Instructs Review: Infield and More

Infield coordinator Tony Perezchica discusses the prospects that impressed him the most in the Instructional League.

Instructional League Rosters: Hitters | Pitchers

Tony Perezchica served as the infield coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Instructional League this fall. He singled out a few players that really impressed him in terms of their development this fall.

Generally speaking, the young middle infielders that Perezchica worked with needed to improve on their double play pivots more than anything else. He cited longtime shortstop prospect Pedro Ciriaco as one of the most improved during this time.

"He was one of the highlights in instructional ball," Perezchica said of Ciriaco. "Defensively, we're still looking for consistency with him. Offensively, we're looking for the same thing."

"I still consider him a big time prospect."

One player that compares well with Ciriaco is 3rd round pick Reynaldo Navarro. Both players were signed out of Latin America at a young age, both have incredible raw athleticism, but both still need a lot of work to harness that natural talent. Navarro won't turn 18 until late December, and he already has 60 professional games and his time in Instructs under his belt.

"Reynaldo Navarro really made a lot of improvements in instructional ball," complimented Perezchica. "He made major strides defensively, and offensively we saw a little pop in his bat. He's going to be a good one; he just needs to mature, keep playing baseball, and learn as he goes."

Among corner infielders, Clayton Conner needed the most work defensively. Conner surprised the world as an undrafted free agent this year by winning the FutureBacks Position Player of the Year Award for the Yakima Bears before contributing to the South Bend Silver Hawks' playoff run.

"Defensively, he made major strides. He's a kid who played some third, some first for us. Primarily, we're just trying to get him comfortable at third. I think defensively, he got better. All his mechanics got better."

We mostly wanted to speak with Perezchica about the infielders we worked with closely, but there was a pitcher he kept fawning over: 18-year old first round pick Jarrod Parker.

"He showed why he was #1," Perezchica said. "He throws the ball hard, and he's got an idea of how to command the strike zone. He's very impressive for what I saw for his first year in professional baseball."

Perezchica spent three seasons as field manager in the Diamondbacks' system, so he does know what he's talking about with regard to pitching prospects. He has worked with current major leaguers Dustin Nippert, Doug Slaten, Matt Chico, and Tony Pena, among others. He doesn't like to compare prospects to current major leaguers, however, believing that it isn't fair to put those kinds of expectations on a prospect.

We did squeeze out one name that came to his mind when he watched Parker pitch, and it's not one you would expect. We'll reveal that name in our in-depth prospect profile this winter.


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