This is a popular feature piece here at the IBI that specifically looks at some of the prospects that have maybe not had as much attention they deserve for a variety of reasons but who are interesting or are coming onto the scene. The focus often times can be on the top 50 or so prospects in the organization, but there are some interesting players scattered throughout the system who are interesting and deserve to be talked about as well.
Each week through the end of the season I will profile a player so that people can learn a little more about them. Today we will take a look at left-handed pitcher Francisco Perez. What kind of prospect is he? How is his stuff? What kind of future does he have as a prospect? I provide some information on all of that and more below...
Name: Francisco Perez
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Current team: Extended Spring Training
2016 Stats: 12 G, 5-1, 2.69 ERA, 63.2 IP, 48 H, 22 R (19 ER), 1 HR, 17 BB, 52 K, .203 BAA
Facts & Info: The Indians signed Perez as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in December 1994 for $125,000. Last season, he finished 8th in the Arizona League in ERA (2.69), 1st in innings pitched (63.2), 7th in strikeouts (52), 5th in WHIP (1.02) and 3rd in batting average against (.203).
Stuff: Perez has put up some impressive numbers to date and has the stuff to back up those numbers led by a fastball that sits at 90-93 MPH and reaches 94 MPH with some good late sink to it. He also mixes in a slider and changeup which he shows a strong feel for at an early age and have the potential to be average offerings – if not more. At the moment the slider is the better of the two secondary offerings because of the good, tight break it gets and his feel for it around the zone.
Delivery & Intangibles: Perez has the makings of a good delivery that is still a work in progress and he shows a feel for commanding all three pitches. His body is strong with the ability to fill out and get even stronger as he matures and he has a loose arm and a lot of pitchability at a young age, so there is considerable more upside that he can tap into from a body, stuff and intangibles standpoint.
Focus: It is rare to see a young Latin arm come right into the system and perform so well at both rookie levels, which is it what Perez did in his first two seasons. While the performance has been great to see, the Indians want to see him continue to build his foundation by working on his strength and conditioning to get stronger physically, refine the mechanics of his delivery so he understands it better and how to get back in line when things are off and work on being more consistent with commanding his fastball down in the zone. They would also like to see one of his secondary offerings take a step forward as a true above average offering and think the slider may be that pitch if he can get it a little tighter and more consistent with it.
Future: Perez had an impressive stateside debut last season with rookie level Arizona. He is an interesting starting pitching prospect that brings some intrigue and unknown considering he has spent all of his time up to this point in the complex leagues. He’s someone who hasn’t yet taken a firm hold in the prospect community, but with another strong showing this season and more growth he is someone who could really shoot up the Indians prospect rankings. He opened the season in extended spring training and is expected to go to Short-A Mahoning Valley when their season begins in June, and could get up to Low-A Lake County if he impresses in extended spring training or Mahoning Valley.