastballs with similar verticality and release heights.

Perez hasn’t started hitting misses with his fastball — he’s hitting 13 percent below average — but the swing-and-miss numbers will show up at some point. That is, FanGraphs hosts pitch modeling data that attempts to measure the quality of each pitch in terms of its properties. Pérez’s fastball ranks 18th in “quality” (out of 491 eligible pitchers). That puts it on par with the fastballs of Spencer Strider and Jacob deGrom.

Of course, you don’t need to know or care about models to conclude that Pérez’s fastball is promising. It wasn’t his only strike, either.

2. Arsenal depth

While Perez’s fastball hasn’t dodged much hurdles so far, he’s made up for it by dodging the bat with his second pitch. The other three products he threw more than 10 percent of the time: a pair of steals and a changeup. The three courses produced the lowest odor rate of 38%.

One of the interesting things about Pérez’s avatars is that they benefit greatly from a new concept called seam-shifted wakes. Essentially, some pitches may move in unexpected ways due to the interaction of the seam orientation with the air, creating an optical illusion for the batsman.

If this all sounds too nerdy and obscure…well, fair enough. Just know that Pérez creates at least a 15-degree deviation between his rotation-based and motion-based breakouts on all three of his side moves. Which means, in layman’s terms, there’s a lot more deception in his arsenal than you might think. Add to that his sheer power and you’ve got something special brewed.

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Much of Perez’s success will depend on what he’s throwing, but there’s also the question of who he’s throwing to — and we’re not referring to Miami’s receivers.

3. Opponent quality

We’ve been praising Pérez throughout this article, and for good reason. He is a very talented young man with a bright future ahead of him. We do feel obliged to point out that he hasn’t exactly faced the top flight in his first seven games.

In fact, take a look at Pérez’s opponents so far, and how they rank in terms of points scored and wRC+, a composite metric hosted on FanGraphs that takes the ballpark into account, among other variables:

That’s seven starts, only one of which was against an above-average offense, at least as judged by wRC+. Instead, he faced the third-worst offense five times and the 19th-ranked offense six times.

Nor does pointing this out take anything away from Pérez. You can only market on a given schedule. However, this is one factor in assessing why he rules the way he does.

Perez is sure to face tougher competition in the near future: His next start will be against the Toronto Blue Jays (fifth in wRC+), and after that he will face the Pittsburgh Pirates (14th). We doubt he’ll find a way to deal with that, and no matter what success the Marlins have, he’ll continue to be important — this year and in the future.





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