When Hernan Perez grounded into a double play to end the 2014 ALDS, Detroit Tigers fans bemoaned a lack of better pinch-hitting options on the bench. Perez, who hit for Andrew Romine against Baltimore Orioles lefthander Zach Britton, was one of two light-hitting options on the Tigers' bench at the time (the other was shortstop Eugenio Suarez).
Nearly eight months later, not much has changed. Perez has spent most of the year at the end of the Tigers' bench, appearing in 22 of the team's 50 games. He has just 34 plate appearances on the year. Nearly one-third of those plate appearances have come on the team's current west coast road trip, as the Tigers were without Jose Iglesias for their series in Oakland.
Perez was penciled into the lineup last night -- his seventh start of the season and third on this road trip -- but once again came up empty. He was 0 for 3 against Angels starter Hector Santiago, stretching his hitless streak to 22 at-bats. Perez is 0-for-19 with one walk in the month of May.
Usually, numbers this bad are reserved for pitchers. Justin Verlander went hitless in 35 plate appearances before notching his first career hit in 2014. Anibal Sanchez, who used to swing a bat regularly while with the Florida Marlins, is 1-for-11 in a Tigers uniform. Shane Greene hasn't even swung the bat in half of his plate appearances as a Tiger.
You could hide Perez's numbers in with those pitchers and they would not look out of place. In fact, Perez's numbers pale in comparison to many pitchers who have swung the bat in 2015.
- If Perez were a pitcher, his .088 on-base percentage would rank 58th out of 76 pitchers with at least 10 plate appearances.
- Hernan Perez is hitting .061/.088/.061. Bartolo Colon is hitting .105/.100/.105.
- There are 27 pitchers that have hit a double this season. Four pitchers have homered. Hernan Perez has zero extra base hits.
- Five pitchers have drawn more walks than Perez, and none have more than 23 plate appearances this season.
- There are 38 pitchers with at least one RBI. Perez has yet to drive in a run this season.
- Fourteen pitchers have scored two runs or more. Perez has only scored once.
- Perez is tied with Zach Greinke with one stolen base, which would lead the league.
This is a bit unfair (and probably mean) to Perez, who provides the Tigers with the defensive flexibility that a Tyler Collins or Daniel Fields would not. Perez has appeared at all four infield positions this year, and was working on playing some outfield during spring training. However, his offensive numbers have been brutal, and he has looked overmatched at the plate more often than not. He has been worth -0.7 WAR this season, making it more and more difficult for the Tigers to justify keeping him on the roster for his glove alone.