Ollie Perez

If you want to know why I'm so excited to have Oliver Perez in the Mets' system, go check out his video highlights over at MLB.com. Check out his thirteen strikeout performance in 2004 as a 22 year old. Perez was hitting 96 MPH with consistency late in the game, and was touching 98 at other times. He has a slider that just falls off a cliff.

Maybe his mechanics are shot and there's no hope for him, but I doubt that's true. Mechanical problems can be fixed; talent like his can't be taught. Rick Peterson specializes in mechanics, and routinely has sent Mets pitching prospects down to the lab in Birmingham to get a battery of bio-mechanical evaluations.

Peterson and the Mets were unable to fix Victor Zambrano, but Zambrano never had a season like Oliver Perez had in 2004. That year, Perez posted a 2.99 ERA and struck out 239 batters in 196 innings. He recorded nine double-digit strikeout games. Zambrano wasn't a reclamation project because there was nothing to reclaim; he was never any good.

In 2004, Perez was better than Scott Kazmir is now, and I think he has more upside than Dontrelle Willis. He's still just 24 years old; turns 25 in a couple of weeks. The talent is in there. If Rick Peterson and the Mets can turn this guy around, they could have an ace for years to come.

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