Cleveland Indians reliever Rafael Perez is a quality set-up man, but his velocity decreased dramatically. This season, his average fastball speed has been at 87.7 when it is usually two miles per hour higher, and the cause of this was recently found out to be an injury. He has been put on the 15-day DL with a strained lat muscle in his shoulder, but he won’t be out for too long.
The 30-year-old RP was worth 0.8 WAR with a 3.00 ERA last season, but he has a 5.06 xFIP this season and has a lucky ERA. Perez is projected to have a 4.37 ERA by ZiPS this season. He has pitched in just 7.2 innings this season, so not many conclusions can be drawn other than he is injured and still managed a 3.52 ERA through the injury.
The Indians have called up Nick Hagadone (born on New Year’s Day) from AAA to replace the veteran left-hander, with Hagadone projected to have a 4.15 ERA this season.
Rafael Perez will be missed by the Indians, as he has been a good set-up man for this team over the last few years. He was worth a combined 1.3 WAR in 2010 and 2011, but it should be noted that his fastball velocity is slowly falling. This should get him back to the high-80s and not mid-80s range, which makes a huge difference. However, some of Perez’s velocity issues are due to decline and not just injury.