There is a lot of hyperbole and corporate sounding optimism with the beginning of spring training. Just think about how many players are in the “best shape of their life” or how often managers say they are excited or impressed by the way a player has performed in spring.
It’s a small sample against the dregs of other organizations, especially early in spring, so it’s not exactly a fair representation of how a player’s ability. Further, the best players often look as though they are weak links, because they are trying to tune their approach and are trying something new or different at the plate or on the mound.
Still, there are some measurables that can indicate that changes a player made in the offseason, or coaching in spring are really going to have an impact on a player during the regular season. One of those things is pitcher velocity, and Martin Perez has seen his increase.
Perez was likely brought aboard because of something that Thad Levine saw when the Rangers drafted him while Levine was in charge in Texas, because surely, it wasn’t his performance that drew the attention of the Twins. It’s encouraging, that Perez seems to be unlocking something now that he is in camp with the Twins.
It’s far too early to ascertain the ultimate payoff, but the initial feedback is an encouraging sign that the Twins front office do know what they are doing when it comes to developing and fleshing out their pitching staff. There were a lot of eyebrows raised when Perez was signed, but if the pitching velocity increase is real and Perez can evolve into the player Levine thought he would be as a prospect, the Twins may well be on their way to finding a diamond in the rough, and starting to repair a reputation as pitching gurus.