For better, for worse: The curious (head) case of Oliver Perez
Do want a pitcher that that has struck out more than a batter an inning in 7-plus seasons? And has held batters to only a .242 average during his career? And won 26 games since 2007? And best of all, he's a young veteran in his prime at 27. You may have guessed I'm talking about Oliver Perez. Perez is available in about ¾ of leagues despite unquestionable raw talent. The always-wild lefty took it to another level in 2009. In five starts he walked 21 batters in 21 innings. It would be incorrect to say that Perez has "Steve Blass disease" -- A World Series hero in 1971, Blass suddenly lost his command between the '72 and '73 seasons. Unlike Blass, Perez' meltdown was neither sudden nor surprising. Anyone that drafted Perez knew he was a high risk/high reward proposition.
Manager Jerry Manuel finally had enough and removed Perez from the Mets' rotation. Perez is banished to long relief for now, which is the worst thing for him and his fantasy prospects. He needs to pitch to get his head screwed on straight. Perez' former teammate, Steve Trachsel, began the 2001 in similarly horrid fashion. Trachsel, a bit of a head case himself, was nevertheless man enough to do the right thing. He volunteered to go to the minors to work out his problems. Trachsel did just that and returned to the Mets later that season and pitched well. Perez needs to work on his mechanics and confidence.
Is a talent like Perez worth keeping on a fantasy roster? Fantasy owners have voted "no" in large numbers, and I have to agree. Pitching infrequently will prolong his problems.
Perez is not the only talented 20-something that's taken a turn for worse this season. Unlike Perez, a number of them did end up in the minors.
There are some guys toiling away in the minors that deserve better...