Washington Nationals: Opening Day 2017 Roster Projection
By Ricky Keeler
Like Roark, Perez will be going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. For the third time in his career, he will be participating in the WBC for Team Mexico. His first season with the Washington Nationals was a disappointment.
Over 64 games, the 35-year-old left-hander had a 4.95 ERA, struck out 36 batters, and walked 20 in 40 innings. Perez struggled big time in the month of September as he had a 12.61 ERA and opponents were hitting .360 against him in nine appearances.
One of the main problems for Perez last season was the control of his pitches. While he did have over ten strikeouts per nine innings for the fourth straight season, his 4.5 walks per nine innings were much higher than his 2015 total with the Diamondbacks and Astros (three).
The highlight for Perez’s 2016 season wasn’t really his pitching. His bunt in the 15th inning on April 24 against the Twins ended up helping the Washington Nationals tie the game thanks to a throwing error by John Ryan Murphy. Plus, he had a double in a July game against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Now, Perez did pitch well during winter ball as his Mexican League team reached the Caribbean Series final. During the series, he threw three perfect innings and he had 13 strikeouts in 7.2 innings during league play.
While winter ball doesn’t have the same talent level as the big leagues, can Perez carry that success from winter ball into the regular season? In the final year of his two-year contract, the left-hander will look for much better results in 2017.