Perez gains experience at instructs

Left-handed pitcher Martin Perez helped headline the newest class of Latin American talent to join the Rangers organization when he signed on July 2, 2007. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the 16-year-old for a question-and-answer feature after a recent outing at fall instructional league.

Though the July 2nd international free agent signing date isn't widely publicized, it has become an integral component of the Rangers' efforts to revitalize their minor league system. The date has yielded current prospects such as Cristian Santana, Wilmer Font, and Fabio Castillo. Top prospects Elvis Andrus and Engel Beltre were also July 2nd signees, though they were not originally inked by the Rangers.

The 2007 signing date yielded a few more intriguing prospects for the Rangers, including 16-year-old left-handed pitcher Martin Perez. A native of Venezuela, Perez was widely regarded as the top left-handed pitcher available on the international market this year. He was initially rumored to have signed with the Mets, but as Perez explains to us, the two sides never reached a formal agreement. The 6-foot-0 hurler signed with the Rangers for a reported bonus of $580,000.

Perez appeared in the Rangers' last instructionals game of the season – playing against prospects up to eight years his elder – and tossed two scoreless innings. Lone Star Dugout was able to catch up with the newest Rangers pitching prospect shortly after his outing.

Jason Cole: When did you sign with the Rangers organization?

Martin Perez: July 2nd.

Cole: There was a rumor going around that you had originally signed with the Mets. Was there any truth to that?

Perez: There was a verbal dialogue with my agent, but my agent didn't want me to sign with the Mets, so I came to terms with the Rangers.

Cole: What led you to sign with the Rangers?

Perez: It's a good organization and I feel comfortable with them. I'm glad everything worked out well.

Cole: Can you tell me about what pitches you throw and the speeds you generally work at?

Perez: I throw a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. My fastball is usually 88-91 miles per hour.

Cole: How much have you pitched during instructs?

Perez: Just three innings.

Cole: Was today your second time to pitch?

Perez: Yeah, second time.

Cole: What have you been working on with the coaching staff out here?

Perez: Command of my changeup and my fastball.

Cole: Have you always thrown your changeup, or is that a new pitch for you?

Perez: I've always thrown it, but not as effective as I do now.

Cole: Have the Rangers done anything with your mechanics since you joined the system?

Perez: On my fastball, I would rush my delivery a little bit. I wouldn't stay back as much as I did with my changeup. I have been working on that.

Cole: Will you be going to Dominican instructs next?

Perez: Yeah.

Cole: Have the Rangers given you any idea of what you will be working on or how often you will be pitching there?

Perez: No, they haven't said anything yet.

Cole: What do you feel you must work on over the offseason to get ready for next year?

Perez: I have to work on my command of all three pitches so I can be able to move up into another league next year.

Cole: Do you have any idea where you will start next season?

Perez: No, but I think I'll start here [in Arizona]. Probably here.

Thanks to Bill McLaughlin for helping translate the interview.

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