During the past few years, one of the worst pitchers in the National League played for the New York Mets. After two years of 6.81 ERA and a WHIP over 1.90, the Mets decided that it was finally time to eat 12$ million and release Oliver Perez. Boosted by relationships within the Nationals organization, the Mexican 29 year-old LHP signed a minor league contract with the club on March 23rd.
After reporting to Extended Spring Training, Perez's velocity jumped up to the low-90s (according to reports) as opposed to the mid/upper 80s he had been throwing in Port St. Lucie with the Mets. Eventually, after enough work fixing his mechanics, it was time for Perez to be assigned to a club. So come mid-May Perez was sent to AA Harrisburg to start the trek back to the Majors. Of course, Perez will be paid the minimum by the Nats this year, while the Mets still owe him $12 Million. Which begs the question, will he make it to Nats Park in 2011? Let's take a look at the numbers.
Since his May callup, Perez has started 5 games with pretty impressive results.
May 19: 5 IP. 1 H. 1 R. 0 ER. 2 BB. 3 K. Win.
May 25: 1 IP. 1 H. 1 R. 1 ER. 0 BB. 1 K. (Suspended after 1 inning due to rain)
May 29: 6 IP. 5 H. 0 R. 0 ER. 0 BB. 5 K. Win.
June 4: 7 IP. 8 H. 3 R. 3 ER. 1 BB. 7 K. Loss.
June 11: 5.1 IP. 7 H. 3 R. 2 ER. 0 BB. 7 K.
That puts his stats on the year at...
7.00 SO/BB ratio
Granted these numbers are against AA competition, but if these numbers were in Major League action this would give Perez career best numbers in all three categories; better than in 2004 when he won 12 games with a 2.98 ERA and 1.153 WHIP.
Perez's next start is scheduled for this evening against the Altoona Curve, and we will see if he can continue his comeback. With the current state of flux of the Nats Bullpen (12 different relievers used so far), it is entirely possible that Perez may make an appearance at Nationals Park in the next few months, provided that he continues his resurgence.
We will be paying attention to the next few months of Ollie Perez's performance in a little segment I like to call, Ollie-Watch. So stay tuned.
[UPDATE - 10:02 AM]
As of early this morning, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Oliver Perez has been placed on the DL. So much for paying attention to his start tonight.
Do you think that Perez might make it to bigs again this year? Sound off in the comments!