Twins starter Martin Perez's cutter among MLB's most effective
After eight starts, opposing batters continue to struggle with Martin Perez's cut fastball.
Perez, who picked up the pitch over the offseason, is throwing it 30.6% of the time heading into a matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.
He's getting hitters to chase the pitch 40.8% of the time, well above the major-league average of 31.6%.
Only Washington's Max Scherzer (47.6%) and San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner (41.9%) have a higher chase rate when throwing a cutter this season amongst pitchers who've thrown at least 100 of them this season.
It's paying off for Perez, whose 2.95 ERA is second in the Twins' rotation to Jake Odorizzi.
His counterpart, Rays starter Charlie Morton, has had one of the league's most effective curveballs this season.
Opposing batters are hitting just .100 against Morton's 372 curveballs this season, the lowest against a single pitcher's curveball this season.
Fortunately, the Twins have punished that particular pitch.
Minnesota ranks second in exit velocity (90.6 mph) and launch angle (13.8 degrees) against curveballs this season.
That's big for the Twins, who have hit 56 home runs this month, and are now just two away from matching the 1999 Seattle Mariners and the 1987 Baltimore Orioles (both May) for the most home runs in a single month in major-league history.
Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron have been leading the charge.
Rosario is up to 17 home runs on the season, the most ever by a Twins hitter before May 31, while Cron ranks eighth with 13 homers.
Meanwhile, the Rays have hit just 69 home runs so far and are struggling to make contact across the board this season.
Tampa has MLB's second-lowest contact rate at 71.5%.
Statistics courtesy of Sportradar