Chris Perez, RP, Indians
At one time Chris Perez was the Cardinals’ closer-in-waiting, but at midseason in 2009 St. Louis traded him to Cleveland for Mark DeRosa during a playoff push. Now, with Kerry Wood out 6-8 weeks because of a strained muscle beneath his pitching shoulder, Perez finally gets his chance as a big-league closer.
Perez has a career K/9 ratio of 10.7 that along with a 1.19 WHIP could indicate future success as a closer. Perez’s WHIP was even better than that (1.08) after the trade to Cleveland last year. Wood’s history of arm injuries might make him slow to recover, so Perez could be Cleveland’s closer well into May.
What’s that worth in your fantasy draft? Look at Perez as a possible third closer in standard mixed leagues. Getting quality innings from him early in the season is just the boost owners who wait to draft closers need. However, should Perez falter (he is only 24 after all) keep Jensen Lewis and prospect Josh Judy in mind. They are expected to be next in line in Cleveland.