Wetmore: Perkins has earned cachet as one of game's best relievers
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MINNEAPOLIS - During a year in which many American League relievers have stellar numbers, A.L. manager John Farrell picked Glen Perkins for his bullpen.
Perkins is having a great year, and with six relievers making the team, it's not hard to argue he belongs. But with how many great starters left off the A.L. team, an argument could also be made that Perkins snuck onto the team. With Ron Gardenhire on the coaching staff, it would have stood to reason the Twins manager would have vouched for the closer, which ostensibly could have given him a leg up on other candidates.
Did Gardenhire give Farrell a helpful nudge toward Perkins?
"Nope, nope. That's there decision," Gardenhire said Monday. "I think we all knew who our guys were that were kind of in the running. I had no conversation with [Farrell] one way or the other about selecting this guy or that guy. I think in a few articles we boasted about our guys we thought should [be All-Stars]. Whether they read those or not, I don't know. They have a big selection process and they do their thing, I was happy they took a couple of our guys."
The fact that Farrell picked Perkins without arm-twisting from the home manager speaks to the cachet Perkins has built up. He was an All-Star last season, which Perkins has admitted might help in a bid to make subsequent All-Star games. Being an All-Star, to most, is about sustaining success, rather than popping up on the radar one year and being gone the next.
And Perkins could be having the best year of his career.
His ERA is 2.97, but that's not a good indication of how he has pitched, since one bad inning can take a season to iron out of a reliever's ERA.
Instead, notice that Perkins is striking out more batters and walking fewer all while giving up fewer home runs. Those are things he can control and he's excelling at them.
His current strikeout rate would be a career high, and his walk rate would be a career low. (Per nine innings, he's striking out 11.21 batters and walking 1.6, both top-15 marks among qualified A.L. relievers.) He's given up just two home runs all season in 39 1/3 innings. He has converted 22 of his 25 save chances and ranks 8th among qualified A. L. relievers in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), a stat designed to approximate ERA that attempts to control for luck.
Perkins has earned his reputation as one of the best relievers in the game.