MARTIN Jimenez PEREZ
Image of El De Guanare
Nickname:   El De Guanare Position:   LHP
Home: N/A Team:   RANGERS
Height: 6' 0" Bats:   L
Weight: 200 Throws:   L
DOB: 4/4/1991 Agent: OL Baseball Group
Uniform #: 33  
Birth City: Guanare Estado Portuquesa, Venez.
Draft: 2007 - Rangers - Free agent
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2008 NWL SPOKANE   15 61.2 66 53 28 15 0 0 0 1 2 0.274 3.65
2009 TL FRISCO   5 21 29 14 5 5 0 0 0 1 3   5.57
2009 SAL HICKORY   22 93.2 82 105 33 14 0 0 1 5 5   2.31
2010 TL FRISCO   24 99.2 117 101 50 23 0 0 0 5 8   5.96
2011 PCL ROUND ROCK   10 49 72 37 20 10 0 0 0 4 4   6.43
2011 TL FRISCO   17 88.1 80 83 36 16 1 1 0 4 2   3.16
2012 PCL ROUND ROCK   22 127 122 69 56 21 2 0 0 7 6   4.25
2012 AL RANGERS   12 38 47 25 15 6 0 0 0 1 4 0.297 5.45
2013 AL RANGERS $492.00 20 124.1 129 84 37 20 1 0 0 10 6 0.267 3.62
2013 PCL ROUND ROCK   6 36 29 28 8 6 0 0 0 5 1   1.75
2013 TL FRISCO   2 7.1 14 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 1   11.05
2014 AL RANGERS $1,000.00 8 51.1 50 35 19 8 2 2 0 4 3 0.269 4.38
2015 PCL ROUND ROCK   4 20 27 17 2 4 0 0 0 0 1   4.95
2015 TL FRISCO   2 5.2 7 8 1 2 0 0 0 0 0   3.18
2015 AL RANGERS   14 78.2 88 48 24 14 0 0 0 3 6 0.285 4.46
2016 AL RANGERS $2,900.00 33 198.2 205 103 76 33 0 0 0 10 11 0.27 4.39
2017 AL RANGERS $4,650.00 32 185 221 115 63 32 0 0 0 13 12 0.301 4.82
2018 PCL ROUND ROCK   1 6.1 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 1 0   1.42
2018 TL FRISCO   1 6 2 4 3 1 0 0 0 1 0   0.00
2018 SAL HICKORY   1 5 2 9 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2018 AL RANGERS   22 85.1 116 52 36 15 0 0 0 2 7 0.329 6.22
2019 AL TWINS $4,000.00 32 165.1 184 135 67 29 0 0 0 10 7 0.279 5.12
2021 TAE WORCESTER   1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.25 0.00
2021 AL RED SOX   36 114 136 97 36 22 0 0 0 7 8 0.296 4.74
Personal
  • In 2007, the Rangers signed Perez as a free agent (see Transactions below).

  • In 2008, Perez was the youngest player in the Northwest League at age 17 and was making his pro debut after signing out of Venezuela in 2007. He finished seventh in ERA (3.65) and allowed just three homers in 62 innings.

  • In 2009, Baseball America rated Perez as the 5th-best prospect in the Rangers' organization. They moved Martin up to #3 in the Texas' farm system in the spring of 2010.

    Then, in the winter before 2011 spring training, they ranked Martin as the #1 prospect in the Rangers organization. In the offseason before both 2012 and 2013 spring camps opened, Perez was rated as the third best prospect in the Texas farm system.

  • On April 11, 2009, Perez made his first start at low Class A Hickory a memorable one. The 18-year-old threw four no-hit innings and combined with righthanders Tyler Tufts and Fabio Castillo for a seven-inning no-hitter over Bowling Green.

  • Martin is a true professional. He takes care of his business, taking his job very seriously. And he has a lot of talent. He also has a real aptitude for receiving information and then applying it very quickly. And he is mature beyond his years.

  • In 2009, Perez learned a better command of the English language.

  • Perez was born and raised in Guanare, Venezuela, and still makes his home there. He got his unquenchable work ethic from his father, Martin, who drove a taxi, and his mother, Leida, who was a cleaning lady at the local school. She also passed along to her youngest son a deep love for baseball as well as earning enough money to buy him his first glove.

    "It was not new. It was an old glove and I had it for five days," Perez said. "A guy threw me a softball and it broke the web. Every day I get up I thank God for my mom and dad. We didn't have much money, just enough to eat, but I know there are Latin players who didn't have what I have.

    "I am proud of my parents. They were always there for me and pushing me to be a big league player. They gave me my life. Now they don't have to work anymore. I want to take care of them and give my family a better life. My father is a quiet man, he's not one who is going to say, 'I love you.' But I feel it from him. When I talk to him on the phone, he says, 'Take care and God bless you.' That's all I need."

    Perez's father was not a baseball fan. In fact, he used to hate the sport. It was the Martin's mother who got him started when he was 9 years old.

    "I was always running around and throwing things in school," Perez said. "So the people told my mother, 'You've got to give him a sport to play. He needs to play baseball.'"

    It was either that or a singing career. Yes, Martin loves to sing—and not just in the shower. Llanera music is part of the culture on the Venezuelan plains, a form of country-western music that celebrates the cowboy lifestyle of the region.

    "My Dad loves that music," Perez said. "I sing in restaurants. I remember my friends said I could either play baseball or have a singing career. But if you play baseball, you can make more money and give your parents a better life by playing baseball. That's when I understood what I wanted to be."

  • Martin honed his pitching skill by throwing rocks at iguanas. He used to throw at the 5-to-6-foot iguanas that are native to Venezuela.

    The precocious kid probably didn't endear himself to the local animal rights activists, but it helped him develop his superb command. When he was 10, he pitched Guanare to the National Series championship and got his picture in the local paper. That's when Perez knew he had a chance to pitch professionally.

  • A few years later, Venezuela-based agent Felix Olivo came to the same conclusion. "He said he wanted to see me pitch," Perez said. "I ran home and told my mom, 'Some guy wants to see me throw.' I didn't even know who he was. I threw two warm-up pitches and said I was ready. He said, 'Don't you want to stretch out more?' I told him I was ready. I threw five pitches and he said, 'That's enough. Don't show me anything more.' "

    Through Olivo, who has become his second father, Perez started pitching in the most competitive leagues in Venezuela, including two years in Valencia, an industrial town of two million people. That's where he really learned his craft.

    "I would sit in my room, take a towel, and practice my delivery in the mirror," Perez said. "I would do that for two hours a day, about 300–500 times. That's why I have good mechanics. Then I would watch YouTube. I would watch Felix Hernandez or Johan Santana pitch. Santana was my hero. I would watch where he threw the ball, when he threw his curveball, when he threw his changeup. I'd watch his body language and what he did when things went bad. I watched everything."

  • Perez was only 16 years old when the Rangers signed him on July 2, 2007. They were impressed not only with his arm, but his advanced feel for pitching. They pushed him through the minors, and he was almost always the youngest pitcher in his league. He had a tendency to struggle immediately after being promoted to a new level, but once he learned to control his emotions on the mound, he ended up flourishing. Perez finally earned a spot in the Rangers' rotation.  (T.R. Sullivan - MLB.com - 2/16/2014)

  • June 2, 2016:  Perez and his wife, Viclena, had their daughter, Malena Kate. (Ryan Posner - MLB.com)

  • Nov 2016: Team Venezuela listed Perez as part of its rotation for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

    THAT BULL

  • The bull is dead. "Killed and ate him," Martin said. That was the bull that startled Perez while he was sitting on a fence at his Venezuelan ranch in December 2017. Perez fell off the fence and landed on his right elbow, fracturing the radial bone in the tip of the elbow and requiring surgery.

    "When I went back from Arlington after the surgery, I told my brother we needed to kill the bull and eat him," Perez said. "We did, too. It was good meat."  (Sullivan - mlb.com - 3/19/2018)

  • March 22, 2018: PETA responded with a statement, calling Perez's action unjustifiable and sending him a basket of vegan food.

    "Have you considered what might have caused the incident? Perhaps you frightened him," wrote Andrew Bernstein of PETA, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "Perhaps he felt that he had to defend his turf, just as you or I would. We have to ask why you felt that you had to prove that you had power over him by robbing him of his life. We hope that upon reflection, you'll feel that making a show of eating him was not only a cruel thing to do but also an unjustifiable, vengeful act that makes you look small."

    In the second half of the statement, the organization recommended Perez follow the lead of other athletes and stop eating animal products in favor of a vegan lifestyle.

    "To get in shape for the season, would you consider changing your diet, as so many other professional athletes have done recently in order to improve their performance? From Wilson Chandler and Lewis Hamilton to Kyrie Irving and Rich Roll, vegan athletes are changing the face of sports. I'm sending you a basket of delicious vegan treats for you to enjoy, and we hope you'll take this opportunity to make a change."

  • 2022 All-Star Game:  Pérez entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and got Jeff McNeil to ground out to second base, Ronald Acuña Jr. to ground out to second base, and Juan Soto to ground out to third base. He needed 16 pitches to get the three outs.

    With a scoreless frame by Pérez, each of the last five Texas pitchers to appear in the Midsummer Classic have posted one shutout inning: Joe Nathan (2013), Yu Darvish ('14), Cole Hamels ('16), Kyle Gibson ('21), and Pérez ('22).

  •  

    Jan. 2023: Perez committed to play for Team Venezuela in the WBC.



    TRANSACTIONS

  • July 2007: The 16-year-old Martin Perez signed with the Rangers for a bonus of $580,000 via scouts Rafic Saab, Manny Batista and Don Welke. One Rangers official compared Martin to Ron Guidry, even dubbing him "The Venezuelan Gator."

  • November 7, 2013: Martin signed a four-year, $12.5 million contract with the Rangers. The deal also includes club options for 2018, 2019, and 2020. 

  • November 2, 2018: Perez chose free agency.

  • January 20, 2019: The Twins agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Perez, which includes a club option for a second season. (Editor's note: The option was not exercised.)

  • Nov 4, 2019: Perez elected free agency.

  • Dec 12, 2019: The Red Sox agreed with Perez on a one-year, $6 million contract. The deal also includes a $6.2 million club option for 2021.

  • Nov 1, 2020: Martin chose free agency. The Red Sox declined their $6.2 million option on the lefty starter. 

  • Jan 16, 2021: The Red Sox resigned Martin with a one-year deal and a club option for 2022.  Pérez will earn $4.5 million in 2021 with a $6 million option ($500,000 buyout) in 2022, so he'll be guaranteed $5 million.

  • March 10, 2022: Perez signed a one-year contract with the Rangers, worth $4 million.

  • Nov. 6, 2022: Perez became a free agent.

  • Nov 15, 2022: The Rangers signed free agent Perez to a one-year, $19.6 million contract.
Pitching
  • Perez has a 91-94 mph two-seam SINKER with life down in the zone and a 91-97 mph four-seam FASTBALL. He really varies speed on his excellent 78 to 81 mph powerful 1-to-7 hammer CURVEBALL, which has good depth.

    In 2012, he added an 83-86 mph SLIDER. And he also has good feel for his 83-86 mph fading CHANGEUP—an excellent one that can serve as an out pitch. It is a very good change, with Martin able to achieve as much as a 12-17 mph difference between it and his heater, and without losing any arm speed in the process. (Spring 2018)

  • 2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 18.7% of the time; Sinker 43.6% of the time; Change 16.7%; Slider 11.6%; and Curve 9.4% of the time.

  • 2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 21.7% of the time; Sinker 37.4% of the time; Change 20.4%; Slider 10.5%; and Curve 10.1% of the time.

  • 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 16.9% of the time; his Sinker 25.4%; Change 22.1%; Curveball 4.7%; and Cutter 30.9% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94.5 mph, Sinker 94.2, Change 85.6, Curve 79.5, and Cutter 88.8 mph.

  • In April 2011, Perez threw the shortest perfect game in Texas League history for Double-A Frisco. The game was stopped in the sixth inning due to rain after Perez retired all 15 batters he faced.

  • Perez is small and wiry. And he is fearless on the mound, exhibiting maturity beyond his years.

  • Scouts rave about Perez's picture-perfect delivery and short, compact arm action that evoke comparisons with fellow Venezuelan lefty Johan Santana. He pitches from a nice, downward plane. Martin utilizes great hand speed to create deception. He has improved his ability to repeat his delivery, dominating on the outings when he does with pinpoint command. When he falls behind in the count, he gets hit.

    Perez has an amazing ability to manipulate the ball in a wide variety of ways.

  • Perez is not big, physically, so durability is a question. But he has an electric arm and a lot of moxie and determination.

    Martin throws naturally in the sense that his arm works very well in conjunction with his body. It is a nice fluid motion and easy arm action.

  • Back in 2010, Martin's fastball command deserted him at times, playing a major role in his disappointing season. When he got in trouble, he would try to reach back and throw harder. That caused his head to jerk, his alignment to get out of whack, his release point to vary and his control to falter.

    His lack of strikeouts and high walk rate is concerning. His upside is not what it was once thought to be. He needs to miss more bats to have success in the Majors. (Spring 2013)

  • Breathing is an involuntary action, but the incorporation of the simple technique into Perez's routine has been able to help Martin control his emotions.

    In 2013 at Triple-A Round Rock, while working with pitching coach Brad Holman, Perez learned the breathing tactic. Holman noticed that Perez was over-striding in his delivery and pulling the ball over the middle of the plate. Holman felt the issue was emotional, not mechanical, due to excessive aggression on the release, which commonly occurred in crucial situations.

    "A lot of the times, not just Martin, pitchers are guilty of trying harder," Holman said. "It's human nature to try harder and compete more. With pitching, sometimes that's not always advantageous. Sometimes it's just important to breathe, relax, and almost take a 'try-less' approach."

    Perez learned to throw unemotional pitches with runners on base, which can be a difficult adjustment under pressure. That's where tactical breathing came into play. Holman said pitchers at times hold their breath in those situations, but Perez takes a final deep breath before his delivery to loosen his upper body and help concentrate on executing his pitches.

    "If you're trying to pitch with your nerves and muscles hard, it's not going to be the same in every situation," Perez said through an interpreter. "Everything has to be relaxed. As soon as I shrug my shoulders, if you see me shaking my shoulders, that means I'm not confident. Until I feel that I'm in the right place and breathing in and out, that's when I feel confident."

    "By trying less, sometimes you actually incorporate some other key checkpoints in creating velocity that get lost [otherwise]," Holman said. "You try to just muscle the ball, a lot of the times you lose timing, you lose direction, you lose flexibility. It's kind of a strange truth and really hard to sell to the pitchers sometimes because of their competitive juices, but to try less, sometimes in some regards helps them throw harder." (Master Resfarsion - MLB.com - 8/22/2013)

  • August 11, 2013: Perez became the youngest Rangers pitcher to throw a complete game in more than 20 years when he went the distance against the Astros in a 6-1 win.

  • May 2014: Perez extended his homerless streak to 46 consecutive innings, including 43.2 in 2014 and 2.1 innings in 2013. Then Nolan Arenado of the Rockies hit a two-run shot off of him.  (Etkin - mlb.com - 5/5/2014).

  • 2016: Martin picked up a Rangers single-season record, along with his first win since June 26, in a 5-2 victory over the A's at Globe Life Park.  Perez induced his 32nd ground-ball double play, breaking the club record set by C.J. Wilson in 2011. The last player in the Majors to induce as many ground-ball double plays in a season was Astro Dallas Keuchel in 2014 (36).

  • For the 2016 season, Martin was second in MLB in ground ball outs, with 287. Marcus Stroman led with 310 ground ball outs.

  • His sinker, when it's on, has late movement, Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez said. Perez's slider is an effective complement, and his changeup gives hitters a different look. But with the opposing batters looking to take advantage of a hanging offering, the lefthander has to work the ball in and out.

    "I think I have to attack," Perez said. "That's the key: Keep the ball down. I have my plan." (2015)

  • 2019 Improvements: This isn't the old Martin Pérez. He's got extra zip on his fastball. He's emphasizing his cutter. He's got fellow Venezuelan lefthander Johan Santana as a mentor in the clubhouse. It's only Spring Training, but Pérez's work is continuing to pay off on the field, as he again topped out at 97 mph in four scoreless innings in Minnesota's 10-1 victory over the Pirates.

    Pérez said he's using his hips more in his delivery after working with new pitching coach Wes Johnson and his knowledge of biomechanics. Though Pérez insists he's not necessarily focused on adding velocity, his fastball showed consistent velocity around 95 mph for the second straight start—up from an average of 92.8 mph last season, per Statcast.

    "Before, I just used my arms," Pérez said. "Now, I'm using all my body, and you guys can see the results. I don't miss inside anymore. One or two, but before, I missed—like I was trying to use all of my upper body. Now, I just stay on the line and just throw the ball in front of my eyes."

    Pérez said that he's working on his delivery every morning and working with Santana, who won two AL Cy Young Awards. Pérez is trying to emphasize attacking hitters inside with his fastball and utilizing his changeup. (Do-Hyoung Park - MLB.com - March 9, 2019)

  • 2020 Season: Perez was one of the few bright spots on the Red Sox pitching staff, proving to be the club’s most consistent starter. While a 4.50 ERA screams mediocrity, it actually led the team among qualified starters. His ERA was also spoiled by his final start of the season when the Orioles roughed him up for five runs in a meaningless game. Prior to that outing, Perez owned a respectable 3.88 ERA.

    As Perez piled up solid performances, fans began jumping on the bandwagon. This led to a phenomenon spreading across social media to celebrate #PerezDay whenever the lefty took the mound. Perez took notice and the warm reception from the fans motivates him to deliver his best for his team and this city, as he explained on MassLive’s The Fenway Rundown podcast.

    “As soon as they started to post that in the media, I went like, ‘Oh my God.’ This is going to be special for me, but I have to do things better. Not hard, not more than I can do, but I have to go out there and do the best performance I can do. Especially for the fans. Perez Day, for me, is one of the best days of my life. Every five days just go out there and know that people say, ‘This is going to be a Perez Day, we have to watch the game. It’s really good. I promise to the fans and to all of Boston, the city, that I’ll be ready for going out there and doing my best and trying to win the games for my team and for the city.”

    Perez was thrilled to generate this level of excitement for the city but he did so by pitching in empty ballparks. It remains uncertain if fans will be allowed at Fenway to begin the season but there’s growing optimism that the park will be packed at some point this year as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available. #PerezDay will be taken to another level if the lefty has the energy from the fans to fuel him on the mound. (Sean Penney - Feb. 7, 2021)

  • May 20, 2022: Pérez pitched his first shutout since 2014, scattering seven singles as the Rangers beat Houston 3-0, ending the Astros’ nine-game home winning streak.

    It was the first complete-game shutout for Texas since Kyle Gibson beat the Astros 1-0 on Sept. 16, 2020.

  • 2022 Season: Perez was far and away the best pitcher on the Rangers, compiling a 12-8 record with a 2.89 ERA in 32 starts. Those are ace-like numbers from a pitcher who has never been more than a fourth or fifth starter for his career before this season.

    Much like Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Kyle Gibson before him, the Rangers seem to have unlocked the veteran Perez, and the hope is that he’ll re-sign for 2023 and beyond. What a comeback.  (Seth Carlson - Oct. 10, 2022)

Fielding
  • Martin holds runners on base well.
Career Injury Report
  • June 2010: Perez was on the D.L. for a week or so.

  • July–August 2010: Martin was on the D.L. with a lower back strain, but returned to action in a couple of weeks.

  • March 3-May 12, 2013: Perez suffered a broken left arm when he was hit by a comebacker during a spring exhibition game.

  • May 11-end of 2014 season: Martin was on the D.L. with inflammation in his left elbow. Further review showed a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and is looking at the possibility of undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, a procedure that would sideline him for at least a year.

    Perez's other option, since it is only a partial tear, was to try to rehab the elbow without surgery. But he would still be out 10-12 weeks and there was no guarantee he wouldn't ultimately need the procedure anyway.

    May 18, 2014: Perez underwent Tommy John surgery via Dr. Keith Meister.

  • March 11-July 17, 2015: Martin was placed on the 60-day D.L.

  • June 24-July 3, 2017: Martin was on the DL with fracture and laceration of right thumb.

  • December 19, 2017: It was announced that Perez would miss about four months after undergoing surgery on a fractured right elbow. At his ranch in Venezuela, Martin was startled by one of his bulls and fell on his non-throwing elbow.

    April 2018: The bull is dead. "Killed and ate him," Ranger Martin Perez said. That was the bull that startled Perez while he was sitting on a fence at his Venezuelan ranch back in December. Perez fell off the fence and landed on his right elbow, fracturing the radial bone in the tip of the elbow and requiring surgery. "When I went back from Arlington after the surgery, I told my brother we needed to kill the bull and eat him," Perez said. "We did, too. It was good meat."

  • April 30-July 14, 2018: Perez was on the DL with right elbow discomfort.

  • Aug 30-Oct 7, 2021: Perez was on the IL.