Name: Severino Perez
DOB: November 8, 1989
The expectation was the then 18-year-old would settle the closer's role for the Dominican Summer League Padres.
Due to the late start to the Padres preparation in the Dominican with their new academy opening late, Perez tried to rush into mid-season form and wound up suffering an arm injury from the overexertion.
"Because the new complex got started late, we tried to rush things along," director of international scouting Randy Smith said. "Some of the guys weren't as prepared because they didn't have as much time to work out."
While it was thought he might be able to return before the season ended, Perez would miss the entire year, seeing his professional debut get pushed back to 2009. Besides the injury, he was suspended for 50 games in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
"He was caught by Major League Baseball with a steroid thing, so he got suspended for 50 games by the time he was getting ready to pitch," DSL Padres manager Evaristo Lantigua said.
Tossing the ball out of a three-quarters delivery, Perez has a 92-93 mph fastball that has late pop. With his cross-body motion and tailing action on the ball, it is a difficult pitch for right-handed hitters to pick up.
Before signing with the Padres, Perez tossed a curveball. The Padres took that pitch away and introduced a slider to take advantage of his arm angle and the sweeping movement a slider would bring.
While he has made strides with the slider, it needs to be tightened up to become a swing-and-miss pitch.
It is normal for a pitcher to have the fastball/slider combination early on and be taught the changeup to battle the opposing side hitter but that is not true with Perez.
Perez throws a very effective changeup. It is a pitch that combats left-handed hitters and offers different movement from the stuff that comes in on their hands. His ability to use the pitch will be a big determining factor in his overall success.
Another positive is Perez has projection. The Padres expect the right-hander to throw harder as his mechanics are refined and muscle is added to his frame. As a result of the injury, his lower half should see increased strength and the ball might just come out harder more quickly than anticipated.
"Perez is another outfielder converted into a pitcher," Lantigua said. "Perez is right-handed and can pitch from 88 to 93. He has great, great stuff, curveball and changeup; throws more strikes than (Juan) Herrera. He knows how to pitch better than Herrera. He reminds me of (Rafael) Soriano, this guy from Seattle and now with the Braves."
Conclusion: Way too early to tell. That the Padres wanted to put him in the closer's role speaks volumes about where they see his ability. His fastball and changeup combination are intriguing, especially if his slider is able to become a quality pitch.
Health will be the first key and getting professional innings under his belt an equal second. If he can gain confidence early on, Perez has a potentially bright future.
Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards