The Milwaukee Brewers have brought K-Rod back and have plenty of viable currently on the 40-man roster to pitch out of the bullpen. But just as Zach Duke came out of nowhere to be one of the most important pieces in the 2014 ‘pen, former closer and non-roster invitee Chris Perez will play a huge role on the 2015 roster. Not only will he be an important piece, but his role on the team will be bigger than K-Rod’s when it is all said and done.
At one point, Perez was one of the best closers in all of baseball. The two-time all-star has 133 career saves, including seasons of 36 and 39. When he was at his best with the Cleveland Indians, the ball rarely left the yard.
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But after two great seasons, Perez saw his ERA balloon over four in 2013 as he lost his job as closer. Last season for much of the year things were not much better pitching of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Through July his ERA hovered over five and he looked nothing like his all-star form.
After dealing with an ankle injury however, he came back strong. Perez finished September without allowing a run in seven outings, and finished the year scoreless in 10 of his final 11 outings. He was back to his once dominant self.
He has entered this spring hopeful for a spot again in the bullpen and as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweeted, his goals have not changed.
Still offering plus fastball that averaged 94.2 mph last season and a two-seamer that according to Fangraphs is just as quick, Perez definitely has the tools to return to dominance this season. Last season Duke entered with little expectations and quickly became one of the most reliable arms on the roster. While Perez may not close again in 2015, I believe that he will not only make the roster, but be one of the most counted on late inning arms on the team.