Perez Approaching .300 at Lousville

Felix Perez's professional baseball career has taken some unexpected turns. First he had a $4M contract with the Yankees voided when MLB suspended him for a year for misrepresenting his age. Now at 27 years of age he's made it to the top development level with the Reds where is average is on the rise and nearing .300. His bat should gain consideration for an expansion call-up.

Louisville gave up five runs in the fourth inning in a 5-2 loss at Gwinnett. Didi Gregorius and Felix Perez had two hits each for the Bats including a two-run single by Perez that plated both of his team's runs. On the mound Todd Redmond got the start and cruised along smoothly until he got roughed up for all five runs in the fourth inning. The loss took his record down to 8-9 with a mid-three ERA in the International League this season. Kanekoa Texeira and Nick Masset both threw an inning of scoreless relief.

After a slow start to this season Perez has now gone 10-29 (.345) over his last nine games to raise his average to .292/.344 OB%. He had gotten his bat going previously and lifted his average up around mid-.200 before he went on the DL on July 4. Since being reactivated a couple of weeks later he's continued to hit and is now approaching the .300 level. The Reds have tried multiple options for outfield depth and a left-handed bat off the bench this season and he might have gotten a shot had they not brought in Xavier Paul after he was granted free-agency by the Nationals.

Perez had some controversy before signing with the Reds. Originally the Yankees thought they inked him to a $3M contract as a 20 year-old Cuban defector in 2009. That contract was voided and MLB suspended him for a year after discovering he had lied about his age. After his reinstatement the Reds got him with a $550k deal in 2010. Now at 27 years of age he's working to improve his status from minor league "filler" to a candidate for a roster expansion call-up.

Each team will have opportunity to increase their active roster with up to fifteen players in September. Many will get an audition at the MLB level to help their employers figure out where to place them next season. Since the Reds figure to be in the hunt for postseason they will likely add only players they think can contribute to their pennant stretch run. Although Perez is currently not on their 40-man roster, an outfielder who can play all three positions and hit .300 in AAA will gain some consideration. His average improves to .311 against right-handed pitching and he's raised his season average against southpaws by about .040' since June.

When Perez finally got to play in the minor leagues he was a fast-tracker while competing against younger competition. He started out in the Dominican league two years ago and was quickly promoted stateside after hitting .429 in sixteen games. He kept another gaudy average at .338 in another sixteen games at high-A Lynchburg that moved him onto the fringes of top-30 prospects in the Cincinnati organization at that time. He slowed down when arriving at AA with a .260 average in 127 games and arrived on a Louisville roster that was depleted by MLB promotions and off-season trades after last season. Now his bat is coming around as the Reds had hoped when they originally signed him.

He is showing improved plate discipline. Like so most other Caribbean prospects he started out as a free swinger. Though he is only drawing walks at a rate of 5.9% of plate appearances, it is better than the 3.8% frequency he had at the AA level. The old adage may say that "you can't walk off the island", but walking can help make the final jump to the MLB level. He has struck out in around 16% of his minor league PA which isn't that bad. Still he slugs less than .400 and hopefully that will go down as his eye develops.

Paul made it to the Reds to take the roster spot opened by the injury to Joey Votto. Since his arrival he's hit .344 coming off the bench. He also benefits from prior MLB experience with the Dodgers and Pirates. Given additional roster space the Reds would likely like to another player similar to him. Roster space will soon be available, Perez has the numbers now, and they're on the rise.

Other Action on the Farm:

Pensacola overcame a two-run first inning deficit to beat visiting Chattanooga 7-3. Billy Hamilton had three hits including a triple, drove in three, and scored twice. He's gone 9-20 with four walks over his last five games. Bryson Smith added two hits and he's now batting .321 overall while splitting the time between the Wahoos and Bakersfield. Brodie Greene went 2-2 with two walks. On the mound Wirfin Obispo turned in a quality start and got the win by allowing two runs on five hits in six innings while striking out five. Justin Freeman pitched the final 1+ innings without a run for the save.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton added three more as he approaches the minor league season steal record. He walked in the third and stole second. After the next batter walked he picked up another on the front end of a double steal. He singled in two runs in the fourth before being picked off first. Then he tripled in a run in the sixth before scoring on a hit. Finally he led off the eighth with a single and swiped second again. He's up to 139 SB in 170 attempts over 113 games.

Bakersfield found themselves with a five run deficit after two innings and lost 13-6 at High Desert. Theo Bowe, Stephen Hunt and Steve Selsky each had a couple of hits and Travis Mattair added his team-leading eighteenth home run. Daniel Renken got knocked out in the third by allowing eight runs (six earned) and took his eighth loss.

Dayton won 5-4 against visiting Fort Wayne behind two home runs and four RBI by Juan Perez. Sean Buckley doubled in the winning run in the sixth. Robert Stephenson allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in four innings. Wes Mugarian relieved him with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings for the win. Carlos Contreras retired the side in order in the ninth for his sixteenth save. Billings was idle and will host a three game set against Idaho Falls starting Monday.

The AZL Reds were idle and will host the AZL Cubs on Monday.

The DSL Reds had the day off and will travel to the DSL Diamondbacks Monday.

Cincy Hardball Top Stories