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Santana Taking Perez Under His Wings

February 24, 2009

Joel Sherman of the NY Post has a very interesting piece in which he explains how Oliver Perez has become ace Johan Santana’s “special project”.

Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told me that over the final two months of last season into this spring training camp that Santana has taken on  Oliver Perez as a “special project.” According to Warthen, Santana is a tremendous asset in the continuing efforts to get Perez to a) concentrate consistently and b) deliver each pitch with conviction, purpose and accuracy.

If you were able to transplant Santana’s seriousness/pitching intellect into Perez you would have a version of Steve Carlton Lite. “Maybe for the first time in Ollie’s life he’s ready to listen and Johan is there to help,” Warthen said. The Met pitching coach said that Santana’s stature and ability to speak to Perez in Spanish help deliver messages that Warthen might have difficulty getting Perez to fully comprehend. “We are mainly talking pitching theory and philosophy, and I think it means something coming from Johan Santana,” Warthen said.

Warthen is 100% correct. Could you imagen the pitcher Oliver will become if he takes all this advice and applies it to himself? He already has the stuff – and it’s great, but now it’s time for him to step it up and finally try his hardest to learn to concentrate and say in control. If Oliver Perez manages to get those two problems settled with the help of fellow lefty Johan Santana and piching coach Dan Warthen… watch out!

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