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Get to Know Him - Martin Perez

The Texas Rangers signed Venezuelan free agent Martin Perez back in 2007 when Perez was just 16 years old.  Whoever scouted this kid, knew exactly what they were doing.  Perez made his 31st career start last night, 5th of the season, and completed his 2nd straight complete game shutout.  He improved to 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA over 38 innings.

Perez has spent parts of 6 seasons in the Minors, and owns an unimpressive 32-32 record with a 4.12 ERA over 123 appearances and 112 starts. He had shown the ability to strike out more than a batter per inning, but for his career owns a 7.5 K/9 against minor league hitters. Perez did not transition well into the Majors, with an ERA over 5 across 38 innings in 2012. At just 21 years old, I'm sure that did not surprise the Rangers organization. Last season, he made 20 starts and went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA. This season, Perez has made 5 starts and allowed just 6 runs over 38 innings, none in last 26 IP.

23-Apr@ OAKW 3-09.0300023178109W(4-0)1.42
18-Aprvs CHWW 12-09.03000181210109W(3-0)1.86
13-Aprvs HOUW 1-08.0500032129107W(2-0)2.70
8-Apr@ BOSW 10-76.1844033127101W(1-0)4.50
1-Aprvs PHIW 3-25.27220079785-3.18

Perez is getting 60% of batted balls on the ground,best in baseball behind teammate Robbie Ross and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake. He is not overpowering and his fastball is usually in the low 90s, but he is able to locate it so well that he throws it 62% of the time! He will then mix in his change-up (17.5%), slider (11%) and curve ball (9.5%) to force those ground balls. Much like real estate, pitching is all about location, location, location.
Click to see Perez in action @ PitcherGifs
In a season that began without Derek Holland the Rangers were desperate for pitching and it looks like Perez, Yu Darvish and Robbie Ross are the only sure things in the Rangers rotation. Tanner Scheppers didn't work out and Colby Lewis is returning from injury, while Matt Harrison is looking to make his first start since April 6th of 2013 this Sunday.

Prior to his last start, FanGraphs had a great article about his bad fastball and awesome sinker.