Postgame: The Boxscore Lies

Oliver Perez of the New York MetsThe boxscore lies, so don’t worry too much about the 5 runs and 4 homers that Oliver Perez gave up in 5 innings of work. The key was that Ollie’s mechanics were extremely consistent — perhaps more consistent than I’ve ever seen him (I watched the game on MLB.com). The homeruns were given up on meatballs over the center of the plate, chest-high, except for one by Ben Francisco which was an impressive golf shot.

If there was anything to be concerned about, it was Ollie’s velocity, which seemed a little less than normal on his fastball. The TV radar gun said he was topping out around 87-88; normally I’d guess it was a bit slow, but it had Cliff Lee hitting 90-91, which I believe is accurate. On the other hand, Perez was mixing speeds very well, throwing his offspeed breaking pitches anywhere from 71 MPH to 84.

Again, the key was Ollie’s consistent mechanics. My guess is that he was concentrating more on repeating his delivery and finishing with a balanced follow-through, and less on location. When counts reached 3 balls, he was going for the middle of the plate, which resulted in getting hit hard (and over the fence). Concentrating on mechanics, rather than cutting loose without thought, also would explain the slight drop in velocity. No concerns from my point of view — sometimes you have to take two steps back to take one step forward, and now is a good time to be working on issues that will make Ollie a better pitcher come April.

Meantime, if Cliff Lee was auditioning for the Mets, he did a wonderful job of impressing Omar Minaya. His straight overhand delivery propelled a good changeup and running cutter that kept the Mets off-balance, though he didn’t throw too many of his big overhand curves. Based on how he looked on Saturday, he’d be a fabulous fifth starter for the Mets — whether the Indians are interested in trading him, however, is another story.

Notes

Ruben Gotay had one at-bat, from the right side, and struck out. Damion Easley played shortstop for some of the game, slid over to third for a few innings, and went 2-for-3. Fernando Tatis played 3B for part of the game, then was moved into left field. He may have a legitimate shot of making the 25-man roster, as his bat speed looks decent and he can play just about anywhere on the field. Brian Schneider caught half the game and made a great throw to nail Jamey Carroll attempting to steal.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude March 22, 2008 at 4:11 pm
    Thanks for the synopsis on Ollie, Joe. Likewise, my guess is that Perez will have better velocity come the regular season when every pitch “counts,” and cocentrate more on making batters swing at his pitchers instead of catering to the count once he goes to 3 balls.

    However, I have a confession. Perhaps my feelings have been spurred on a bit by his less-than-steller spring, but of our 4 big starting pitchers this year, I’m most concerned about Perez. It almost seems as though many Met fan are assuming he’ll punchout close to 200 and win 15+ games by just going through the motions. But I’m not so confident. It’s no secret Perez can be a headcase at times, and can allow his mechanics to go arye quickly and without warning. He’s also in his walk-year, which means added pressure to perform well in order to get as big a contract as possible. Also, let’s not forget he’s a guy who’s never pitched more than 196 innings in a season, and has only made it above 170 twice in 5 and a half seasons. So both consistency and durability are concerns. And his rough spring is doing nothing to ease my conscience. I guess it’s atleast a good thing that he’s only slated to be the team’s 3rd/4th starter…an is probably better, even with his flaws, than 90% of the other 3rd/4th starters in the NL.

    Also, an update in our incessant search for a right-handed 1B/OF:
    Apparently, Reed Johnson has been placed on waivers by the Blue Jays. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080322.WBbaseball20080322132454/WBStory/WBbaseball/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20080322.WBbaseball20080322132454
    I know we’ve kicked his proverbial tires before, but he does fit the bill of what we’re looking for. It’s not set in stone he’d do a better job of filling in for Alou and/or platooning with Church in RF than Pagan, Clark, Tatis, or Easley would, but he is worh another mention. Career average over .300 vs LHP justifies that. And the Jays are likely looking for bullpen help – something the Mets have plenty of – what with Janssen out for the year and Ryan still complaining of a sore arm.

  2. joe March 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm
    Perez’s numbers have been scary this spring, but if you look past the numbers and watch what he’s been working on, he looks OK. I think he’ll be fine. 15 wins and 200 IP may be a high standard, though … I’m not sure he’ll reach either. But in line with what you mentioned, how many #4s will win 15? Few #1s win 15 and go 200 innings these days.

    As for Reed Johnson … I’m still not convinced he’s anything more than a slightly younger Brady Clark.