Texas Rangers fans longing for meaningful baseball in March have been blessed with purest form of the sport when it’s not in October.
I mean just look at this energy:
If fans want to get a real look at players and their outlook for 2023, look no further than the World Baseball Classic. Everyone wants the opportunity to represent their country and all of these men of the chance to do so on the world’s stage, while playing the sport that they love.
Martin Perez was fortunate enough to represent Venezuela in this year’s Classic, getting opening game start against the stacked Dominican Republic.
How did Martin Perez represent the Texas Rangers in his outing?
Martin Perez got the ball against arguably the greatest team ever assembled in World Baseball Classic history and executed. The DR had the privilege of having the first three members of their batting order consist of Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, and Manny Machado. Not to mention ALCS and World Series MVP Jeremy Pena batting in the six-hole.
In 3.1 innings of work, Perez allowed one run along with four strikeouts and two walks. He was able to help Venezuela secure a 5-1 victory over the Dominican and start off pool play right.
Beyond the box score, how effective was Perez?
Perez stuck to his 2022 guns, forcing soft contact landing in the hands of defenders. Perez forced seven swings and misses to go along with his four strikeouts.
Something of note during his appearance was the reemergence of his changeup, which forced five of his seven swing and misses and also was his primary pitch in the contest. His sinker fell back to the third slot, behind his cutter. His sinker and changeup both saw a significant 100 RPM boost from last season.
This is of course, a small sample size but it is absolutely worth keeping an eye on going into the season. An RPM increase like that makes a pitch all the more effective than they used to be.
I was sweating a bit during this game, after endorsing Perez heavily, but I am happy to report he looks to be trying to stick to the formula. If another pitch mix change is what he believes is required, then so be it. It was nice to see that he had been working in the offseason to maintain the effectiveness of his pitches and in some cases, increase it all together.
Who can earn the final spot and help the Texas Rangers make a playoff push? Speaking of the starting rotation there are a lot less open spots for pitchers..
I am ready for Texas Rangers baseball but in the meantime, feed me all the World Baseball Classic I can get .