Frank Perez was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in December of 1997. After a bit of a tough start when he arrived in the states from his native Dominican Republic, Perez straightened things out for himself and started to climb the minor league ladder. Just when it looked like he was ready to really deliver, an injury forced him out of action and he missed the entire 2003 season.
In 2004, Perez was technically healthy, but was still working to get back to where he was before the surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. His numbers were down a little this past season, but that wasn't totally unexpected.
Prior to the injury, the Phillies weren't sure whether to use Perez in the starting rotation or out of the bullpen. His mentality made him a potential reliever and there were even whispers that he could become a closer. Since the injury, the Phillies have been more willing to keep him in the rotation to get him steady work, but allowed Perez to return to the bullpen when he was promoted to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Where he'll wind up in the future is still not clear. Don't be surprised if the Phillies take him off the 40 man roster and expose Perez to the Rule V Draft. It might be a worthwhile gamble if they want to protect one of their other young players.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||IP||H||BB||KO|
|1998 Dominican Phillies||5||3||3.39||0||17||63.2||54||38||43|
|1999 Gulf Coast||4||6||6.31||0||12||41.1||44||27||35|
|2000 Piedmont (Low-A)||5||3||3.04||2||36||97.2||85||39||64|
|2004 Scranton Wilkes-Barre||0||5||6.00||0||9||39.0||49||5||23|
Repertoire: Perez doesn't get too fancy. He's got decent stuff, but is working on redeveloping his pitches since his surgery. He's lost some velocity on his fastball, but can still hit 90 miles per hour on occasion. To be successful, Perez has to keep the ball down in the zone, because he doesn't have the kind of fastball that he can throw past good hitters up in the zone. He loses his control from time to time and will need to get a better grip on that if he's to be successful.
Pitching: Perez will need to either sink or swim in 2005. It will be interesting to see if the Phillies continue to go slowly with him and put him back at AA Reading or throw him into the deep end and put him at AAA Scranton.
Projection: There are a lot of question marks about Perez. Obviously, his health is the biggest question mark. He'll turn 26 early into the 2005 season and the clock is ticking. Plus, there's the question mark about whether to use him in the rotation or out of the bullpen. Besides health, the Phillies need to figure out a way to develop more consistency with Perez. He runs into too many wild streaks when he tries to throw too hard or get too fancy.
ETA: With a very strong season, Perez could get a September call-up, but that's doubtful. It's more likely that he'll get a look in spring training of 2006 and likely be up at some point during that season if he stays in the organization that long. 2005 really is a make or break season for Perez.
Comparison: Ray King (St.Louis). King is a guy who sort of found himself after a while and the Phillies are hoping that the same happens with Perez.