Following his 10-6 season in 2013 with a 3.62 ERA, the Texas Rangers have good reason to believe they have one of the game's best, young pitchers in 22-year-old lefty Martin Perez.
Now, the rest of the country is starting to think the same thing.
CBS Sports fantasy writer Al Melchior came out with a Rangers fantasy preview and listed Perez as his breakout candidate. You could make the argument Perez's breakout season was last year, but you could also make the argument he's set for it this year considering he wasn't a regular big-leaguer until late-June of last season.
In fact, his first start of 2013, a spot start on Memorial Day in a doubleheader, Perez took the loss and had a pretty rough game. He waited another month to make his next big-league start at Busch Stadium against the loaded Cardinals and tossed a gem. After his second call-up, he went 10-5 with a 3.55 ERA in his 19 starts.
Here's what Melchior wrote about Perez, make your own judgment on whether you agree or disagree:
Even though Perez entered last season with only 38 big league innings, he would up being a stabilizing force in the Rangers' rotation after the team struggled to get good performances from their No. 4 and 5 starters. The 22-year-old surpassed expectations with a 10-6 record and a 3.62 ERA, but there is still room for him to improve. Perez frustrated his dynasty league owners in 2012 by losing his knack for missing bats, and given his pedestrian 6.1 K/9 ratio last season, he could enter 2014 with the stigma of being a contact pitcher. Perez actually induced swings-and-misses on 10.5 percent of his pitches in 2013, and that usually corresponds with a much higher strikeout rate. He may not improve much upon his record or ERA (he did strand 77 percent of his runners), but Perez has a chance to enhance his value by becoming a strikeout pitcher with a lower WHIP.