Tigers Prospect Profile #5: Ryan Perry

When the Tigers drafted Ryan Perry, the consensus was that Perry had incredible stuff, but was going to need time to refine it. Despite that need, Perry is putting his repertoire on display in big league camp, and making a case for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Ryan Perry
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-4
Weight: 200
Born: 2/13/1987
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Perry is the Tigers first round pick out of the University of Arizona. Working as a reliever for the Wildcats this spring, Perry has shown electric stuff and been a dominating force at the back end of games. In 29 games (only 6 starts), Perry has amassed 70 1/3 innings while walking only 17 hitters with 69 strikeouts. Perry is still playing with Arizona in the NCAA Super Regionals in Florida. Leading into his junior season, Perry destroyed the Cape Cod League in 2007. Playing for Orleans, Ryan worked solely out of the bullpen, and notched 30 strikeouts in just 21 2/3 innings. He flashed elite stuff on the hill and his 4.15 ERA doesn't tell the whole story of his performance.

As a sophomore at Arizona, Perry missed much of the season due to a motorcycle accident; limiting him to just fourteen games and seven starts. Though he put up just a 6.35 ERA, he did strike out 35 hitters in 34 innings. He started to come alive in the NCAA tournament, striking out three in two scoreless frames against Wichita State in the regional final. Ryan had a rough freshman campaign, yielding a ton of hits and generally struggling with the transition to college ball. He ended the year with a 3-1 record and 7.34 ERA in 17 games. Perry was a three-time letter winner at Marana High School in Arizona, while also earning two varsity letters on the golf course.

Contrary to other recent first round picks of the Tigers, Perry signed relatively early and made a quick pit stop in the Gulf Coast League for a tune-up before reporting to High-A Lakeland. After only one appearance with the club in July, Perry saw action in eleven games totaling eleven innings in August. Though his control was a bit erratic, he did still manage twelve strikeouts in that time and notched for saves for the LFT.

Scouting Report
Ryan sat at 93-95 during his junior year at Arizona, both in a starting and relief role, and he worked there consistently once turning pro. His fastball is a bit flat, but his lightning quick arm gets it on hitters quickly enough that he can still get it past hitters. Though he works more comfortably in the mid-90s, Perry can routinely dial it up to 98-99 and has hit triple digits on numerous occasions. He has amazing velocity, and some minor mechanical tweaks during the fall instructional league have enabled him to get some movement on the pitch.

Backing up his fastball, Perry works an 86-88 mph slider that has devastating break and excellent velocity. His slider was rated the best on the Cape in 2007, and has the potential to be a true put-away pitch. Ryan's change-up has shown promise in the past, but he hasn't worked with it enough to truly develop it as a reliable third offering. The two-seam fastball that Perry had been working on in college has made nice progress, and is now a reliable variation to his four-seamer. Both pitchers are very hard and very difficult to hit.

Though there was some potential to see him work in the rotation with a three-pitch mix, the Tigers have opted – and possibly rightly so – to have him remain in the bullpen. He projects as a pure ace reliever with tremendous stuff and the requisite nasty streak to make it work in the toughest of situations.

See Perry in action by watching the video clip:














GCL Tigers





















Health Record
There are no lingering effects of his motorcycle accident in 2007, and he seems to have even matured a bit in the process, focusing more on caring for his body and trying to become the best pitcher he can.

The Future
Perry has been one of two pitchers – Rick Porcello being the other – that have been the talk of Major League spring training in Lakeland. He has flashed brilliant velocity, and has looked the part of a true late inning stopper. There is still a slim chance that the Tigers opt to take him north straight out of the gates, and while he could use some further polishing, he can get outs in the big leagues right now. Even if he doesn't go to Detroit for Opening Day, there is little doubt he will be in Comerica Park before the summer is over. Long term, the Tigers have toyed with the idea of stretching Perry back out in a similar fashion to how the Mariners have planned to handle Brandon Morrow; though with each passing day that he lights up radar guns and gets outs late in games, that possibility becomes less likely. Perry should be the Tigers closer of the future – a future that may only be a short time away.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.

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