Rangers Martin Perez Is Just Fine

Prospect followers, please stop panicking over the demise of Texas Rangers pitching prospect Martin Perez. He will be fine. My first in person look at Perez came last week facing off against arguably the best pitcher on the planet in Dodgers Clayton Kershaw. Yes, he needs more seasoning at the Minor League level, but he should. As he approaches legal age, Perez is still far ahead of the prospect curve and has both the stuff and time to turn his three pitch mix into on-field results.

Video after the jump

In his two inning stint, Perez’ line was not particularly impressive, but the stuff was starting with a fastball in the 92-94 MPH range to open the game. His command was spotty including walks to both hitters leading off innings, but the pitch featured some late downward action – especially when down in the zone. It’s also impressive to see a pitcher with such a diminutive stature consistently pushing plus velocity from the left side early.

In the second inning, his velocity dipped a touch, but this is likely due to the early adrenaline rush tapering off leaving a pitcher without the durability to sustain velocity for multiple innings this early in the spring. Off the top of my head, I honestly can’t think of a young pitcher who threw multiple innings and maintained the same velocity in subsequent innings during my time in Phoenix.

Early on, Perez’ curveball was flashing plus with sharp, late bite and a surprising amount of depth. With close to true 12/6 break, it projects as a weapon at the Major League level if he can consistently start the pitch at the thighs against opposing hitters. In his second inning of work, the pitch became less effective as the hard break early on gave way to something softer as if he was guiding the pitch to home plate instead of simply snapping it off. Feel for one’s off-speed pitches can come and go, but again, the consistency developed from logging additional innings against advanced competition should help iron out the kinks.

At 79-82 MPH, his changeup had the makings of a strong third pitch, but was the least developed at this point. It’s very likely that it’s just too early in the spring to really gain feel for the offering, but Perez struggled to throw the pitch for strikes. The pitch was consistently down in the zone often missing down-and-out and out of danger. Additionally, one lefty-lefty change to Andre Ethier where Perez attempted to go inside with the pitch backed up nicely on the outfielders hands.

One concern was that Perez slowed his delivery slightly which was visible when viewing him from a side angle. Repetition will likely smooth this out and sharpen his command to both sides of the plate. If Perez can learn to start the pitch on the outer half to righties and fade it over the black, it will improve his effectiveness versus right-handed hitters. The ability to pair a backdoor changeup with a curveball breaking way from left-handed hitters may also prove to be a lethal combination.

Perez has the athleticism and ability to continue smoothing out his mechanics to tighten up present command issues. A fully healthy 2012 where Perez logs consistent innings throughout would likely do him wonders in that area.

Having missed Perez by a day during his time with the Hickory Crawdads in 2009, scouting “one who got away” was the prospect equivalent to big game hunting for me. Perez ranks only behind Danny Hultzen in terms of left-handed pitchers scouted previously in terms of raw stuff edging out Yankees Manny Banuelos by the closest of margins. Additionally, I’d prefer Perez to former first round picks Jed Bradley (Brewers) and Mike Minor (Braves) even though both have a significant size advantage which makes durability a bit easier to project.

Seeing Perez up against a true ace in Clayton Kershaw was telling in terms of just how talented one has to be at the big league level to truly earn such a lofty label. It would be unfair to project Perez’ place in a rotation based off of a couple of innings, but it was easy to see the raw stuff needed to excel at the game’s highest level was present in spades.




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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


9 Responses to “Rangers Martin Perez Is Just Fine”

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  1. TX Ball Scout says:

    I saw him last year twice. Both times 89-90. Avg secondaries, curve was recognizable early.

    I think he’s overrated.

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  2. Keystone Heavy says:

    On After seeing him face off against arguably the best pitcher on the planet in Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, my first in person look at Perez was an impressive one.

    and….

    “Seeing Perez up against a true ace in Clayton Kershaw was telling in terms of just how talented one has to be at the big league level to truly earn such a lofty label.”

    Seriously, is this Fangraphs that I am reading? How does the fact that the opposing pitcher was Kershaw make what Perez did any more impressive? What one does is totally independent of the other.

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    • Andrew says:

      He didn’t say it made Perez’s performance more impressive. Read it again, and calm down. Are you that big of a snob that the mere idea of pitchers “facing off” offends your saber-sensibilities?

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    • Mike Newman says:

      I actually wrote much of this on a cramped United Airlines plane with a killer headache, so I decided to re-tool part of the opening.

      However Keystone Heavy, keep in mind I’m here for a bit of counter programming in that I write pieces more tailored towards scouting, not statistical analysis.

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  3. Tex Pantego says:

    I caught his next game. He topped out at 93 and had nid 80s off-speed stuff. My seats not conducive to how well he was locating. He was facing most of the A’s top lineup. Weeks and Cespedas hit him well, and he walked a few…BUT, he did get out jams with two inning-ending DPs and a K. Granted the A’s aren’t murdrers’ row, but he did okay for where he is age-wise.

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  4. Paul G says:

    His size and mechanics really remind me of Johan Santana. Not comparing him to Santana but I think that could be his ceiling if he continues to develop. Personally I feel like the Rangers may look to trade him in July if they need another piece for a postseason run. Their farm system would still be really deep without Perez.

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  5. Matty Brown says:

    Glad to see a write-up on who appears to be the most controversial pitching prospect besides Mike Montgomery.

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