The Perez Enigma: Oliver Is One of the Greatest New York Mets Pitchers, Except..

Harris DeckerSenior Analyst IJune 30, 2008

What is it about Oliver Perez that makes him so interesting?

Is it the fact that in some games he can't get an out to save his life?

Is it the fact that in other games he looks Cy Young like?


I don't think anyone in New York has the answer to this question. Since he arrived in New York, we knew his rap sheet. He was wild at times but has great ability.

He has proved that as a member of the New York Mets. Last season, he recorded 15 wins and pitched very well in only his second full season.

Pitch selection, batting match-ups, and speed on the fastball have never been issues for Oliver. His problem has come within his own head. He tends to completely loose focus on the mound at times and that throws his mechanics way off.

I was very worried for Perez's life in New York after the firing of pitching coach Rick Peterson. Peterson seemed to always know what to say when he came out to the mound and talked to with him.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be affecting him in the early going with new pitching coach, Dan Warthen at the helm.

Against the Yankees this past weekend, Oliver looked stunning. After a few minor changes to his wind up and position on the rubber, he looked like the pitcher all Mets’ fans want him to be.

He has this crazy tendency to only show up mentally in games that are on a big stage, with big things resting on them. He has now pitched 14 shutout innings against the Yankees and has pitched well in the playoffs for the Mets (in limited starts).

He needs to learn to pitch like it’s a big game, every game.

I know that I am a hypocrite. It was just days ago that I wrote an article that basically called for him to be traded if possible. I am still not taking that back. I believe that he can be used to get some good prospects in return and will be hard to sign in free agency because he is a Boras client.

That being said, I would be perfectly fine keeping Oliver for the rest of the season and hoping that he wants to come back to New York.

He just needs focus, and with that, you could be looking at a hot No. 3 starter coming down the home stretch.