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Hernán Pérez Player Profile
Hernán Pérez is going on his fifth year with the Brewers. He is one of a tight group of Venezuelan born Brewers, along with Jesus Aguilar, Orlando Arcia, Jhoulys Chacin, Manny Piña, Junior Guerra, and non-roster invitee Deolis Guerra. He plays everywhere on the diamond, even serving as an emergency pitcher and catcher. Pérez’s profile discusses everything from white bread and surgeries to the explanation of his hidden value beyond the WAR numbers.
Get Acquainted with Pérez
Pencil Drawing Courtesy of Desere Mayo
“Pan Blanco”: According to MLB.com, former Milwaukee pitcher Matt Garza takes the honor for this nickname. The name means “White Bread” in Spanish, and Garza endearingly gave this moniker to his friend.
According to Tom Haudricort, Pérez underwent surgery this off-season to remove a bone chip from his left wrist.
There was good reason #Brewers Hernan Perez wasn't same at plate last year. Just revealed played much of season with bone chip in left wrist. Had surgery in offseason.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 16, 2019
It was painful at times last year, but he managed to play through it. Prior to 2018, Pérez was raising his career averages in many statistical categories. The injury might help explain why he plateaued at his career averages last year. He certainly does not look like a player coming off surgery. In the Brewers second spring training game he blew up, going 2-for-4 with a home run, double, and 7 RBI.
Inside the numbers
Basic Career and 2018 Stats
Pérez has been a productive player during his five years in Milwaukee. Manager Craig Counsell has always given him regular playing time against lefties. He is a solid platoon/bench bat against left-handed pitchers for the team. For his career, he has slashed .273/.293/.444 for a .737 OPS.
Milwaukee’s starters at second base, Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas are both left-handed hitters. Pérez’s success against lefties bodes well for him to continue seeing regular playing time against southpaws. His right-handed bat at second base just became more important as another depth option, Mauricio Dubon is out indefinitely. He also is an effective pinch runner, stealing 64 bases during his career with an 81% success rate.
Performance by Pitcher Type
Pérez craves power pitchers. In the chart below, his OPS, BA, OBP, and SLG are either the highest or second-highest in their respective categories versus any pitcher type. In other words, he likes the fastball. Unfortunately, he brings some swing and miss tendencies with it as his career .285 OBP in his Basic Stats indicates.
Favorite and Least Favorite Pitchers
Who are Pérez’s favorite and least favorite pitchers to face in the NL? The table below lists the top 5 for each category. The division rival Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates show up on this list often. Milwaukee fans are happy to see the first name on the list – Cole Hamels.
Pérez’s slash line against the Cubs pitcher is an astronomical .545/.583/.818. His OPS is a superior 1.402. Brewers fans will enjoy throwing that tidbit of information into conversation with the rival Cubs fans. Just make sure Kyle Hendricks is not pitching that day. As good as Pérez is against Hamels, he is that much challenged against Hendricks. He has nine more plate appearances against Hendricks, but has still only mustered up a line of .158/.200/.211 for a paltry OPS of .411.
Surprisingly, there are a couple of Pirates pitchers that are in Pérez’s top five in Jameson Taillon and Francisco Liriano. Pérez normally does not do well against the Pirates, but he certainly shows off the lumber against Taillon, hitting three home runs against him in 21 PA. Steven Brault claims the title as Pérez’s most difficult pitcher to face. He has held Perez to a .067/.067/.067 line across the board. Pérez’s OPS against Brault has nowhere to go but up. It currently sits at .133.
NL Stadium Performance
Like many fastball hitters, Pérez frolics in the high altitude of Coors Field. Despite not hitting a home run there, he hammers his way to a 1.038 OPS. Pérez inflates his OPS by hitting for a gaudy .439 batting average at Colorado with five doubles in 44 PA. Surprisingly, his best hitting ballparks lie outside the NL Central Division.
PNC Park in Pittsburgh rings in as his least favorite park. His batting average comes in just under the Mendoza line. In a large sample size of 101 PA, his slash line scowls at .198/.238/.271 for an OPS of .508.
Pérez By Opponent
It is not just the ballparks in the Central Division that prove to be a challenge for Pérez, but it is also the opponents. Out of all the teams in the division, he only exceeds his career average .672 OPS and .388 SLG against the Cincinnati Reds. Certainly, this is something he looks to improve on this season.
However, outside the division, the Philadelphia Phillies are by far his favorite opponent. He slashes .377/.400/.604 with a 1.004 OPS. Considering that Citizens Bank Park is his fifth-worst park to hit in, he obviously is making up for it at home when the Phillies come to town. Pérez and his bat will be attempting to keep up this trend as the Phillies are pushing to contend this year, especially now that the Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Pérez is a do-it-all player on defense. As mentioned, he plays all around the field. However, he also carries a cannon for an arm and solid glovework wherever he plays. Some players might lose their focus on defense playing so many different positions. Pérez is not one of them.
Despite shifting around on a regular basis, he only committed four errors all season. He does not get the credit he often deserves for being an adequate replacement at shortstop either. Check out this double play he started last September courtesy of MLB.TV.
His versatility does not show up in his WAR numbers. WAR does not calculate versatility. His versatility and defense may go unnoticed by some, but it certainly pleases his skipper.
Pérez Makes the Pitching Staff Better
His 13.50 ERA in a little over three innings pitched last year is deceiving. His prowess as a pitcher is not how he makes the pitching staff better. Counsell’s faith in Pérez’s abilities allowed the Brewers to carry 13 pitchers last season. For long stretches last year he was Milwaukee’s fourth outfielder. The team was able to function at a high level without carrying Keon Broxton or Brett Phillips very often. It further helped matters that Pérez never went on the disabled list all season, even playing through the pain of his wrist injury.
Without a player like Pérez, the Brewers would not have carried a 13th pitcher very often and the starters would have had to work deeper. The bullpen would have been more overworked and the starters would have been less effective in later innings. It was previously demonstrated in “Milwaukee Brewers DH: Impact of the Universal DH on Small Markets” that the Brewers were one of the best, innovative, and most economical pitching staffs in the league. Thus it can be reasonably argued that Pérez’s solid play, defensive acumen, and durability helped the pitching staff keep it’s run prevention down.
“Pan Blanco” Makes a Tasty “Sandwich”
Matt Garza was a visionary when he coined the nickname “Pan Blanco.” Bread does not always get much credit for a tasty sandwich, yet it is needed to hold everything together. Similarly, Pan Blanco does not always get a lot of hype, but he is an integral part of the complete “sandwich” called the Brewers.
Next Milwaukee Brewer Player Profile
Again, this is just one of many profiles in a series. The next player profile up is revealed with clues.
- He’s Greek.
- He’s antlered.
- He hustles with blue-collar gumption.
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