When will Cleveland realize that Chris Perez is a bum?
Perez actually ... kinda ... safe?
Correction: Perez is not a bum. True, he blew four saves and took four losses last season, posting a 3.59 ERA one season after recording a 3.32 mark. But the right-hander - legitimately - recovered his strikeout prowess (9.21 K/9), and he reduced his rate of free passes (2.50 BB/9) considerably, with the aid of a two-seamer over which he had more control. Of the 23 earned runs he allowed last season, 11 of them came in three appearances (2 1/3 frames). If the rest of the Indians' bullpen hadn't been worked to the bone, perhaps Perez wouldn't have endured such misery.
Depending on your perception of the 27-year-old, these might seem like mere excuses. This closer isn't a bum, but he's not an elite fireman. His statistical indicators point toward a rebound in ERA, though, speculatively placing him in the neighborhood of someplace between 2010 (a 1.71 ERA that he won't touch) and 2012. Will your league-mates view him that way? Not all of them. The Tribe have a reinforced bullpen this year, too.
Of course, right-hander Vinnie Pestano is the man some stat mavens want to see closing contests in Cleveland. And, with his tendency to fan or induce infield pop-ups from the opposition, he can do the job. The soon-to-be 28-year-old's arsenal has evolved a bit to become more of the 9.77 K/9 variety roto managers saw last season than the 12.19 K/9 he posted in 2011, however. Pestano should remain one of baseball's top setup men and the clear next-in-line. Expect Terry Francona, who rarely ruffles feathers, to keep this arrangement.
Give one reason to invest in ... OK, just to investigate this rotation.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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