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2012 MLB Closer Profile: Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Chris Perez #54 of the Cleveland Indians poses for a portrait during a photo day at Goodyear Ballpark on February 28, 2012 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
Rich Pilling/Getty Images
Todd FarinoCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2012

Chris Perez had a breakout year in 2011. 

After three seasons (two-and-a-half technically), Perez has established himself as the closer of the Cleveland Indians. Last season, Perez was 36/40 in save opportunities with a 3.32 ERA. 

While on the surface, 2011 looks like a tremendously perfect year for Chris Perez, it was anything but that.  First, his ERA and WHIP jumped from his previous year's success. What was also strange was Perez's inability to record strikeouts. 

After posting 61 Ks in 2010, he recorded only 39 in 2011.  The good news is we didn't expect 61.  In fact, 2011 was more to the norm for Chris Perez, and if you overlook his great numbers in 2010, you'll notice that he actually had a great season. 

At 26, Chris Perez is one of the younger closers with great years ahead of him.  He has a natural maturity to the game, and playing for Dave Duncan back in St. Louis will serve him well throughout his pitching career. 

Going into 2012, Perez is playing on a one-year year and hoping to sizzle in 2012 and get the big deal he deserves. 

While the Indians are a rebuilding team, they are also a young team with plenty of great players on it.  Even with all the problems they had last season, the Indians still managed 80 wins.  I believe with a healthy squad, the Indians can win between 82-85 games in 2012.  

The question on the minds of many are who is the real Chris Perez?  Has he peaked, or can he achieve 40-45 saves? 

As a straight fastball (94-95MPH) and slider pitcher, he doesn't throw anything fancy and depends on hitting his spot and pitches to contact.  Contact closers aren't my favorite, because it only takes one hit in a lot of cases to blow a save, and the more contact you can avoid, the better.

Perez should have a fine year, and in a perfect world with an 83- or 84-win Cleveland Indians team, Perez could achieve 40 saves.  Either way, the best years of Chris Perez are yet to be seen, and 2012 won't even be there yet, but he should continue to get better.

 

The Closer Report 2012 Projections

38 Saves, 5 Wins, 2.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 40 Ks 

 

2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis

Perez is just not one of my favorite closers in the draft, and there are many more closers with better value. 

He's on a team that we just aren't sure how well they will perform, and he himself has been inconsistent over the past couple of years.  His ADP has him going in the 17th round, and I think that is appropriate—maybe even a tad early.

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