Francisco Perez was signed at the beginning of the 2023 season but wouldn’t get the chance to contribute at the big league level until August. Perez showed glimpses in his limited chances for the A’s and has turned the eyes of many in his Triple-A stints, but he’ll need to fix his accuracy for good if he wants a stable MLB role.
Perez and the A’s agreed to a minor league deal on April 22, 2023, after being released from a non-roster deal with the Washington Nationals.
What were the expectations?
With two lefty relievers already on the roster at the time, Perez was expected to continue developing himself at the Triple-A level upon his signing. In 2022, the 25-year-old Perez struck out 29.9% of batters he faced in Triple-A but he also walked 15.7%. The potential was certainly there, but the A’s didn’t have a spot for Perez immediately. In early August, Perez would finally get his shot in Oakland after fellow lefty Sam Long was optioned.
Perez was on the A’s for the final two months of the season, and in that time he pitched to a 5.94 ERA in 16.2 innings. He surrendered 17 hits and 11 earned runs while striking out 14 batters and walking eight. In Triple-A in 2023, Perez continued to show the swing and miss potential striking out 31.2% of batters he faced, but still walking 11.8%.
What went right? What went wrong?
Perez’s kryptonite has always been his walks, and 2023 was no different. Perez walked 10.8% of the batters he faced which is one of the lowest marks in his career but still about 3% over the MLB average. His strikeout numbers also weren’t quite as lofty as he showed in the minors, but Perez still showed an excellent ability to miss barrels. His HardH% was 10% below the MLB average despite having a high ERA, and the average exit velocity on balls he pitched was just 84 mph.
Still under contract with the A’s in 2024, expect Perez to continue being the fringe Triple-A/MLB arm with certainly the potential to be much more. Perez is still just 26 years old and has shown flashes of dominance albeit in Triple-A, but if he can be more consistent with his walks he can definitely be an intriguing part of the A’s pen. With other lefty arms like Long, Richard Lovelady and Sam Moll now off the team, the path is laid out for Perez to be a contributor out of the A’s pen in 2024.