Before 2010, some wondered if Ryan Perry was on the short track to taking over as the team's closer. The knock against him? He was too raw and too fresh-faced. Well, I don't buy the latter argument. Either you're good enough to pitch in the ninth inning or you're not. We may have a second consecutive reliever win the Rookie of the Year Award in the American League. Tell me those guys were not experienced enough to close. But was he too raw? Perry certainly needed to show better control in 2010 than he did in his rookie year.
Happy to say, he cut his walk rate down from 13.9 percent of plate appearances to 8.8 percent. On the other hand, he saw his strikeouts drop as well, from 22 percent to 17.2 percent.
Hey, whatever it takes. Ideally Perry will continue to keep his walk rates down while striking out a few more batters next year.
I'll give him a strong B for his efforts in 2010.
Looking at Fangraphs, we can see that Perry's fastball, slider and changeup were all above average. His fastball sits around 95.5 mph on average. The slider was worth the most per 100 pitches, but even then just 1.4 runs above average. So we're talking positives across the board but not huge positives.
Perry managed to get batters to chase a few more pitches out of the zone, and he got about the same swinging strike rate in 2010 as he did in 2009: about 8.7 percent.
One thing to note: Perry was used in higher-leverage situations, probably because manager Jim Leyland felt he could trust him more not to walk people.
What 2010 tells us about 2011
Perry is a hard one to prognosticate because of such a limited professional track record. He hasn't even racked up 160 total innings in professional ball since being drafted in 2008. I would hedge my bets by noting his batting average on balls in play looks too low to project at the same level going forward. However it's hard to put a finger on where exactly you'd expect it to be, other than "closer to .300." For that reason his FIP and xFIP are both above his ERA. But they were at every other stop of professional ball so far too.
I think Perry can be counted on to duplicate his season if he can strike out a few more. With strikeout and walk rates similar to where they are now, he'll probably take a minor step or two back in the ERA department even if he is a smarter pitcher.
But like I said, it's really hard to say with any level of certainty.