Cleveland's Chris Perez To Replace Injured Kerry Wood As Indians' Closer

Nick Kappel@@NickKappelAnalyst IIIMarch 22, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 09:  Chris Perez #54 of the Cleveland Indians delivers the pitch during the game against the Chicago White Sox on August 9, 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After posting a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with a 34:11 K:BB ratio in 29 second-half innings last season, Chris Perez became a popular 2010 sleeper pick among fantasy baseball circles.

Now the secret is out.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer , Indians’ closer Kerry Wood “will miss six to eight weeks with a strained muscle below his right shoulder.” While Wood insists he’ll be back much sooner , his well-documented injury history makes his claim tough to believe.

Fantasy owners should run—not walk—to snag Perez off the waiver wire. Even if Wood returns on schedule, there’s no guarantee it’ll be as the Indians closer.

The 24-year-old Perez has shown flashes of brilliance is the past, punching out 12 batters per nine in the minors . His mid-90’s fastball and hard, mid-80’s slider have translated to the majors , as he’s mowed down 10 batters per nine via strikeout.

His control is cause for concern, as he issued six free passes per nine innings in the minors , and has walked 4.47 batters per nine in 98 2/3 major league innings .

Despite this glaring issue, Perez (who came to Cleveland from St. Louis as part of the Mark DeRosa trade last June) appears to be in the Indians’ long-term plans.

Assuming Perez holds down the ninth-inning duties for the entire season, the former Miami Hurricane is capable of posting high strikeout totals with 25 saves, a sub-4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.

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