Nationals Claim Lefty Off Waivers:
Washington’s Nationals announced on Friday afternoon that they claimed 24-year-old, left-handed pitcher Francisco Pérez off waivers from the rechristened Cleveland Guardians.
Pérez, 24, was 4-0 with a 1.87 ERA over 30 games and a combined 53 innings pitched as a reliever between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in the Guardians’ system in 2021, walking 29 and striking out 82 as the Nationals noted in a press release on the latest move for their rebooting ballclub.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 12, 2014, Pérez debuted in the majors this past August, walking three and striking out five in 6 2⁄3 innings, over four appearances overall, in which he gave up six hits and three runs (4.05 ERA).
“A former starter, Pérez converted to the relief role in 2021,” the Nationals wrote on Friday, “... and tossed more than 1.0 inning of relief in 18 of his 30 outings.
“He pitched to a 0.63 ERA (3 ER/43.0 IP) and recorded 70 strikeouts in those 18 outings.”
In a mid-October article on players to watch in Cleveland’s system, MLB.com’s Mandy Bell wrote that after his impressive 2021 campaign in the minors and debut, his, “...potential at the big league level is evident, and the soon-to-be Guardians will keep a close eye on his development.”
Pérez spent seven seasons in Cleveland’s system, starting for the most part, dealing with injuries in 2019 and then not pitching in 2020 with no minor league season, but he put a strong campaign together in the minors this year and earned the call-up.
“He threw a little bit in winter ball this offseason a couple of innings and then came back in minor league spring training this year and his stuff had improved significantly,” Guardians’ Assistant GM Carter Hawkins said, as quoted by Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga this past August.
“We moved him to the bullpen and continued to see the tick up in stuff.”
“Long and short of it is he’s a guy that was on the scene, kind of got off the scene and came back to the scene,” Hawkins said, as quoted on MLB.com, “and I’m really excited to see what he can do in the big leagues.”
In his limited time in the majors this season, Pérez threw a four-seamer, which averaged 92.8 MPH, against which opposing hitters had a .400 AVG, a slider (83 MPH, .091 BAA), and a changeup (86 MPH; .333 BAA).
Pérez joins Sam Clay as the only two left-handed relievers currently on the Nationals’ 40-Man roster.
“Additionally, the club outrighted right-handed pitcher Kyle McGowin to Triple-A Rochester,” the Nationals added after announcing that they claimed Francisco Pérez off waivers.
McGowin, 29, dealt with a biceps issue last season, and was diagnosed with a sprain of the UCL in his right elbow in September, though it was determined that he didn’t need to have surgery.
“He got an injection, in his arm, elbow, and so he’s been shut down,” skipper Davey Martinez told reporters in a September 24th Zoom call, “and he’s going to start rehabbing as soon as he’s allowed to start throwing and starts throwing again.”
On the next-to-last day of the 2021 campaign, the manager provided an update on the Nats’ reliever who had a 4.20 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 14 walks, 35 Ks, and a .188/.289/.357 line against in 27 games and 30 IP this past season.
“McGowin went to Florida to start his rehab for the winter. He’s doing fine,” Martinez said.
“He had an injection, and he feels good, and hopefully he starts throwing — he can’t throw for like eight weeks, but once he gets to throw he’s going to start throwing.”