MadFriars' Interview: Fernando Perez

FORT WAYNE - Fernando Perez, 20, is one of the more interesting players in the Padres’ organization. This year with the Fort Wayne TinCaps he has seen considerable time at second, third and first base while being one of the best hitters on the young Midwest League team.

Perez was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Central Arizona Junior College by way of Otay Ranch High School and spent most of 2013 on the disabled list with a broken wrist. This year he came back in better shape after losing twenty pounds in the off-season on a six-foot, 204 lbs. frame.

The left-handed hitting Perez is hitting .296/.329/.442 with 30 extra-base hits. His nine home runs is tied for the lead on the Fort Wayne team.

Going forward his best position is probably second base and he needs to have a little more plate discipline with only 15 walks in 350 plate appearances.

Whenever we have written about you this year you are always playing so many different positions; second, third and first. In high school and junior college you also played shortstop.

Where did you learn to play so many different positions?

Fernando Perez: It all started when I was back in Mexico. The teams that I was on would play me all over. It really has helped me out now and I think it increases my value.

I also played some outfield in high school.

Where do you feel most comfortable?

Fernando Perez: I’ve always enjoyed second. The fact that back home my uncle and Dad both played middle infield might have something to do with it.

What were the injuries that you had last year and what are some of the injuries that have been affecting you this year?

Fernando Perez: Last year I had multiple surgeries on my wrist. This year I’ve had some problems with groin pulls.

The wrist injury is a tough one for a baseball player. How do you rehab it?

Fernando Perez: It is. Mainly its a combination of weights and working on the movement in the wrist to strengthen it.

You grew up in Mexico but went to high school in Chula Vista. What high school did you go to?

Fernando Perez: I grew up in Ensenada, Mexico but went to Otay Ranch High School in chula Vista [a suburb of San Diego] for a couple of years.

After that you went to Central Arizona Junior College in Coolidge, Arizona. How did you end up there?

Fernando Perez: I was in high school and we didn’t get that much exposure with scouts. So my senior year I thought it would be better for me to go to a junior college so I could get a little more exposure and get an opportunity to start my pro baseball career.

I really didn’t want to go to a four year school because it would take longer to get here. The shortstop on the team was my friend and that helped me to Central Arizona. He was there the year before and I made my move to go there.

The Arizona Community College Athletic Conference is one of the best community college baseball leagues in the country because all of the games are played with wooden bats (Kyle Blanks went to Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, one of the teams in the league).

You hit really well there and got picked in the third round. So there was no chance you were not going to go pro?

Fernando Perez: Oh no, I was definitely going. That was the plan and the reason why I made the move. I was blessed when it happened.

How did you become a left-handed hitter?

Fernando Perez: Actually it was funny. My Dad was a righty, and I come from a baseball family, and we would be on the field and he would give me a bat and put me in the batter’s box on the right side. As soon as he would throw the ball I would switch over to the left side.

And I still have no idea why I did that.

I’m sure you’re Dad being a baseball guy didn’t have a problem with that.

Fernando Perez: He thought it was funny and then said if you are going to be a lefty, be a lefty.

Do you ever hit right-handed?

Fernando Perez: No, never. Not at all. It is not pretty to watch me to try to hit right-handed.

What is the biggest thing you are trying to work on going forward?

Fernando Perez: A little bit of everything. I want my defense to tighten up some and try to go the other way more at the plate.

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