Replace Martin Perez in the rotation with Devin Smeltzer
When the Twins threw Martin Perez out as a piggyback starter with Michael Pineda in April, Twins fans didn’t know what to expect from either pitcher. With Perez being a reclamation project from the Texas Rangers and Pineda someone coming off a 2017 Tommy John surgery, Twins fans had a sinking feeling about the back end of their rotation.
Pineda has turned out alright despite a couple of trips to the injured list, but Perez has hit rock bottom in recent weeks. After starting out the season with a 5-0 record, a 2.83 ERA and a 39:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 1/3 innings, Perez has come back to earth with a 3-5 record, 5.54 ERA and nearly a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
With his latest cratering performance against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon, the Twins can’t risk trotting Perez out there even if he is the fifth starter. As the Twins try to stay afloat in the American League Central, it might be able to look for other options such as rookie Devin Smeltzer.
Smeltzer has been solid for the Twins this season, posting a 1-1 record and an ERA of 2.28. While everybody in the league except for the Twins have seemed to figure out Perez, Smeltzer still brings a bit of an unknown to the mound and Minnesota may be able to capitalize on that in the season’s final months.
Of course, there are risks here, such as throwing a 23-year old out in a playoff game at Yankee Stadium or Minute Maid Park, but the Twins don’t have too many other options. With every game being important, it might be time to give the kid his shot.