District on Deck's 2012 Top 15 Nationals Prospects: #14 Eury Perez


Image courtesy: bleacherreport.com

Name: Eury Perez

Date of Birth: May 30, 1990

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 180

Perez was signed by the Washington Nationals as an International Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic on April 13, 2007 – just about 6 weeks before his 17th birthday. Like most of the international prospects that teams across Major League Baseball sign each year, especially the ones that young, Perez spent the next two years playing in the Dominican Summer League. During that time he appeared in 112 games, batting .293/.413/.378 in 467 plate appearances, adding 4 HR, 58 RBI, and 43 stolen bases.

For the 2009 season Perez finally came to the US to participate with the team’s affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. That season he batted an impressive .381/.443/.503 in 205 plate appearances over 47 games. Perhaps most notable, however, was his flawless defense in the outfield. Primarily playing center field, Perez failed to make an error and was responsible for throwing 5 opposing base runners out. After the season concluded he would be named the Topps GCL Player of the Year.

The next season, 2010, was when Perez first started to establish himself as a viable prospect to watch. He was promoted to start the 2010 season, assigned to the Hagerstown Suns in the South Atlantic League. There he was the team’s starting center fielder, playing in 131 games. In 491 plate appearances he batted .299/.345/.381 with 3 HR and 42 RBI. Perez started to show some power numbers, at least in terms of doubles production as he hit a career high 17 that year. Defensively he continued to show signs of improvement as well, once again limiting the errors while increasing his outfield assists total to 12. Most amazing, however, were the stolen base totals. Combined on his first three seasons after signing with Washington Perez stole a total of 59 bases. In 2010 he added 64 more to that career total. Perez was also asked to participate in the All Star Futures Game during the 2010 season as part of the World Team roster.

Perez would take a small step back after another promotion in 2011. He would bat .283/.319/.321 in 465 plate appearances (119 games) for High-A Potomac in the Carolina League. He was essentially a singles hitter the entire season, but did steal another 45 bases.

Top Prospect Rankings

Baseball America (Top 10): Unranked

MLB.com (Top 10): 6th

FanGraphs (Top 15): Unranked

Seedlings to Stars (MLB Top 100): Unranked

DoD Editor Aaron Somers (Top 15): 14th

DoD Staff Writer Michael Natelli (Top 15): 14th

DoD Staff Writer Andrew Flax (Top 15): Unranked

Scouting Report

Courtesy of MLB.com:

He’s a very good defender who has a strong arm from center field. He improved tremendously with the bat in the second half of 2010, learning the nuances of being a leadoff hitter and showing that he not only is fast, he knows how to use his speed efficiently on the basepaths.

The Positives

Speed is easily one of Perez’s most appealing assets. He’s a strong baserunner and has a unique ability to steal bases that doesn’t come along very often. It’s also not a quality found on the current 40-man roster (Desmond led the team in 2011 with 25). Moreover, Perez has experience and is continuing to gain experience batting from the leadoff position in the lineup. This is currently one of the organization’s biggest needs for the MLB team. Now, Perez is far from ready to fill this role but it is a positive sign that there is a player being groomed internally to fill the role in the future.

Defense has also been a strength worth noting of Perez. He has spent the bulk of his time playing center field, where he profiles best, but does have limited experience in each of the outfield corners as well. His speed and athleticism help him get to balls in the gaps and he possesses a strong arm for a center fielder. As he continues to develop he will learn how to better read balls off the bat and anticipate where stronger hitters will aim their swings.

The Not-so-Positives

For a leadoff hitter, Perez does not show much plate discipline which could be a concern. Without an ability to take a walk he is limited to how he is able to get on base, negating most of his strengths from an offensive standpoint. As he was promoted from 2010 to 2011 and faced tougher competition, the fact that his on base percentage dropped is somewhat concerning considering all of his other offensive numbers also declined. Patience is going to be vital to his development as he has clearly demonstrated that his not going to be a power threat.

2012 and Beyond Expectations

I’d expect that Perez will be assigned to Double-A Harrisburg for the 2012 season, regardless of how he may perform during Spring Training. He was just recently added to the team’s 40-man roster because the Nationals did not want to risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, rather than because they feel he is ready for the Major Leagues. It is evident that Perez needs more minor league seasoning in order to continue his development, even if he could potentially hold his own on defense. He needs to continue to develop as a leadoff hitter, learning patience at the plate both to earn the occasional walk and work the opposing pitch count.

If he is not going to develop any power, being able to get on base consistently is going to be key in whether he can develop into a viable Major Leaguer in the coming years. Strong defense and the off-the-bench stolen base threat could land him a job in a reserve role, either with Washington or elsewhere, but in order for Perez to earn regular playing time he’ll need to show offensive improvements.

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